|RICHARD KUNZEL AND RAP ROMAIN|
Vim Nadera: What urged you to work as a guide with trekking groups?
Richard Künzel: After almost 6 years of study, 6 years of university life, 6 six years in Old Europe, I felt I should travel the world as long as my learning capacity would be at its height. To organize your life, you should “travel” on more than one track only. But the actual reason why I came into guiding trekking groups was deep personal love blues after my studies. After an Indian friend of mine had taken me to his family in Bengal, and after I had met Tensing Norgey, Edmund Hillary’s compagnon at his climb to Mount Everest, I felt: Going to this part of the world might be the only solution of the love blues. By chance I met the German Honorary Consul of Nepal in Munich, who was an organizer of trekking tours to Nepal and just in search of a guy like me: who already was in Asia – who seemed to be incentive and physically fit – who had social abilities – who could learn and speak. “Do you want to guide my next tour to the Rolwaling Himal?” “Yes” – Two years later, one night he asked me on the phone: “My guide to leave tomorrow to Columbia / South America, just had an accident. Do you…” – “But I don’t speak Spanish.” – “You fly 11 hours. Take your ´Langenscheidt´ and learn Spanish!” This moment my tour guiding in other parts of the world was born. There was Columbia, Pakistan, Tibet, Sri Lanka and Hawaii next to Nepal.
VN: You have been the Director of Goethe-Institut Manila for four years now. What are the major and minor changes you instituted at the German Cultural Center?
RK: Major changes: Expanding in the Ground Floor - enlarging the team and increasing the number of students (2,800 p.a.) – cooperation with the Department Education – new and better qualified staff – Minor changes: New staff, many interns and volunteers, upgrade of our cooperation with the European Union members group, networking and increasing the number of media partners.
VN: What are the programs or projects you initiated with regards to arts and culture?
RK: Thanks to a separate budget for the support of artistic professions: documentary filmmakers’ training, composers’ and conductors’ training, science film festival for youth and children (17,000 viewers in 2010) we gave impulses for new formats of cultural work. A special feature was an still is the Rap in Tondo Project, which began as a French-German-Filipino initiative and continues with the new partner Japan Foundation.
VN: In what way, did you or your office collaborate with the Philippine government and other institutions?
RK: Memorandum of Understanding with the Secretary of Education signed last 10 March on the improvement of the quality of the teachers of German language in high schools.
VN: During the time of Dr. Uwe Schmelter, he was regarded as a god, especially by Filipino filmmakers. Do you still offer similar grants or scholarships?
RK: We offer training by experts from Germany, NCCA joins us with grants, St. Benilde School of Design and Arts grants us the studio space – times and formats changed since Dr. Schmelter’s time, and networking and partnerships are the new forms of cooperation with filmmakers. Secondly: Along with Nick Deocampo (a regular visitor to Dr. Schmelter’s film programs) we are supporting is idea of teaching films in schools all over the country with the help of DepEd and SM Malls (cinemas). First target: Founding of a Filipino children film festival late November in partnership with Kinderfilmfestival Chemnitz / Germany. Again: Formats and forms changed.