Located in Kacyiru, next to Ishyo Arts Center a few meters from the Ministry of Agriculture (MINAGRI) in Kigali, lays Goethe-Institut, with a beautiful view.
Established in Kigali in 2008, Goethe-Institut (GI) is a non-profit German cultural association operational worldwide, promoting the study of the German language abroad and encouraging international cultural exchange and relations.
The association’s rich history dates back 50 years, with over 140 branches worldwide.
Dr Peter Stepan is the director of Goethe-Institut and he has been acting since January 2012.
Goethe-Institut’s inspiration comes from the fact that in the olden days it was an idea to give cultural orientation to other countries but this time, Stepan tells The New Times the idea changed.
“We now work at the same eye level, with joint cooperation as well as local cultural activists to support the idea of creativity and cultural development,” says Stepan.
“We create projects with our local partners in the cultural sector, in order to support culture in a corporative fashion,” he explains.
Goethe-Institut works with Kwetu Film Institute and Almond Tree Films in the organisation of workshops for young Rwandan film makers as regards to documentaries, films, animations and fiction making.
It also organises concerts aimed at achieving content oriented quality music through improving the quality of traditional music in the country.
“Traditional music has a high level here and we’ve been supporting it for quite a while,” notes Stepan. “The Institut also works with Ishyo Arts Centre and other partners on a co-operative level.”
While significant progress has been noticed, Stepan gives examples of people who have benefited from Goethe-Institute; including, Philbert Mbabazi, a young film maker who recently won an Award at the Zanzibar Film Festival for his short film linked to football, and musician Ruth Nirere, alias Shanel.
The organisation has also registered success with the film programmes, with hundreds who attend the Tuesday film screenings and the concerts organised have been a great success.
Stepan says: “Culture is crucial and it’s a catalyst in the developing process of a country.”
As part of its next step, in 2013, Goethe-Institut is planning a huge project on the future of resources in terms of natural resources and human capital.
“We will think about it from a cultural point of view, possibly future developments in this area including human creativity,” concludes Stepan.
By Andrew Israel Kazibwe, The New Times