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Three foreign publicists awarded Goethe Medal

Germany's Goethe Institute has awarded its annual medal to publicists from Iran, India and Greece, saying culture and education remained essential for the world's coexistence and even its survival.

Germany's cultural institute on Wednesday awarded Goethe Medals to the Iranian translator and author S. Mahmoud Hosseini Zad, the Indian publisher Naveen Kishore and the Greek writer Petros Markaris.

The medals, awarded annually since 1955, pay tribute to personalities who help promote German literature abroad and foster cultural dialogue.

At Wednesday's award ceremony in Weimar, Goethe Institute President Klaus-Dieter Lehmann said: "In terms of international perception, culture and education have become more than ever the deciding elements for our co-existence - or even more drastically formulated - for our survival."

Lehmann said without cultural understanding, and literature in particular, the world would become "increasingly unintelligible." Literature was an "especially important part" of the arts, holding up a "mirror" to society.

'Cultural mediators'

Organizers described Hosseini Zad as a "cultural mediator" whose translations from German into Farsi (Persian) had made many 20th century literature works available to Iranians, from authors such as Bertold Brecht to Ingo Schulze.

The "German List", published in English by Naveen Kishore's Calcutta-based venture Seagull Books, had significantly enhanced the reception of German literature on the Indian subcontinent, organizers said.

Petros Markaris described his translation of Goethe's "Faust" as a "strenuous adventure." Organizers said his contemporary novels centered around a fictitious Athens police inspector amounted to sharp observation and social critique.

ipj/ph (dpa, epd)

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