Since the Taliban took power in mid-August 2021, thousands of people have left their home country Afghanistan. Artists are particularly threatened: Music, theatre and visual arts are largely banned under the Taliban. Many artists have therefore received a promise of admission from the German government. For them, the Martin Roth Initiative of ifa – Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen and Goethe-Institut is now setting up twenty scholarships specifically aimed at Afghan applicants to make their start in Germany easier.
Image above: Street scene in Afghanistan, via pixaby.com
The Martin Roth Initiative was launched in 2018 by ifa – Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen and Goethe-Institut with the support of the Federal Foreign Office to support artists at risk worldwide. The additional scholarships are aimed specifically at Afghan artists and cultural workers who have been accepted by the German government. They are to find a place with cultural host organisations in Germany in order to network with the cultural scene. Accompanying and support measures are part of the scholarship and are based on specific needs.
Gitte Zschoch, Secretary General of ifa: “Protection programmes like the Martin Roth Initiative are of enormous importance for the empowerment of increasingly endangered actors in the pre-political space worldwide. They strengthen civil societies, support peace and democracy work and the protection of human rights. In Afghanistan and other countries in the region, ifa has also been supporting digitally and analogue committed individuals and organisations for years through scholarships and project funding. The international networks of people that have been created in this way contribute to the stabilisation of societies. Our task is to support these people now as well. It is therefore good that the coalition agreement stipulates that the admission of endangered artists from Afghanistan will be simplified, with fast procedures coordinated with state and municipal authorities. This way, projects like the Martin Roth Initiative can be implemented even better and offer perspectives.”
Johannes Ebert, Secretary General of the Goethe-Institut, continues: “The Goethe-Institut worked closely with the cultural scene in Afghanistan until it had to shut down its operations in Kabul in 2017 for security reasons. Cultural exchange needs trust and long-standing connections. With this comes a great responsibility. We are relieved that the new Federal Government is giving high priority to the possibilities of leaving Afghanistan. Afghan cultural workers arriving in Germany meet a committed cultural scene that wants to help in solidarity. We ourselves contribute to this with the Martin Roth Initiative scholarships. We will also work to maintain and strengthen the free discourse of Afghan cultural workers who have had to leave their country.”
Twenty scholarships for Afghanistan
As of now, Afghan artists who have received a letter of acceptance from the Federal Government as well as potential host organisations in Germany can apply for funding at the Martin Roth Initiative. If necessary, the Martin Roth Initiative provides support in mediating between host organisations and cultural practitioners. The funding includes a monthly stipend, individual support measures as well as expense allowances for the host organisation for an initial period of up to 6 months.
Scholarships are awarded on a rolling basis and according to the availability of funds and capacities. For the time being, up to 20 scholarships can be approved, with further funding to follow in the course of 2022. Further information: https://www.martin-roth-initiative.de/en/afghanistanscholarship
Please pay particular attention to the information on secure communication, which is explained in more detail on the above-mentioned website.
Contact person for the scholarships:
Maik Müller, Head of Martin Roth Initiative, +49 30 284491-76, firstname.lastname@example.org