IGA: Committed to Culture

IGA facade

IGA provides an array of educational development programs

“We have a commitment to culture in Guatemala and want to make it accessible to all,” said Adriana Recinos Matheu, cultural director of IGA (Instituto Guatemalteco Americano). “We need to educate our audience and for that we have to start with the kids.”

Since 1945, IGA has been providing individuals of all ages, from all corners of the globe, with the largest array of educational development programs in Guatemala.
From teaching courses for international students, to middle and high school for local students, the center has seen thousands upon thousands of pupils graduate from its building in Guatemala City and branches throughout the country. This year the school is even working with Gallaudet University from the U.S. to implement a new course to teach English to deaf pupils.

However, there is more to IGA than providing its students with a strong bilingual syllabus; it’s also working on enriching its curriculum with an increased range of cultural programs too.

“We need to start viewing culture as a serious part of education. It’s important to be creative; kids are hungry for different things, and we want to give them a platform on which to discover themselves,” said Recinos Matheu.

In September IGA held a photography program, which featured award-winning Guatemalan photographer Andrés Asturias working with students to produce an exhibition within Foto >30.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen teenagers so enthused. They were desperate to stay behind on a Friday to work on their displays,” laughed Recinos Matheu.
“When students participate in these kinds of activities their self-esteem goes up and consequently they become better citizens,” which is essentially what IGA is working toward.


In the past, IGA’s theater has shone a light upon home-grown talent and January’s inauguration of the newly refurbished auditorium promises to showcase even more star performances.

“Many of the country’s artists have a piece of themselves in this theater—it’s almost a second home to them. We don’t have many theaters in Guatemala so we want to bring quality shows to this one,” stated Recinos Matheu.

As well as in-house photography exhibitions, theater productions and art displays, IGA is dedicated to opening up a selection of events to the public.

Plans are in progress for a live transmission of the MET Opera in HD, the free three-week-long International Jazz Festival returns to the central park in zone 1 of the capital next year, and the theater will open with a Dick Smith play in the New Year.

IGA, which started off with around 300 pupils and now boasts 1,300, prides itself on offering its students and the general public “the best of both cultures.” It wants to make a positive change to the lives of Guatemalans and allow them to develop a better standard of living – through a combination of academic and cultural programs.


Joselyn Aguilar: “I love English, it’s my favorite subject and this school opens doors. I want to study abroad, perhaps medicine at Cambridge University.”

Oscar Garanza: “We have the chance to go into great jobs from here. One day I’d like to be a teacher and work in public schools in Guatemala.”

Helen Ávila: “For me, the main reason to come here was for the English. My sister also studies here, and I heard how her English was improving. The classes are dynamic, and I love the U.S. culture. I want to be an accountant and work at the Bank of Guatemala.”

Visit their website at: www.iga.edu    The remodeled IGA auditorium by Arq. Adolfo Lau (courtesy of IGA)


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