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Berliner Festspiele and HKW: change on top of important cultural institutions

Director Berlin FestivalThomas Oberender, will only stay until the end of the year. The Berliner Festspiele announced Wednesday evening that it has informed the Berlin Federal Cultural Events Supervisory Board (KBB) that he will no longer serve as KBB’s general manager and artistic director of the festival after his current contract expires on December 31. . “He has therefore requested to terminate his contract, which was extended for five years in November 2020.” Oberender, 55, wants to switch to new tasks and challenges, the letter states.

Oberender spokeswoman Claudia Nola confirmed on Wednesday that he will not take up the new contract, which will apply from January 1, 2022, but will stop at the festival when the current contract expires. It was a personal decision. It did not provide any information about the reasons for that. Oberender has chaired the Federal Foundation since 2012. Responsible for the Berliner Festival includes exhibitions and events at Gropius-Bau as well as Triffin Theater, Myers Music, Musicfest Berlin and Gazfest Berlin.

The Chair of the KBB Supervisory Board, Secretary of State Monika Grütters thanked Oberender and stated that he had made the festival an innovative showcase of federal culture. Through start-ups such as the Tanztrifen der Jugend Series or the Immersion Program Series and the Palest der Republic Project, he has created groundbreaking formats.

The Berliner Festival is a division of the Federal Cultural Events Berlin (KBB) GmbH and is funded by the Federal Government’s Commissioner for Culture and Media. Oberender’s early departure isn’t the only change KBB had to report on Wednesday. also on House of World Cultures (HKW) There will be a change at the top: The KBB Bonaventure Supervisory Board has appointed Soh Bejeng Ndikung as the new director of HKW. He will take over the position on January 1, 2023 from Bernd M Scherer.

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“House of Complexity”

Grütters praised Bonaventure Ndikung as a “real stroke of luck”: “He is so well connected, with his scientific background and passion for art, that he is truly determined to develop this one-of-a-kind institution in Europe. In doing so, he can build on the strong foundation that Bernd Scherer built with his team.”

Ndekong, born in 1977 in Yaounde, Cameroon, holds a PhD in Biotechnology and is Professor in the Spatial Strategies Course at the Weißensee Academy of Arts, Berlin. He was Senior Curator of Document 14 in Athens and Kassel, as well as Guest Curator of Dak’Art – Biennale of Contemporary African Art 2018 in Dakar, Senegal. Since 2009 he has served as Managing Director and Technical Director of SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin. For his work there, Ndekong was awarded the Order of Merit by the State of Berlin in October 2020.

Commenting on his appointment, Ndekong said: “Berlin is home to citizens of 190 countries, and these people should be instrumental in the future design of a home of the world’s cultures, as traveling companions and co-creators in the creation of a home of complexity, the various disparities of the world and finally the reconciliation of cultures. I am honored to take responsibility for opening the way to such a future.”