Rwandan Centre Universitaire des Arts uses culture as a tool for reconciliation

September 2004 -

Ten years after the genocide, Rwanda is working hard to rebuild. The Centre Universitaire des Arts is making a modest, but extraordinary contribution, with recently renewed financial support from the Prince Claus Fund.


 photo: Arts Azimiets, Maria Kaloguomeri, Centre Universitaire des arts, workshop dance and theatre

The centre was founded in December 1999, as part of the Université National du Rwanda. The first director, and thus the founder, was Koulsy Lamko, the playwright from Chad. He assigned the centre the task of stimulating art and culture in Rwanda, 'to support efforts toward reconciliation, peace and national unity'.

During the past years the Centre Universitaire des Arts has developed quite a diverse range of cultural activities, which includes music, dance, plays, film and literature. The centre has for example been involved in a number of theatre performances with an educational character, performed throughout the entire country. The local communities were given information about a new system of local trials of those who participated in the genocide.

Another of the centre's distinctive projects is its collaboration with the engaging Belgian theatre company Groupov. Their multimedia piece 'Rwanda 94' tells the prior history and describes the course of the genocide, based on years of research. Since its première in 1999, this riveting piece has toured internationally and has been praised virtually everywhere, including in Rwanda itself, where the show was presented to large audiences for the first time in 2004.