The Goethe-Institut is a non-profit German cultural institution operational worldwide, promoting the study of the German language abroad and encouraging international cultural exchange and relations. The Goethe-Institut also fosters knowledge about Germany by providing information on German culture, society and politics. This includes not only the exchange of films, music, theatre, literature, and the like, but also the values of civil society. Goethe cultural societies, reading rooms, and exam and language centers have played a central role in the cultural and educational policies of Germany for close to 60 years. It is named after German polymath Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The Goethe-Institut draws its material from many sections of the cosmopolitan German society and culture, combining the experience and ideas of its partners with cross-cultural expertise, the principle of dialogue and partnership, offering support to all those actively involved with Germany and its language and culture. The Goethe-Institut e.V. is an autonomous body and politically independent.
Partners of the institute and its centers are public and private cultural institutions, the federal states, local authorities and the world of commerce. Much of the Goethe-Institut’s overall budget consists of yearly grants from the German Foreign Office and the German Press Office. The relationship with the Foreign Office is governed by general agreement. Self-generated income and contributions from sponsors and patrons, partners and friends broaden the scope of the work of the Goethe-Institut. The Goethe-Institut carefully coordinates its activities with other mediators of cultural and educational foreign policy.
1951 The Goethe-Institut is founded as successor to the German Academy (Deutsche Akademie/DA). Its first task is to provide further training for foreign German teachers in Germany.
1953 The first language courses run by the Goethe-Institut begin in Bad Reichenhall. Due to growing demand, new centres of learning are soon opened in Murnau and Kochel, the focus of selection being on towns which are small and idyllic and which show post-war Germany at its best. Lessons are taught from the first textbook developed by the Goethe-Institut, the now legendary “Schulz-Griesbach”.
1953-55 The first foreign lectureships of what was the German Academy are taken on by the Goethe-Institut. Responsibilities include German tuition, teacher training and providing a program of cultural events to accompany courses.
1959-60 On the initiative of the head of the arts sector of the Foreign Office, Dieter Sattler, the Goethe-Institut gradually takes over all of the German cultural institutes abroad. This development of a broad international institute network signals an intensification of Germany’s foreign cultural policy.
1968 Influenced by the student revolts of the late 1960s the Goethe-Institut readjusts its program of cultural events to include socio-political topics and avant-garde art.
1970 Acting on behalf of the Foreign Office Ralf Dahrendorf develops his “guiding principles for foreign cultural policy”. Cultural work involving dialog and partnership is declared the third pillar of German foreign policy. During the Willy Brandt era the concept of “extended culture” forms the basis of activities at the Goethe-Institut.
1976 The Foreign Office and the Goethe-Institut sign a general agreement governing the status of the Goethe-Institut, henceforth an independent cultural organization.
1980 A new concept regarding the location of institutes within Germany is drawn up. Places of instruction in small towns, mostly in Bavaria, are replaced by institutes in cities and university towns.
1989/90 The fall of the Berlin Wall also marks a turning point for the Goethe-Institut. Its activities in the 1990s are thus strongly centred on Eastern Europe. Numerous new institutes are set up as a result.
2001 The Goethe-Institut merges with Inter Nationes.
2004 The Goethe-Institut establishes the first Western information centre in Pyongyang, North Korea (closed in 2009).
The Goethe-Institut Inter Nationes reverts to its original and official name, Goethe-Institut (GI).
2005 The Goethe-Institut is honored with the Prince-of-Asturias Prize of Spain
2007 For the first time in more than ten years the German parliament decides to increase the funds of the Goethe-Institut.
2010 Bruno Bozzetto created a new Goethe-Institut film named “Va Bene”.
Goethe-Istitute, New York Has moved premises to:
Goethe-Institut New York
30 Irving Place
New York, NY 10003, USA
Tel. +1 (212) 439-8700
Fax +1 (212) 439-8705
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