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United States. Office of the US High Commissioner for Germany. Management and Budget Division / The America Houses, a study of the U.S. Information Center in Germany

IV. A. Program emphasis,   pp. 119-121 PDF (1.3 MB)

Page 119

interwoven through these observations and discussions of America
House programs is the tendency of program formulators to try everything
with the expectation that some of the seeds sown will fall on fallow
ground. Insofar as past circumstances and objectives are concerned,
this conclusion does not have critical implications. The objectives Of
the Mission during the early HICOG years and the general shortage of
cultural institutions in German cities during post-war reconstruction
called for a broad scale, large volume range of programs in the America
Houses. For a long time two phrases, reorientation and filling the
commnities' cultural void, justified the philosophy that every reason-
able type of community and cultural program should be attempted.
Need for Revision of Programs to Su ort Objectives
Times have changed and the objectives of the present Public Affairs
program are different from the objectives only a short time ago. Just as
there has been a steady evolution in objectives, it is both natural and
imperative that the program emphasis be changed.
Consequently, it is no longer acceptable that the America Houses
should try everything. They still have the responsibility of maintaining
their community cultural institution characteristics. This is a prime
asset contributing to the reputation of the Houses. However, within
that concept, it is necessary that the program content be selectively
determined by measuring the programs against their potentiality to pro-
mote the aims of United States foreign policy.
Already, many of the America House directors and headquarters and
regional office staffs have, in their thinking, recognized the need for
greater program selectivity. They recognize that mere popularity of a
program is not enough. They know that programs must be both popular and
capable of relating to United States foreign policy.
While this thinking is steadily finding greater acceptance among
the America House directors, its reflection in programming is not signi-
ficant.. Major and positive action is necessary at regional or head-
quarters level to lead the Houses toward selective and forceful programming.
Expressed negatively, this lag of practice behind thinking results in:
1. too little coordination in mobilizing all resources in
developing program themes,
2. too many passive film showings as pure entertainment,
3. too great a tendency for the library to operate separately
from other programs,
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