Goethe Institute President complains about the conditions of work in Belarus

2005 2005-07-21T10:00:00+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Radio Liberty reports that Uta Limbach, Goethe Institute President – an international culture-oriented establishment with branches in most countries of the world - calls the conditions of work in Belarus some of the worst ones. The former president of the German Constitutional Court said in an interview with the radio station Deutschlandfunk and the newspaper Leipziger Volkszeitung that in countries where such notions as freedom of opinion, press, assembly and information exchange mean little, culture projects are very difficult to conduct, because such countries tend to view Goethe Institute as an agent of western imperialism.

The latest, some of the brightest culture events staged by Goethe Institute in Minsk include the literature party "Bykau and Germany" attended by German and Belarusian writers, a theatrical performance by a German director in the Movie Actor Theater, a number of photos and literary exhibitions. For most Belarusians, this is a German institution that has worked in Minsk since 1993 and a possibility to learn German. The Belarusians who received diplomas from Goethe Institute were able to go ahead with their education in German universities without any major problems, received a chance to take part in internship programs in various German firms and establishments.

At the same time, despite the availability and openness of the German Center in Belarus, its events gather far fewer people than in Kiev, Warsaw, Petersburg or Sofia. None of the responsible officials working in the field of Belarusian education and culture accepted invitations by the Institute heads to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the German Center in Minsk. Ms Uta Limbach noted that the public activity performed by the German Center in Belarus encounters many obstacles. "We do not know if those who visit us are monitored, or people are simply afraid and do not come to our place", she said.

Meanwhile, Goethe Institute continues with its culture mission in Belarus. Together with the French Embassy, the Institute plans to open a German-French center in Minsk. Head of Goethe Institute in Minsk Ms Barbara Frenkel-Tonet said before leaving Belarus that still they had been able to implement several interesting culture projects. Now Goethe Institute in Minsk is on vacation. The Center plans to resume work in August with the new head Katrin Osvald-Richter at the head.