Cultural relations and education policy forum, People on the Move, with Foreign Minister Steinmeier

Kinder einer PASCH-Schule entdecken die Welt Enlarge image (© Kai Uwe Oesterhellweg) In the current legislative term, cultural relations and education policy plays a greater role than ever before. In a world that seems to be out of joint, and in which conflicts are increasingly of a cultural and religious nature, the notion that ideological mindsets can only be overcome through differentiation, discussion and collaboration in the fields of culture, education and science is of particular importance. This is the aim of cultural relations and education policy. It creates and preserves the space, discourses and processes outside the political sphere that make political understanding possible. It also connects societies and protects cultural identities.

“People on the Move” has been the name given to the Federal Foreign Office’s forums ever since Foreign Minister Steinmeier’s first term in office. The forum from 13 to 15 April will focus on what cultural relations and education policy is currently doing, what topics it is addressing and how it will be further developed. The forum will link the internal and the external. Using practical examples, it will show the importance of the social power of culture, not only for modern foreign policy. A particular emphasis will be placed on workshop reports and best-practice examples of successful cooperation, such as the Schools: Partners for the Future (PASCH) initiative and cultural relations and education policy’s new focus on cultural identity issues and on collaboration with civil society. The People on the Move forum will also serve as a networking event for all those from the fields of culture, science and education who support and promote cultural relations and education policy.

Jugendliche mit Migrationshintergrund Seite an Seite auf Stelzen Enlarge image (© Enis Yücel)

The programme will have three main elements:

World Class! Schools. Education. The Future.
On 13 April, over 300 school pupils, teachers and head teachers from over 30 countries will meet in the Weltsaal at the Federal Foreign Office. Foreign Minister Steinmeier launched the partner school initiative in 2008. There were around 500 schools in the programme at the time. The initiative now includes over 1800 schools. Thanks to Schools: Partners for the Future, some 600,000 pupils in 120 countries are now learning German, finding out about German culture and developing joint projects. The forum will focus on lessons learned in this initiative, creating educational biographies, and discussions among pupils and teachers, including at the Wald-Gymnasium secondary school in Berlin.

Long Night of Ideas
The evening of 14 April will provide a chance to experience the links between the internal and the external in the cultural sphere. Fifteen Berlin-based cultural institutions, including the Maxim Gorki Theatre, Berliner Festpiele,streetfootballworld and Tresor nightclub, have drawn up a joint programme in which artists, academics and policymakers will address topics of shared interest, such as the impact of digitisation, the co-production of knowledge and culture, the concept of beauty in different cultures, Germany’s colonial past and current issues facing societies of immigration.

Culture and foreign policy live— this part of the programme will summarise the outcomes of the first two days at the Berlin venue and present them to a wide audience. Participants will explore future tasks and challenges together in workshops, TED-like events and talks by well-known artists. All aspects – culture, education, research, sport, well-known guests and cultural highlights – will show real-life examples of cultural relations and education policy in action.

A further aim of the forum is to use the expertise of cultural relations and education policy to further the integration of refugees in Germany. A cultural mentor programme will be launched at the event. Foreign Minister Steinmeier will close the forum at the Berlin venue on 15 April with a speech on cultural relations and education policy.

Further information is available at  www.menschenbewegen2016.de .

Cultural relations and education policy forum

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