MOPA Travels to Rwanda

Greetings from Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. As the new Global Engagement Manager of MOPA, I’ll be reporting to you from here about the new programs we’re developing as part of MOPA’s global engagement initiative.

But first, what is global engagement? Photography is now part of our everyday lives, worldwide. As such, it has a power role to play in the ways we understand the world, express ourselves, and decide where and when to act on behalf of others. Accordingly, the global engagement initiative intersects participatory photography programs with global concerns in three realms: Social Justice and Human Rights, International Development, and Cross Cultural Understanding. MOPA’s global engagement initiative explores these concerns both in San Diego and abroad with comprehensive photography and film programming.

Second... Rwanda? Simply the name of this country elicits powerful emotions like few others in our world. The 1994 genocide, in which 800,000-1,000,000 people were killed in just 100 days, is indisputably one of the most tragic disasters that recent decades have ever seen. Since then, however, the people of Rwanda have been working hard toward a stunning revival. Economic, social, and gender development have made remarkable strides, and Kigali, the capital city, is the crown jewel of Rwanda’s accomplishments. Without question, it is one of the most orderly, clean, and safe cities I have ever stepped foot in.

Rwanda still has a very long road ahead, but optimism is felt in most aspects of life. The organizations that I have started to partner with here are enthusiastic to incorporate photography programs into their work. We’ll developing collaborations with a spectrum of organizations, including orphanages and HIV/AIDS clinics.

I look forward to sharing more with you about the Global Engagement Initiative. As you see the work that is produced, I think you’ll agree too that photography is more important than ever.

In the meantime, enjoy a few photos from Kigali!