Goethe Institut to Open in Baghdad

The Goethe Institut will be resuming its work in the Iraqi capital after 35 years of forced absence. A delegation of the cultural institute and representatives of the foreign office are to visit Bagdad in August 2003 to test the waters.

The Goethe Institut, the German language and cultural institute, plans to open shop again in Baghdad after a 35-year forced break. "We shouldn’t wait till everything functions, but should soon be active again," Jutta Limbach President of the Goethe Institut Inter Nationes said at the headquarters in Munich on Friday. Limbach said Iraqi artists and intellectuals, who didn’t want to belong to a religious or ethnic group, were trying to establish contacts abroad and needed an independent forum.

"European cultural institutes can contribute towards the building of civic-social structures in a special way," Limbach said. According to the Goethe Institut about 700 students were registered at the German language and literature faculty at the Baghdad university till before the recent Iraq war. Limbach pointed towards Afghanistan as an example for the kind of aid the Goethe Institut can provide. In Kabul, the Goethe Institut has successfully helped build up libraries and facilitates for the training of filmmakers, musicians and German teachers. A delegation from the Goethe Institut will travel to Baghdad together with representatives of the foreign ministry in August to test the waters.

For further information please contact:

Goethe Institute
Zentrale München
Kommunikation & Marketing
Susanne Sporrer
Tel.: 089 159 21 249
Fax : 089 159 21 414
E-mail: manus@goethe.de

Goethe Institute
Zentrale München
Regionaltisch Nordafrika/Nahost
Uwe Reissig-Höhn
Tel.: 089 159 21 246
Fax : 089 159 21 668
E-mail: reissig@goethe.de