An official decoration of the Federal Republic of Germany since 1975, the Goethe Medal is awarded yearly by the Goethe-Institut and for over a decade has been presented on August 28, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s birthday in 1749. This year due to the pandemic, the awards ceremony will not take place in the poet’s main city of Weimar, but rather on a digital platform in cooperation with Deutsche Welle. The prize, which recognizes persons from the fields of science, arts and culture who are committed to promoting international cultural exchange, is awarded to Elvira Espejo Ayca, Ian McEwan and Zukiswa Wanner.The poet, essayist and musician Elvira Espejo Ayca, born in Bolivia in 1981, was until recently director of the National Museum of Ethnography and Folklore in La Paz and according to the Goethe Medal committee, a “true bridge-builder.” In June this year, she was dismissed by the interim government that has been in place ever since the forced resignation of former president, Evo Morales. Her dismissal sparked international protests.The Goethe Medal jury underlined Ayca’s creative approach in her cultural mediation work between Latin America and Europe. The poet, essayist and musician Elvira Espejo Ayca, born in Bolivia in 1981, was until recently director of the National Museum of Ethnography and Folklore in La Paz and according to the Goethe Medal committee, a ‘true bridge-builder’British bestselling novelist Ian McEwan was selected by the jury for his long-lasting commitment to Europe. McEwan’s literary work explores the contradictions of society, while as a pro-European public figure he “openly opposes narrow-minded nationalism” in the face of harsh attacks.Writer, journalist and publisher Zukiswa Wanner, who was born in Zambia in 1976, is in international demand as a specialist of South African literature. “Wanner writes beyond national borders,” the jury stated, “by allowing the diversity of African cultures to flow into her artistic work.” Her differentiated understanding of regional discourses and African female identity made her a role model for an entire generation of African writers.“The coronavirus crisis is changing societies through isolation, disinformation and contradictions,” said the president of the Goethe-Institut, Klaus-Dieter Lehmann, which makes it even more important to highlight the work of people who focus on creating connections.“It is an honour and a great pleasure to give these three impressive personalities the attention they deserve through DW’s multimedia and multilingual reporting and to allow people from around the world to take part in the award ceremony,” said DW’s director, Peter Limbourg.Since the first award in 1955, 354 personalities from 67 countries have been honored, including Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Bourdieu, David Cornwell aka John le Carré, Sir Ernst Gombrich, Lars Gustafsson, Agnes Heller, Petros Markaris, Karl Raimund Popper, Jorge Semprún, Robert Wilson, Neil MacGregor, Helen Wolff, Juri Andruchowytsch and Irina Scherbakowa.