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Max Mueller Bhavan gets new identity

Photo: V. Ganesan

Promoting Exchange: Dr. Gabriele M. Landwehr, director, Goethe Institut. (below) A German class in progress at the institute’s new premises.

Max Mueller Bhavan, a landmark at Khader Nawaz Khan Road for the past 19 years, has now moved to a new swanky building on Rutland Gate Road. The institute that will from now on be largely known as Goethe Institut is a cultural institute that promotes knowledge of German language and fosters international cooperation. Dr. Gabriele M. Landwehr, director of the institute, recently spoke to Education Plus about the institute’s services, the new identit y and cultural exchange between India and Germany and future plans.

“Except in India, our institutes are internationally known as Goethe Institut. And, in order to keep with the international standards and recognition, globally, Max Mueller will be predominantly known as Goethe Institut in India also,” Dr. Landwehr said.

New location

The new 13,000 sqft. premises has state-of-the-art facilities and is built according to European safety standards. It houses a library and information centre, language department, education department and culture department. This new landmark also has an auditorium and an art gallery. “By August end, our auditorium will be ready and it will be a multi-purpose space with many possibilities. It can be used for cultural performances, theatre, films and documentaries,” said Dr. Landwehr. A space has been especially earmarked at the institute for holding art exhibitions periodically. The institute plans to launch online tutoring service in July this year. Classrooms will also be provided with computer to facilitate teaching.


Information centre

“Our information centre has more space now and can accommodate more books. It will function as a learning centre for our students.” In future, the institute plans to revive its system of lending of books and CDs to members. “Once our German resource centre gets fully functional, we plan to conduct seminars and discussions for translators, art curators, media persons, theatre and music professionals,” Dr. Landwehr said. An exhibition titled ‘Architecture and Religion’, is scheduled to be held in June. “We also work closely with schools in order to popularise children’s films.”

‘The power of language’ conducted by the Goethe Institut Chennai will be shown at the Akademie der Kunste in Berlin on June 16. The 10 short films selected will give a colourful picture of the diverse languages of India and at the same time, of the diversity of language itself. ‘Understanding India, understanding Indians’ will be the title for this programme.

The Goethe Institut also closely works with many universities and schools by offering consultation and support. They offer services in German language learning and also provide information on higher education in Germany. There are many exchange programmes between India and Germany. “Music, dance, culture, film and art are the areas where we would like to cooperate,” she said.

Learning German

Apart from teaching German to students and professionals, the institute plans to offer a short-term course to teach soft skills and tips on interacting with German business partners.

“Our German classes are over-booked and the demand is increasing. Knowledge of German is useful for students aspiring to pursue higher studies in German universities and research centres and also, there are tremendous job opportunities in German companies in India.”

Goethe Institut is located at No. 4 (old no. 14), 5th Street, Rutland Gate, Nungambakkam, Chennai- 600006. Phone: 044- 2833 2343 / 28331314.

German Academic Exchange Services (DAAD Information Centre) also functions from the new premises.

CHITRA DEEPA A.

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