“Whom can we trust?” -  Democratic Challenges in European and Arab Societies

Seminar for students and youth leaders from Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Egypt, Tunisia and Jordan

Bad Bevensen and Berlin 

September 26th – October 06th, 2019

The Idea

Whom can we trust when we work for strengthening democracy? Who is with us and who is against us? How do we counter political and religious extremism? How can we strengthen civil society? Young activists of civil society (from Germany, Poland and Lithuania, from Egypt, Tunisia and Jordan) will share their experiences and find answers to those questions.

We will do so in four steps:

  1. Democratic changes: Which paths to democracy did we take in each country? Participants will give accounts and updates on political development and personal involvement. 
  2. Call for changes: Where are the challenges that call for change? How can we counter religious and political extremism? We will use simulation games and firsthand reports to identify the issues & find solutions. Activists will share their concepts & practical methods.
  3. Diversity and dialogue: How do we handle diversity in our societies? What do we need to establish true and serious dialogue? We will visit NGOs, share best practice and use approaches on diversity as an indicator on democracy.
  4. Coherence and cooperation: How can we establish structures that keep society together and strengthen democracy? This is what the project aims at: It will inspire participants to make use of their skills, to build up capacities, take over responsibility and to continue their engagement in civil society.

Topics of the seminar program

Part I: Program in Bad Bevensen

  • The different concepts of reality: how to make democracy work
  • The stony paths to democracy: chances and choices in European and Arab societies
  • Diversity and district development: strenghtening civil society (with visits to projects in Hamburg)
  • The challenge of choice and freedom: Diversity and dialogue in democracy education
  • The challenge of extremism and the call for change
  • Whom can we trust? Overcoming fears and trust-building measures

Part II: Program in Berlin

  • Advocacy work and civic empowerment
  • Coherence and cooperation in democratic societies: pep talk and inspiration pool with conclusions from experiences
  • What keeps society together? Project ideas on coherence and cooperation in youth work

Project Design & Technical Details

  • costs: 50,00 €  for participants from Poland including full board in Bad Bevensen & half board in Berlin; program costs, trip to Berlin & excursions
  • travel expense refund: up to a maximum of € 275.- related to lump sums of Erasmus+ program
  • Target group: students & youth leaders from Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Egypt, Tunisia & Jordan
  • Arrival and departure: You arrive to Bad Bevensen and depart from Berlin
  • Date of the seminar: September 26th – October 06th, 2019
  • Seminar language: English
  • Accommodation: double rooms in Bad Bevensen, triple rooms in Berlin
  • Participation certificates: will be provided in English with details on program and sponsors

Cooperation partners

  • Germany: Gustav Stresemann Institute, Bad Bevensen is an independent center for democracy and tolerance education. Dialogue and diversity are major tasks of its training programs. GSI cooperates with local, national and international networks.
  • Poland: Krzyżowa Foundation for Mutual Understanding in Europe is a place of international youth encounter and dialogue. Its projects and seminars include democracy education, anti-discrimination & diversity trainings. Krzyżowa Foundation understands its activities as a contribution to strengthening a peaceful and democratic European society.
  • Lithuania: Vilnius University Students´  Representation (VUSA) has a general focus on students´activities & representation. This includes international exchange programs with EU member states, Baltic States, and Scandinavia.
  • Egypt: St. Mena Forum for Peace and Development is a center of the Coptic Church located in the dioceses of Beni Suef. It engages in peace building programs, leadership training for youth workers and friendship programs designed for confidence building measures.
  • Jordan: Debate Foundation, Amman, works on spreading the culture of dialogue and debate in the community, enhancing the acceptance of other’s opinions, and generalizing positive examples. We work with discussion sessions, interactive meetings, simulation, and social media.
  • Tunisia: The Club Culturel Ali Belhouane Tunis is a non-government organization running cultural projects with young people. It supports them in widening their horizon, engaging in intercultural dialogue and strengthening civil society. Its international projects are run with partner organizations in Europe and Northern Africa.

 Whom can we trust - Flyer, Application Form.pdf



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