Germany wanted to look at itself from the outside |  Culture and Lifestyle in Germany and Europe |  >

Germany wanted to look at itself from the outside | Culture and Lifestyle in Germany and Europe | >

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Germany wanted to look at itself from the outside |  Culture and Lifestyle in Germany and Europe |  >

The Society for International Cooperation GIZ, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Goethe-Institut, as part of a joint study “An international view of Germany in times of coronavirus”, interviewed more than 620 experts on culture, science and international cooperation from 37 countries. What did they tell?

The purpose of the 120-page document, more like a list of necessary actions for the government, which will be created after the parliamentary elections in September, is to compare how Germans themselves perceive their homeland and what they think of the country outside of it, the authors of the study explained. As stated in the foreword, this study collected a variety of expert opinions to get the full picture while avoiding blind spots.

Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel thanked the organizations for their work, stressing that the authors of the study were able to make an impressive momentary observation. The head of government, in her video message at a presentation in Berlin, called the study interesting, noting that the results were partly expected, but at the same time, some things surprised her. The critical points identified in the study should be an incentive for improvement, Merkel said.

Where are the weak points

Conclusions that Germany is distinguished by economic power, stable democracy and vibrant culture were quite expected. However, survey participants note that Germany is lagging behind in matters of digitalization and access to higher education institutions.

German companies do not pay enough attention to the topic of protection, experts say

In addition, the German society shows great interest in topics related to the environment, but business does not pay enough attention to environmental protection, experts say. Also, Germany is “not doing enough” to deal with its colonial past, the respondents emphasize.

The study identified the growth of populist and radical trends as one of the biggest risks. According to the survey participants themselves, the level of friendliness in Germany has fallen in recent years, so the respondents more and more often had the feeling that they are not welcome here.

Germany should more clearly express its position in international relations and at the same time not be dominant, the interviewed experts say. From the point of view of foreign policy, it is important how official Berlin will behave in the light of tensions between the United States, China and Russia, while at the same time advocating a strong Europe, they point out.

Germans value culture

Germany can more intensively exchange ideas with the world community in areas such as science and research, art (in particular, cinema), the document says.

Respondents were also asked how well they thought the country had coped with the COVID-19 pandemic. The FRG leadership received excellent marks for their actions in the spring of 2020. However, during the second wave, the respondents were unpleasantly surprised by the pace of vaccination at the beginning of the vaccination campaign in Germany, as well as the lack of willingness of the population to adhere to coronavirus restrictions.

Goethe-Institut, DAAD and GIZ intend to draw conclusions from this survey. Digitalization plays a growing role in our work, said Tanja Gönner, spokeswoman for GIZ. “We are trying to expand our creative possibilities,” she added.

Talented professionals outside Germany want easier access to Germany’s education system, said DAAD Secretary General Kai Sicks. And the Goethe-Institut will continue to develop and strengthen the possibilities of teaching the German language in the country and abroad, the Secretary General of this organization is sure.

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    Author: Maxim Nelyubin


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