Folkwang's Interest in China
As early as the year 2007, the idea to found some German music institutions in China was created among several university rectors. Prof. Dr. Pfeffer, former rector at Folkwang University of the Arts and chairman of the Rectors' Conference of German Conservatories (RKM), further developed the thought: in the years of 2007 and 2008, Folkwang University thus tested the feasibility of German study programs in China and of establishing several German music institutions there. Thereupon, it played a leading role in a consortium of German conservatories.
Upon trips designed to concretise the RKM plans, Folkwang University representatives also took care of their own projects aside from the one for RKM. This strategy should later proove to be correct – when Prof. Pfeffer died and the RKM projects put forth by Folkwang and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) were first adjourned and then cancelled altogether. Luckily, Folkwang University of the Arts was able to revive the established contacts and set up more of its own projects and plans for third-party funds plans.
The Folkwang University of the Arts rector's office has dealt with the political dimensions of cooperating with Chinese universities, institutions and companies numerous times. In this matter, it follows the assessment of the German government that we should have a cooperative relationship to China. Naturally, the rector's office does not think to contribute to a perceptible improvement of Germany's relationship to China with its comparably small actitivties of Folkwang University of the Arts – yet it is convinced that each Chinese student spending parts of his or her studies at a German university will come home to China with important insights into our society. Thus, the trustful cooperation between a German university and public as well as private institutions in the People's Republic of China may help master the great international challenges our countries are facing.
A similar assessment was uttered by former Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder in 2008 when he was interviewed by the newspaper “Die Zeit“ (“Why we need Beijing“). As the rector's office sees it, Schröder's thoughts still apply today and correspond to the guidelines of Germany's current China politics. Folkwang University of the Arts strives to act in keeping with these thoughts.
Michael Fricke, Folkwang University of the Arts Chancellor (August 2014)