Franco-German Institute of Culture: illustration of French-German cultural cooperation

The cooperative relationship between France and Germany, instituted in 1963 with the Treaty of the Elysée, was consolidated with the Treaty of Aachen. This new agreement, which was signed on January 22, 2019, reflects the political will of the two countries to expand the scope of their cooperation and bring their civil society closer together.

In the cultural aspect, ICFA is one of the symbolic projects of the Treaty of Aachen. It has been decided:

  • created 4 integrated cultural institutions: in Palermo (Italy), Erbil (Iraq Kurdistan), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan);
  • colocalize 5 centers: in Ramallah (Palestinian Territory), Córdoba (Argentina), Atlanta (United States), Glasgow (United Kingdom) and Minsk (Belarus).

    Actors from both cultural networks supported these nine projects. On the French side, the French Institute and Franaises Alliance and, on the German side, the Goethe Institute center.

The French-German co-location model consists of sharing facilities (for example, between the Alliance Franaise and the Goethe Institut, as predicted in the Córdoba project), while in integral cultural institutions the rapprochement between the organizations concerned is even greater.

The ICFA can rely on the Franco-German cultural fund, created in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Elysée Agreement, on 22 January 2003. The fund, which is fed equally by both partners, encourages and supports cultural cooperation initiatives that are co-directed by diplomatic networks and culture of the two countries abroad.

Regardless of the format, ICFA offers cultural activities that are co-directed by both partners, in the same place, and develop a common communication strategy.

These institutions cover a wide range of activities. Each of them is specially adapted to the local situation, with language classes, media libraries, film clubs, idea debates, artist residences, concerts, exhibitions, etc. For example, ICFA in Ramallah will innovate by offering a digital fabrication workshop (fab lab).

ICFA, the pole of influence of the two countries, strengthens Franco-German cultural cooperation abroad and facilitates the dissemination of the democratic and humanist values ​​they share. By developing synergies and pooling French and German resources, the ICFA made it possible to carry out larger-scale foreign actions, which had a significant impact on the local population.

The first integrated IFCA was inaugurated on 14 June 2021 in Palermo, in a ceremony attended by Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Delegation of the Minister of Tourism, French Foreign Affairs and Francophonie under the Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Michelle Müntefering. , deputy minister depends on the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany, Benedetto Della Vedova, Secretary of State of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Leoluca Orlando, mayor of the city.

With the support of the Italian French Institute headquarters in Palermo and the Goethe Institute in the same city, ICFA has established itself in Bottega, in the heart of the old industrial area Cantieri Culturali alla Zisa, as the residence for production and creation, Atelier Panormos, which since September 2021 has become host to an artist duo consisting of German and French creators.

La Bottega – Atelier Panormos is also the starting point of the new Grand Tour, which has brought together nine Italian residences. This network will offer the possibility of receiving in Italy, in the corresponding place of residence, about thirty young French and German artists.

IFCA Palermo on Instagram

In addition to cultural cooperation, the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs have long established institutional cooperation.

This cooperation makes it possible to bring some diplomatic and consular structures closer together and share resources abroad.

Since the framework agreement on the implementation of joint diplomatic missions and consular offices signed on 12 October 2006, during the Franco-German Council of Ministers, diplomatic and consular headquarters have been divided.

This is the case, for example, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where the embassies of the two countries share the same headquarters.

Matt Thompson

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