Jack Lang

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Jack Lang (2008)

Jack Mathieu Émile Lang (born September 2, 1939 in Mirecourt , Département Vosges ) is a French politician. He was the country's minister of culture and education.

Origin and family

Monique and Jack Lang at the 2009 Venice Film Festival

Lang comes from a wealthy family with three other siblings, his mother was a Catholic. His father (commercial director) and his grandfather came from a Jewish family and were members of a Masonic lodge . During the Second World War , his father was involved in the Resistance . Lang grew up in Nancy , studied political science and public law at the Institut d'études politiques de Paris (“Sciences Po”) and earned a doctorate in both disciplines.

In 1961 Lang married Monique Buczynski, a singer and actress of Polish-Jewish origin. Her two daughters Caroline Lang (* 1961) and Valérie Lang (1966-2013) also became actresses.


His early interest in the theater led to him being director of the Nancy Festival from 1969 to 1977 and director of the Théâtre national de Chaillot in Paris from 1972 to 1974 . From 1971 to 1981 he was Professor of International Law at the University of Nancy . From 1986 to 1988 and from 1993 to 1997 he was a law professor at the University of Paris-Nanterre .

Political career

Culture Minister Lang (left) with the singer Alain Meilland at the Printemps de Bourges

Politically, he was an early supporter of Pierre Mendès France . At the end of the 1960s he got involved in the left-wing socialist Parti socialiste unifié (PSU) before campaigning for François Mitterrand in 1974 and becoming a member of the Parti socialiste (PS) in 1977 . Within the Socialist Party, he soon assumed higher offices, including a. He headed the 1979 European election campaign for the party , was then the party's national delegate for cultural affairs, played a key role in Mitterrand's victory in the 1981 presidential election and then worked for the party from 1987 to 1988 as the national secretary for culture and youth.

In 1977, like around sixty other intellectuals, he signed an appeal for the decriminalization of pedophilia , which appeared in the Liberation and Le Monde newspapers. The appeal was initiated by the pedophile writer Gabriel Matzneff .

Minister for Education and Culture

But he became known to a wide public primarily through his ministerial offices. In 1981 he became Minister of Culture in the cabinet of Prime Minister Pierre Mauroy , an office that he held in all left cabinets of the Mitterrand presidency, from 1981 to 1986 and 1988 to 1993. Among other things, he initiated and accompanied the Fête de la Musique in 1982 the era of François Mitterrand with such extensive cultural activities as the Ministry of Culture had not started out with since André Malraux in the 1960s. In 1984 he initiated the Open Days in Historic Landmarks ( Journées Portes ouvertes dans les monuments historiques ), which have since taken place in many other countries as European Heritage Days and in Germany on September 8th as Open Monument Days .

In particular, Lang also played a part in the architectural redesign of Paris . The glass pyramid at the Louvre and the new triumphal arch La Grande Arche in La Défense go back to him. As part of the decentralization of France, he also initiated the establishment of numerous cultural centers in the province. He spoke out against the dominance of American culture and campaigned for the strengthening of European culture by quoting domestic and European film productions on television. His commitment to the rights of homosexuals brought him criticism from conservative and religious circles.

In the cabinet of Pierre Bérégovoy he was from April 3, 1992 to March 29, 1993 " super minister " for education and culture with the rank of minister of state , ie superior to the ministerial colleagues. From 1994 to 1997 he was a member of the European Parliament . In the course of a government reshuffle in the Jospin cabinet , he was once again made minister of education in March 2000 and remained so until the government resigned in May 2002.

Other political offices

In addition to his ministerial work, Lang also held other offices: From 1989 to 2001 he was also mayor of Blois . He was then from 2002 to 2012 a member of the National Assembly for constituency 6 of the Pas-de-Calais department .

In 2010, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appointed him UN Special Advisor on Combating Maritime Piracy .

In 2013 he became head of the Institute of the Arab World in Paris. In 2015 he was accused in the French press of defending Saudi Arabia and Qatar against allegations of supporting Islamist terrorism because these two countries were financially involved in the renovation of his institute.


In 1991 he received the medal against the seriousness of the Aachen Carnival Society .



  • Jack Lang - culture makes politics. Actor, educator, minister. Documentation, France, 2011, 43 min., Written and directed: Marie-Eve Chamard and Philippe Kieffer, production: ARTE France, German first broadcast: June 19, 2011, table of contents .
  • 2012: And by the way, great luck (Un bonheur n'arrive jamais seul)

Web links

Commons : Jack Lang  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Gay activist with Jewish roots to head Arab World Institute. In: Jewish Telegraphic Agency. January 27, 2013. Retrieved January 20, 2019 (American English).
  2. "Jack Lang - Culture Makes Politics."  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. ARTE France, June 19, 2011@1@ 2Template: Dead Link / www.arte.tv  
  3. ^ Marie Delarue: Les aventures de Lang de Blois. Inquiries. Jacques Grancher, Paris 1995, Chapter 1: Je est un autre .
  4. Christoph Kalter: The discovery of the third world. Decolonization and the new radical left in France. Campus Verlag, Frankfurt / New York 2011, p. 323.
  5. Jack Lang. In: TéléObs , accessed on August 19, 2019.
  6. Pascale Hugues : It was forbidden to forbid. In: Die Zeit from January 25, 2020, p. 53.
  7. Piracy: le Français Jack Lang nommé Conseiller spécial de l'ONU Cenre d'actualités de l'ONU, 26 August 2010.
  8. ^ Jack Lang devient le nouveau président de l'Institut du monde arabe , hemonde.fr, 25 January 2013.
  9. Jörg Altwegg: Die for Aleppo? Jack Lang leads French cultural workers to war in Syria. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , February 24, 2016, p. 9.