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The Role of German NGOs in International Cultural Exchanges
 
                                              Dr. Zhang Shengjun
     Professor, School of Government;
     Head, Institute of International Relations
     Beijing Normal Uniuersity, Executive Council Member, CAFIU 
        
International cultural policy is one of three pillars of foreign policy (namely international cultural policy, international political policy and foreign economic and trade policy) of Germany and international cultural exchanges are highly valued in Germany. Since the end of World War II, in order to rebuild the national image damaged by two world wars and earn credit for the post-war country, Germany has made all-out efforts in terms of culture. Besides the features of non-government, self-governance and specialization, international cultural exchanges of Germany emphasizes that cultural exchanges should awake the sense cultural identity of people within themselves, and refrain from being
instrumentalized or bureaucratized.
 
I. The operating pattern of separation of governmental from non-governmental activities and ¡°separation of policy-making from implementation¡±
 
In the era of the Weimar Republic, the operating model of ¡°separation of policy-making from implementation¡± in terms of international cultural exchange was gradually formed in Germany. After World War II, Germany not only restored and inherited this model, but also standardized it in the form of law and integrated it with diversified mechanisms of cultural exchanges, thus invigorating this traditional pattern by improving the old cultural diplomacy mode of Germany.
 
In 1920, the German government established the section of overseas German culture and cultural affairs in its federal foreign office, laying the institutional foundation for German government in offering macro-management in terms of international cultural policy. The major feature of this institution is ¡°official institutions making policies and civil institutions carrying out activities¡±, and among which the federal foreign office, on behalf of the federal government, overall allocates and coordinates the job of international cultural exchange institutions. However, meanwhile, the policy role of the federal foreign office is strictly limited within the frame of ¡°leadership rather than monopoly¡± by the federal parliament and federal government, and strictly abides by the principle of ¡°refrain from interfering or infringing the principle and feature of highly autonomous of culture, art and science in terms of policy implementation¡±1. The job of international cultural exchange is undertaken by a large number of civil institutions with ¡°brand¡± influence. Most of these cultural institutions were established in the era of Weimar Republic, such as German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Goethe Institute and German Institute for Foreign Relations, boasting a history of some 100 years. The advantages of this operating pattern are as follows. On the one hand, the government refrains from interfering in the job of international cultural exchanges directly, therefore, the enthusiasm, initiative and creativity of civil society organizations in directly undertaking the job of cultural diplomacy is guaranteed in terms of institution. On the other hand, with the form of ¡°official institutions making policies and civil institutions carrying out activities¡±, the discourse power, influence, as well as the obligation of financial support and supervision of government on cultural diplomacy policy is also guaranteed at the institutional level. Therefore, this pattern is also called the mode of ¡°separating power from implementation¡±, and becoming the long-lasting distinctive German mode of ¡°official institutions and civil ones are separated and in effective coordination¡±. The institutionalized development of German international cultural policy has made prominent contribution to the improvement of relations between Germany and other countries, as well as the demonstration of positive image of Germany.
 
II. Comprehensive Specialization
The feature of specialization of international cultural exchanges of Germany, is not only embodied in the specialization level of NGOs engaged in a specific job, but also embodied
in the specialization level of the government system and parliament system which guide and supervise the overall operation of NGOs. Such comprehensive specialization can seldom be seen in other countries.
 
First, the federal parliament, which is at the core of German political system, via its ¡°right for specialization research¡±, participates in and influences the international cultural policy of Germany. According to the ¡°right of independent research¡± granted to the specialized committees of federal parliament in the 1970s, the committee of international culture of the parliament has the right to, without the permission of the plenary session of the parliament, directly conduct public or closed-door discussions on cultural diplomacy policy with experts and scholars, sit on various specialization meetings, as well as consult and talk over professional theoretical issues related with cultural diplomacy. The federal parliament attaches great importance to the gathering of specialization information and the improvement of specialized analysis ability. Members of cultural iplomacy committee of the parliament are by and large composed of experts of culture or international cultural policy, instead of professional bureaucrats. According to the law, the German government should submit specialized report on international cultural policy to the German federal parliament. With the aid of high-quality analytical report on cultural diplomacy submitted by expert or scholar-type MPs, the federal parliament could conduct effective supervision targeting at the problems of cultural diplomacy policy. Another noteworthy practice of the German federal parliament is the ¡°commission of investigation¡±. The history of ¡°commission of investigation¡± can be dated back to the 1970s and it once made enquiry and investigation on the German government on important issues concerning international cultural policy. In specialization discussions and research, the ¡°commission of investigation¡± usually keeps coordination and cooperation with parliamentary groups of different parties and professional committees, in an effort to guarantee the sharp observation and deliberate understanding of the parliament on issues related with cultural diplomacy policy. This tradition reflected from one perspective that the German federal parliament values the significance of major and serious issues of cultural diplomacy.
 
Second, the specialization of German government is mainly embodied in the making of international cultural policy by the federal foreign office. The federal foreign office of Germany is in charge of making strategic and tactic discourse of international cultural policy, mainly via discussion and consultation with the parliament, federal departments and governments of federal states, private international cultural institutions, the academic circle and other actors of international culture. Major forms of interaction include academic seminars, thematic conference on cultural policy, activities related with international cultural policy jointly staged by the foreign office and all parties, as well as the Q&A session
in the parliament after submitting keynote. Specialization practices guaranteed the advanced and leading feature of international cultural policy of Germany.
 
Third, NGOs engaged in international cultural exchanges are greatly specialized. Instead of directly engaged in concrete cultural diplomacy, departments of federal government usually, according to their specialized fields, formulate plans of cultural exchanges and commission concrete tasks to international cultural institutions, such as Goethe Institute, DAAD, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, German Institute for Foreign Relations, Berlin World Culture Home, Federal Overseas School Headquarters and other distinguished cultural institutions. The above institutions, except Berlin World Culture Home, were all established in the era of Weimar Republic and boast long history and rich cultural heritage, thus forming the organizational foundation of ¡°official-civil-cooperation¡± mechanism of German cultural diplomacy policy. These institutions inherit the custom and governance tradition of the Weimar Republic, and strictly abide by the ¡°principle of highly autonomous¡±. By emphasizing their social and civil feature and keeping appropriate distance from the nation, they are ¡°experts¡± specialized in doing concrete international cultural job on behalf of Germany. Their professional advantage is formed during their long-term practice and is therefore far above that of the diplomatic or cultural management departments of the government. In addition, the specialization of these institutions in conducting cultural and educational exchanges is not only embodied in a series of specialized institutions and infrastructures, but also in their professional teaching and management talents.
 
Language is the carrier of culture and the major content of cultural diplomacy is to introduce the national language to the rest of the world. However, it is still one of the major challenges for all countries to conduct new cultural cooperation programs by integrating language teaching with cultural exchanges. We may draw upon the practice adopted by German cultural institutions. From the content of modern international cultural job of Germany, we could see that their innovations mainly fall into three aspects. First, carry out the traction of stage cultural exchange programs and deliberately shape the ¡°core products¡± of cultural diplomacy. For instance, the German teaching and training program of Goethe Institute, the overseas German schools of German Overseas School Management Center and the inter-school cooperation program on teaching German jointly staged by the Center and excellent middle schools all over the world, joint research and exchanges programs sponsored by arious foundations represented by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. These programs are at the core of international cultural exchanges of Germany. Second, encourage and sponsor ordinary German citizens engaged in culture, such as artists, musicians, writers and painters, exchange directly with their counterparts abroad. Since the 20th century, Germany has set dual-direction exchanges as one of the basic principles of cultural diplomacy policy and a large number of foreign artists were sponsored to go to Germany for exchanges or exhibitions. Third, apply modern
civilization achievement onto cultural diplomacy, such as organizing online cultural forums or academic conferences. Over the past more than ten years, the federal foreign office of Germany has invested heavily in supporting the publication of various cyber journals in foreign languages and established online forums themed on ¡°cultural dialogue with the Muslim world¡± were typical examples in this aspect. This kind of operating mechanism prevents the government and society of target countries from worrying about the so-called ¡°political propaganda advertising tool¡± and is easy to be accepted and recognized by the government and society of targeted countries.
 
In order to ensure the stability and sustainability of cultural cooperation programs, it is required in Germany that the design and arrangement of cultural programs should be deliberate and farsighted. All in all, the government, parliament and international civil cultural institutions are all of excellent professional qualities and professional operation ability, which ensures the effective operation of the international cultural exchanges system.
 
III. Emphasize and integrate the strategic and policy discourse of cultural cooperation

In the long-term practice of international cultural exchanges, Germany attaches great importance to the insightful understanding of cultural communication. In the preface to the latest edition Culture and Foreign Policy published in Germany, Horst K.hler, the former President of Federal Germany said, ¡°International cultural exchange is just doing the job of value persuasion, and it makes it possible for mankind live in peace and harmony in a globalized world. Such values include: respect the lifestyle of each other, resolve disputes and conflicts in a peaceful manner, and tolerant different opinions and ethnic groups¡±. It seems that the national character of Germany such as advocating rationalism and emphasizing speculative philosophy decides that when they make their international cultural exchanges policy, they think more about the discourse of policy connotation and logic of the discourse. However, ironically, in the era of German Empire before World War I and Nazi Germany before World War II, ¡°international cultural exchange¡± became the tool of Sand Nazis in their external expansion and conquest, and seriously deviated from the normal track. In the era of German Empire, under the guidance of ¡°Germany¡¯s special way¡± and the influence of might idea of Bismark and William II, the international cultural exchanges of Germany adopted the ¡°idioglossia mode¡±-unilaterally publicize the culture of Germany. In the era of Nazi Germany, international cultural exchanges had become the tool of power politics for the fascist racialist cultural aggression of the German Third Reich. With the ideology of racialism, the Third Reich recklessly carried out its cultural expansion, with its fraudulence and destruction came to a climax. As a result, after World War II, Federal Germany made a comprehensive ¡°denazification and value reconstruction¡± on the previous international cultural exchanges, and completely abandoned the authoritarian ¡°Germany¡¯s special way¡±.
 
The post-war Germany realized that the ultimate reason of German international cultural policy stepping into ¡°dead end¡± was the unilateral and nationalism international cultural philosophy from the era of Emperor William to the Nazi epoch. Most political elites of Federal Germany, with Konrad Adenauer as the representative, firmly believes that German culture should no longer serve as the tool of ruling the world. Instead, it should become an important instrument promoting international cooperation, understanding, ommunication, interaction and mutual learning. It has increasingly become the consensus of all walks of German society to construct the cultural bridge of multilateral cooperation, replace the culture of conflict with the culture of cooperation, replace cultural unilateralism with equal two-way communication, and enhance mutual understanding and trust between different nations and countries. The above consensus has also become the mainstream discourse of cultural diplomacy among the political community and civil society of Federal Germany in the later period of the war and the whole post-war era. Under this discourse system, the content of cultural exchanges is no longer displaying the superiority of ¡°will¡± or race. Instead, it has to abide by the principles of sincere and objective of cultural exchanges, or, in other words, the principle of ¡°new objectivity¡±. This principle, in its essence, emphasizes that cultural exchanges should adhere to the standards of sincere and objective, and therefore oppose any non-neutral or hypocritical cultural ¡°propaganda¡±. Meanwhile, it is also required that the objective principle and the principle of purpose of cultural objects should be observed, otherwise the function and
aim of cultural exchanges could not be realized. Based on these introspection and recognition of international cultural exchanges, the international cultural policy making of Germany in the first place focuses on the establishment of discourse of cultural diplomacy policy, and in the next place the construction of mechanism and the exploration
of practice.
 
With the reunification of Germany after Cold War, besides maintaining continuity, the international cultural policy of Germany witnesses new adjustment, especially in terms of policy discourse£­emphasizes the important role and significance of cultural communication in resolving conflict and comforting the soul. The logic of this policy discourse is that, with the readjustment of world order, collisions and conflicts between different civilizations and cultures are gradually increasing, and misunderstanding and conflicts brought by differences on cultural recognition could only be resolved by cross-cultural dialogue and communication. In the International Cultural Program 2000 made in the year 2000, Germany further clarified the role of international cultural exchanges in improving cross-cultural communication and resolving cultural conflicts, and created the new function of ¡°cultural pre-warning mechanism¡±. 
 
 
 
 
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