Dear friends of the German language,
Today we have an excellent reason to celebrate. To celebrate almost 10 years of German language classes at the Green Hills Academy. These are years with steadily increasing numbers of German language students. And what makes me particularly proud: This has resulted in students from Rwanda being able to enhance their academic skills in Germany. For this reason, a lot of credit goes to the Green Hills Academy and its dedicated staff; making it a place of excellence in the heart of Africa.
Language is culture. If you really want to understand a foreign culture you have to learn its language. Thus the PASCH-concept wants to reach out beyond the basic communication skills. It promotes the interest for and awareness of German values and traditions. Germany is proud to stand for an open and inclusive society, for the high importance its people place on freedom of expression and fundamental human rights. We want to encourage students to have their own opinions, to question old answers and to seek new paths to solve the challenges of their generation. The German language is the tool to achieve this.
The German school and university system is based on the idea of providing access to everybody –for free. I am convinced that this is an incentive for many pupils and their parents, an incentive to continue their academic career at one of the many world-class universities in Germany. We witness a growing interest worldwide in this unique university system, making it very different compared to the Anglo-Saxon approach in particular.
Since 2008 the PASCH-Initiative has been growing steadily and nowadays connects more than 2,000 schools worldwide. More than 600,000 pupils are part of the initiative and it is a growing number. At a very early stage, the Green Hills Academy in Kigali joined this initiative in 2009. At present there are 60 students in High School and 190 students in Middle School who eagerly learn German.
But the attachment to Rwanda is not just one sided. The people and the country of the thousand hills have a very special place in the German public opinion. Not just because of the brief period when our paths crossed in history during colonial times, which dates back over a hundred years. Germans are also very much aware of the recent history, of the genocide and Rwanda’s efforts to rebuild the country. Providing German language courses is one of the many elements that we want to contribute to open a door to a better future for the next generation. And I am sure that these energetic young Rwandans will take advantage of this opportunity and make the best use of it – to their own benefit and the further uplifting of Rwanda.
Ambassador Dr. Peter Woeste