Germany expands cultural diplomacy with new showcases

Germany expands cultural diplomacy with new showcases Berlin - Germany is to expand its cultural diplomacy abroad, reaching out to academics by building a series of missions to highlight German scientific and engineering achievements, officials said Thursday in Berlin.

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the offices were part of a push to invest more in cultural diplomacy.

The first such House of Science has been opened in Sao Paolo,

Brazil, and more are planned in Moscow, New Delhi and New York.

Staff at a house of science can inform local academics about German scientists who are doing research in the same specialties.

The houses are in addition to the chain of government-funded Goethe Institutes around the world which showcase the arts in Germany and offer German-language classes. Berlin also funds German-language schools in many nations.

Steinmeier said cultural diplomacy offered new ways to gain influence in a world of cultural and religious conflicts.

"It offers others the chance to see the world through our eyes," he said.

In the three years since Steinmeier became minister in late 2005, Berlin's cultural diplomacy budget rose more than 30 per cent, reaching 658 million euros (862 million dollars) last year. Steinmeier did not disclose the amount of further increases.

A key planned project in Turkey is the establishment of a German university in Istanbul. (dpa)