The "Conseil International des Organisations de Festivals de Folklore et d’Arts Traditionnels (CIOFF®)" was founded in 1970 in France as a non-governmental cultural organization of UNESCO. The later accession of Germany has to be seen differentiated, as there had been at that time, two German states.
Development in the German Democratic Republic
In 1973 for the first time a delegation of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) took part at the annual meeting of the CIOFF® in Zakopane / Poland. This imposed in 1974 the participation at the international folklore festival in Confolens / France by the folklore ensemble from Rudolstadt and at other festivals, which took place at the initiative of CIOFF®.
Until 1976, the Ministry of Culture took advantage of membership in the CIOFF®, after which the secretary for international non-governmental organizations established in the ethnic work. It had to coordinate among its tasks, the work in the appropriate international organizations with the respective sponsoring organizations. In this era amongst others the CIOFF® World Congress in 1983 in Gera took place. By 1990, the GDR remained the CIOFF® under this leadership.
The beginnings of the Federal Republic of Germany
In the Federal Republic of Germany the organizers of the festivals in Neustadt, Scheeßel, Laggenbeck, Kröv, Bitburg, Wehrheim, Burg Ludwigstein und Marburg-Biedenkopf formed together a joint venture in 1975. In the same year Bernd Schäfer took part for the first time at the CIOFF® Annual General Meeting in Szeged / Hungary. On 01.06.1977 he was then also recognized by the "Joint Conference of the cultural ministers of the Länder" as representative of the Federal Republic of Germany in World CIOFF® association. In May 1976, already the first meeting of the Board of the International CIOFF® was arranged in Schlitz / Hessen.
The founding of the German section
In 1977 the General Assembly of CIOFF® decided at its annual meeting in Istanbul / Turkey to found sections in its member countries. This was the occasion to convene a first meeting on 18.02.1978 for the establishment of a national section in German CIOFF® in Schlitz. After extensive discussions it was decided to organize another meeting in October in Scheeßel.
At this first meeting also a delegation from Luxembourg took part who expressed interest in a membership. A draft constitution was prepared which should be finally adopted at the next meeting. The founding document was signed by the following organizations: folklore groups of Angersbach, Schlitz, Cölbe, Lauterbach, Heppenheim, Wehrheim, Jugendburg Ludwigstein - all from Hessen -, Laggenbeck/Westfalen, Scheeßel and Hermannsburg from Niedersachsen, the tourist association Kröv/Mosel and Mersch/Luxemburg.
The next meeting took place in March 1979 in Cölbe. There the statute was again revised and finally adopted without dissent. It was incorporated the terms that extend the activities of CIOFF® section Germany on the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. At all these meetings the Belgian CIOFF® delegate Siegfried Verbeelen participated actively. He played a decisive role in ensuring that everything could be completed as quickly and as smoothly within a year.
The first 10 years
In the autumn of the same year a managing-committee could have been elected for the first time in Wehrheim / Taunus. In April 1983 the board meeting of the World federation took place in Mersch / Luxembourg. 1984 the national CIOFF®-section agreed to organize the international CIOFF® conference in Schlitz after the UdSSR cancelled the already agreed implementation of this meeting. 67 delegates from 34 nations were present at the event.
At the annual meeting of the National CIOFF® in September 1988 in Scheeßel an anniversary event took place on the occasion of the 10-year existence. The program was designed by some member folkloric groups. All participants were accommodated free of charge in families.
From 1990 all-German ...
Following the merger of the two German states in October 1990 there was an all-German meeting. It was agreed that the statute must be adapted to the new circumstances. In future, all persons who hold office in the world association, should automatically be members of the board of the national section. Rosemarie Engel, long Delegate of the GDR, was therefore provisionally appointed to the board. Upon entry into force of the new statute, the charitable status was requested and obtained in 1993.
In 2001, Hans Joachim Wiesmüller and Bernd Schaefer attended a reception at Mr. Rau (Federal President). The members of the German delegations have always introduced themselves and actively participated at international level. Rosemarie Engel was from 1981 to 2000 Member of the "Legal Commission" (Statutes Commission). Bernd Schäfer is since the founding of the festival commission in 1989 a present member of this group and the publisher of the CIOFF® Festival calendar. Norbert Müller is also a member of the festival commission since 1997 and since 2002 its chairman and belongs therefore to the board of the world federation. Susanne Kramer, a member of the festival commission since 2000, was at the meeting of the Pan-European sector in Leoben / Austria in 2007, elected as its representative. She also belongs to the board of the world federation.
Since 2005 the CIOFF®-section of Germany is a co-operative member of the German costume association (DTV). On the 18th of September 2004 the German CIOFF® section celebrated its 25th anniversary in Scheeßel. This anniversary has been attributed to the formation of the CIOFF® section of the former Federal Republic of Germany in 1978. At the annual meeting in Schwalenberg in September 2005 it was decided to take the first-time participation of a German delegate to the international CIOFF® conference in 1973 in Zakopane / Poland, as the founding date of the final section CIOFF® Germany.