Anglo-German link-up in Ukraine

January 15, 1999

The British Council and Germany's Goethe Institut are to open a joint cultural, educational and training centre based at the Mohyla Academy in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev.

The centre, scheduled to open in September, will bring Ukraine's two leading European cultural missions together under one roof in a building once used as a dormitory for Soviet naval academy students.

The two organisations, which share key cultural, language instruction and training aims, will move into separate wings of a three-storey building near the ancient Dnieper River port of Kiev's historic Podil district.

Work on the jointly funded Pounds 2 million reconstruction is expected to start imminently. The British Council plans to move from its cramped city centre office to the new centre by September, with its German partners following soon after.

Michael Bird, the director of the British Council, Ukraine, said: "The move will create a one-stop European cultural centre, with significant advantages in shared costs and activities."

Johannes Ebert, director of the Goethe Institut, said: "The building will have a common entrance and a common purpose. The Goethe Institut likes the idea both for its unified European aspect and for practical reasons."

The Mohyla Academy, Ukraine's oldest national university, which reopened in 1991 after years of use as a Soviet naval academy, is striving to create a strong international focus for its campus of buildings. The centre, which will be let rent-free for the first 12 years, is located close to the Soros Centre for Contemporary Art, a Japanese management training office and the faculty of journalism, where there are plans for an internationally backed media skills training facility.

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