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“Build bridges between cultures”

Ramshid Rashidpour from Iran talks about contrasting impressions of Germany and about her project to encourage cross-cultural dialogue.

Ramshid Rashidpour
Ramshid Rashidpour © Ramshid Rashidpour

Ramshid Rashidpour grew up in an Iranian family of artists. Ever since she was born, she has been inspired by music, painting, design and theatre. After studying Environmental Sciences she completed a CCP internship at the Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU) in Berlin in 2015. She has always been fascinated by the idea of interlacing education, art, culture and environmental issues. This results in the performance “Theatre of the Oppressed”, her contribution to the ifa CrossCulture Tour.

Ms. Rashidpour, you took part in the CrossCulture programme. Please tell us about your most important experience during your internship at the NABU in Berlin.
First, I learned a lot about nature and biodiversity conservation in a practical way. In addition, every member of NABU had clearly defined tasks with a joint goal.

To what extent has this exchange influenced your cultural work in your home country?
It helped me to take a more direct and precise approach. I learned a lot from German cultural work and morale.

And how do you think your presence has inspired people in your host organization?
It helped to show the reality of my culture, which is different from its representation in the media. In Germany very little is known about Iranian culture; not even the fact that I speak Persian, not Arabic. My presence helped shape a more realistic image of Iran.

When you think back to your first visit to Germany, what did you find surprising?
The first thing that impressed me was the well-structured society, especially urban planning and facilities for disabled citizens. Then I noticed individual distances between people, as each person seemed to live in a separate bubble, but also cooperative and solution-oriented behaviour.

“Theatre of the Oppressed” is your contribution to ifa’s CrossCulture Tour. What did you set out to do?
“Theatre of the Oppressed” integrates people regardless of their social class, race, gender and any other stereotype. It provides an opportunity for the audience to share thoughts and points of view. It helps to build bridges between cultures instead of walls. My intention is to discover and also emphasize our similarities as human beings instead of our differences.

Interview: Tanja Zech