Rainer Kern was born and raised in Mannheim, Germany. He studied chemistry in Karlsruhe and Heidelberg before changing to the culture and city development fields. He holds his university degree in chemistry.
He is the festival director and artistic director of the biggest german Jazz Festival, “Enjoy Jazz - International Festival for Jazz and More”, which he also founded in 1999 in Heidelberg. Enjoy Jazz (www.enjoyjazz.de) is held every autumn for seven weeks in the cities Mannheim, Heidelberg and Ludwigshafen. 2019 marks the 21st Edition of the festival.
As a freelance cultural manager, curator and producer he managed projects in Heidelberg, Mannheim, Ludwigshafen, Kuala Lumpur, Yunnan Region China and New York just to name a few.
As the representative of the Executive Mayor of Mannheim he is responsible for the setup and strategic development of the new worldwide network “Global Parliament of Mayors” (GPM) which was launched in September 2016 in The Hague, Netherlands and co-founded by the city of Mannheim. The GPM now is a member of the Global Taskforce.
Currently he is member of Mannheim's Agenda 2030 implementation and review team.
Rainer Kern is part of the team who represents the city of Mannheim at United Nations events such as HABITAT, World Urban Forum and High Level Political Forum (HLPF) at UN Head Quarter in New York.
In 2007, Rainer Kern was the managing and artistic director of the year-long celebration of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Mannheim.
As the representative of the executive mayor of Mannheim he was responsible for the UNESCO City of Music application of the city and is now - after the designation in December 2014 - director of this project. As the commissioner of the city of Mannheim, he was also involved in the development of the cultural development plan “Kulturvision 2025” for the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region.
He also founded the Mannheim based literature festival lesen.hören (reading.listening).
Together with Charles Landry he is founder and co-curator of the conference „At the boundaries of Sound“, which was held first in October 2014 in Mannheim and is now planned for other cities worldwide.
In 2014/15 he developed the Culture Management degree programme for SRH University, Heidelberg, which started autumn 2015.
He is mostly working in the field of development and production of cultural events, city / cultural diplomacy and international networks, where he combines culture and politics for sustainable urban development.