Bilateral cultural relations

German-Ethiopian cultural relations are wide-ranging and look back on a long tradition of German research interest, particularly in Ethiopian studies, as evidenced by the many university partnerships. Outstanding projects by German universities are the South Omo Research Centre, which looks into the different ethnic and cultural groups in southern Ethiopia, and the compilation of a multi-volume Encyclopaedia Aethiopica by Hamburg University. In 2004, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) awarded 104 scholarships (10 in-country, 11 for PhDs and 31 for graduate study programmes in addition to 11 short-term research grants) and funded several short-term and two long-term lectureships for German academics. Addis Ababa University’s German Language Department was reopened in the autumn of 2003. Outside the Goethe Institut German is taught in the French and Norwegian schools as well as the German Church School and the Andinet International School.

For years the German Archeological Institute has been conducting excavations in Yeha and Wuqro in close cooperation with Ethiopian partners to uncover the rich cultural heritage of the Ethio-Sabean civilization. This is one of the key activities of German cultural foreign policy in Ethiopia.

The hundredth anniversary of German-Ethiopian diplomatic relations in 2004/05 was marked by a series of cultural events. Highlights were the transfer to Ethiopia of pictures painted in Germany by the well-known Ethiopian artist Gebrechristos Desta and the opening of the Goethe Institute’s new premises. At the end of March/beginning April 2005, the Leipzig Youth Symphony Orchestra performed concerts together with an Ethiopian pianist in Addis Ababa.

German-Ethiopian relations are also upheld on the level of our cities. In 2014 we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the partnerships between Addis Ababa and the city of Leipzig as well as between Alem Ketema and Vaterstetten. Mekelle is organizing a German Week in 2014 in cooperation with the German-Ethiopian Association of Witten. Additionally, many Ethiopian cities have strong chapters of the Association for Ethiopians Educated in Germany (AEEG), the group has over 650 members in Ethiopia

The Goethe Institute in Addis Ababa concentrates its programme work in particular on linking culture and development. Issues relating to cultural identity and cultural modernization are an important feature of its programmes, which cover socio-political debate, the media, the fine arts, film and theatre. A further focus of its programme work is the promotion of dialogue between Christianity and Islam (Ethiopia model project). Its information centre and language courses are being expanded.  The German Embassy School in Addis Ababa currently has 130 pupils and 90 young children in its kindergarten. The German Embassy School Addis Ababa is a general education school. The language of instruction is German and it is the school's objective to provide academic education meeting German educational goals and leading to German school degrees. Therefore, all educational activities at the German Embassy School Addis Ababa are based on a German curriculum. In the bilingual secondary II classes, the curriculum is based on the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO).

The school is structured in four parts: Kindergarten, Elementary School, Secondary School I and Secondary School II (IB-grades). Grade 5 functions as an “orientation phase” for the different German school types (i.e. German Hauptschule, Realschule and Gymnasium). Even after final placement students of all levels are taught together, but facilitated and graded according to their academic level.

There is a German-language parish in Addis Ababa, which is open to people of all Christian denominations.

Ethiopia and Germany

100 years of diplomatic relations