Culture to help young people grow

By Camille FratiGilles Kayser Switch to French for original article

Three years after the death of its initiator Pierre Brahms, the Fondation Sommer is starting a new chapter in its history, sticking to its unwavering mission: to strengthen the personal development of children and young people through art and culture.

The Sommer Foundation is the last legacy left by Pierre Brahms. The former shopkeeper, a figure of modernist Luxembourg and open to the world at the end of the 20th century, founded it in 2016, when he was already in his eighties, and named it after his beloved mother's maiden name. A foundation not to manage his heritage but to put it in the service of a cause he has long been passionate about: the development of young people through culture. "The vision [of Pierre Brahms] was that a society could only function openly, in dialogue, respect and harmony, if its children and young people, as individuals in their own right, had confidence in themselves, had their own experiences, expressed themselves in order to develop their own personalities and position themselves in relation to the collective", the foundation's administrators recall in the 2021 activity report. "Pierre Brahms strongly believed that only culture could initiate such a change in the individual."

A conviction born of his own history, that of a family of shopkeepers forced into exile by Nazi barbarism and more directly by the denunciation of young Pierre's teacher. Pierre grew up in Brazil before returning to Luxembourg once the war was over. But he remained aware of the fragility of childhood in the face of life's hazards. "He had this idea that access to education was really a lever to fight inequalities, so that young people could have a better life", explains Sandrine Guivarch, director of the Sommer Foundation. "Above all, he thought that education in the strict sense and access to culture allowed young people to develop, to discover themselves, to gain self-confidence and to express themselves. That's why he really wanted to support projects that empowered young people through arts and culture.

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