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11 July 2003

A Major Asset for German Cultural Policy

First Jürgen Fritzenschaft Award goes to Kiyoko Nakano from Japan — New Society supports research and teaching at the Institute of German as a Foreign Language (IDF), University of Heidelberg

All's well that ends well. After considerable efforts, not least in overcoming bureaucratic obstacles, the new "Society for the Promotion of the Institute of German as a Foreign Language" has made its first public appearance. And it had "something very special" to announce, as chairman Dr. Katalin Frank-Schneider proudly proclaimed at its opening ceremony — the presentation of the Jürgen Fritzenschaft Award to its very first recipient. This award, donated by a member of the new Society, is to be presented every semester to a student at the Institute of German as a Foreign Language (IDF) who has turned in an especially outstanding M.A. thesis in the field of linguistics or literary studies.

This term's recipient of the award (worth 500 euros) is the Japanese student Kiyoko Nakano for her thesis "The Suffering Sex" on the subject of Arthur Schnitzler's novellas. Visibly moved, Nakano expressed her gratitude "not only for the academic supervision but also for the moral support" she has received during her studies at IDF. Her main subject is literary studies, with linguistics and Japanese studies as subsidiaries. She intends to use the prize money to fill the gaps in her own personal library. After her successful finals she is now going on to do a doctorate. The ceremony was rounded off by a lecture on "Odysseus in German Literature before and after 1945", given by the Munich literary scholar Prof. Dr. Günter Häntzschel.

The aim of the new Society is to support research and teaching at the IDF, an institute that provides a German studies course for international students only. As such, it is a major asset to Germany's cultural policy. The M.A. course it offers qualifies students whose mother tongue is not German to embark on careers as German teachers or in similar professions in their home countries. The design of the "German as a Foreign Language" course has proved outstandingly successful. Its reputation is exemplary, as is borne out by the constantly increasing number of applicants and enrolments. Among the more specific tasks the Society for the support of IDF has sets itself are assistance for gifted students, academic excursions, lectures and information events and also cooperation with institutes abroad. New members, and especially those from outside the University, are very welcome indeed.

Oliver Fink

Verein zur Förderung des Instituts für Deutsch als Fremdsprachenphilologie der Universität Heidelberg e.V.,
Plöck 55
D-69117 Heidelberg
phone: 06221/547545

More general inquires can also be addressed to
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317

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