Germany’s voice for human rights: In 2013, Germany will once again become a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council. For the second time, the UN General Assembly has elected Germany to serve on the Council for a period of three years. Germany has actively supported the work of the Human Rights Council from the very beginning, and from 2006 until 2009 was among the Council’s first members. Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle described his country’s election as a mark of confidence in and endorsement of German human rights policy worldwide. For German foreign affairs policy, the Council is the central international institution for the protection of human rights and the further development of human rights standards.
Germany votes: At home, the country’s federal elections will be the most prominent event of the year. More than 60 million eligible voters will be called upon to cast their vote in the election of the 18th German Bundestag and to elect a new parliament. The election will take place at the end of September or in October. It will also determine who runs Germany for the subsequent four years: the incumbent Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) will be running for a third term in office. Peer Steinbrück, the country’s former federal finance minister, will be the SPD party’s candidate for chancellor.
International exchange of art: The German pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale (1 June to 24 November 2013) will focus on transnational art. Curator Susanne Gaensheimer’s idea is that the pavilion should offer a space for dialogue between renowned artists who come from other countries and represent different artistic directions. Her invitation has been accepted by Dayanita Singh from India, Santu Mofokeng from South Africa, French filmmaker Romuald Karmakar and Ai Weiwei from China. Exchanging pavilions with France serves to underline Germany’s transnational appearance at the Biennale.
Encounters with Germany: The Germany Year in Brazil will give new impetus to bilateral cooperation. From May 2013 until the start of the football World Cup in June 2014, an extensive programme of events in the areas of business, culture, society, education and science is planned, its motto being “Germany and Brazil – when ideas come together”. The event that will kick off the year will also be one of its cultural highlights: a major exhibition entitled “Curious about the World – 500 Years of Art from Germany” will showcase masterpieces from several centuries. In February 2013, Germany will also feature prominently at one of the world’s biggest festivals, the Rio Carnival. Germany’s contribution is the outcome of cooperation with a Brazilian samba school. The Germany Year in Russia also runs until June 2013.
Invitation to international industry conventions: In 2013, major international trade fairs in Germany will once again bring together professionals and many other interested visitors. The International Tourism Fair (ITB, 6-13 March 2013) in Berlin provides information about the latest trends in tourism and travel. Almost concurrently, Hanover will play host to the information and communications technology industry at the CeBIT fair (6-9 March 2013). The latest spring publications will be presented at the Leipzig Book Fair (14-17 March 2013), and Frankfurt am Main will be hosting no fewer than two world-class trade fairs in the autumn: the International Motor Show (IAA, 12-22 September 2013) and the Frankfurt Book Fair (9-13 October) with Brazil as guest of honour.