As an immigration country, what will Germany look like ten years from now? Which paths will refugees and migrants have taken? In which ways will society, politics and the economy differ from now? Over the course of four scenario workshops … Continue
When 117 young people from 35 countries come to Germany for a five month internship in the German Parliament they bring a mix of expectations, hopes, opinions, cultures and wit with them. This in turn created an exciting challenge for … Continue
“Bustling” in the best sense of the word is how to best describe the atmosphere during the conference “No discussion – democracy and political extremism”. 165 dedicated young people had come to Nuremberg for three days to learn more about … Continue
“If there are more questions at the end of a workshop than at the beginning, it was a success!” If that statement is anything to go by, the opening event of the modular format “EU simulation game/workshop on flight and asylum” for young people of 15 and above was a resounding success. The workshop, which we had developed in cooperation with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, inspired participants to keep digging deeper and thereby becoming more and more involved with the topic.
This is also, of course, owed to the nature of the topic of flight, asylum and integration: Where to begin, where to end? These were questions we asked at the beginning of the development stage. Our solution was to create seven modules that can be combined in a number of different ways. They range from insights into actual flight situations to short simulation games and discussion panels with refugees. During its premiere, the modular system proved just the right approach. At the Berlin HQ of Friedrich Ebert Foundation, 100 school kids spent two day just before the summer break experiencing all kinds of things, but not boredom.
As from the beginning of the coming school year, interested teachers in Berlin can book the modular education package at Friedrich Ebert Foundation (Contact Yvonne Lehmann). Bearing the title “On the run – why, where from, now what?“ the modules are also available from planpolitik. Do not hesitate to ask!
Refugees living in emergency shelters should be able to move on to more appropriate accommodation as soon as possible. But what if, like in the terminal building of Berlin’s former airport at Tempelhof, they have been living there for nine months – without any prospect of moving any time soon? In such situations, it is vital to establish long-term structures that connect refugees with their local environment, e.g. for leisure, work or advice. On commission from the Tempelhof site’s operator Tamaja GmbH the consultancy agancy trialog has been developing such structures since the beginning of this year. One result of our continuous exchange with the agency was the development of a concept and a two-day interactive workshop for shelter workers, addressing the integration of the structures into the work processes and optimisation of communication between the different departments. The climax was marked by the simulation game “Honour or Anger – volunteers in refugee aid”, a lively and in parts slightly exaggerated simulation of working with refugees and people who’ve volunteered to help. It became clear that this line of work places very special demands on the shelter’s social teams and those who coordinate volunteers. But we are confident that the networking strategy developed by trialog will help everyday procedures in the shelter and benefit the refugees.
Brussels, June 2015 – it seems like an eternity since master students from the Centre international de formation européenne (CIFE) simulated Grexit negotiations in a planpolitik game that at the time was up to date on most recent events. The Greek exit was averted both in the game and in reality. As we all know, this cannot be said about Brexit. Accordingly, the concluding Brussels summit in this year’s blended simulation game “The future of the European Union”, taking place after a four-week online phase, was completely defined by the decision that just one day earlier had shaken Europe and the rest of the world.
At the beginning, the two students whose roles were representing the United Kingdom were given the opportunity to say a few parting words, followed by a rather cold request to leave the conference room. Since, with us, it’s still all just a game, the two then proceeded to take over the press work, producing some rather fiery interviews. Another unusual point in the schedule was a two-hour interruption to the game. Running simultaneously to the simulation game was the CIFE alumni meeting, during which three British politicians, Paul Adamson, Sir Graham Watson and Mark Watts were scheduled to discuss Brexit. And discuss they did, in a very British style: polite, eloquent and full of sarcastic wit, they made daring predictions for the future, including visions of the end of the United Kingdom and an impending revolution. Given this outlook we are curious as to whose exit we shall be discussing in June 2017…
Peace in the fictional state of Fontania is under threat from two different terrorist organisations. But the regime itself is doing its best to destabilise the situation, the neighbouring states are not always playing a positive role, either, and a fictional version of the EU is trying to reach a common position. The participants taking on the roles were part of the Bertelsmann Foundation’s Young Leaders for Europe programme, for which the game was developed.
As is often the case with our fictional simulation games, the scenario is based on real conflicts. The situation in Syria and Iraq were the starting point, and the Kurdish conflict as well as the threat posed by extreme terrorist organisations such as IS all came into the mix. Unsurprisingly, the participants discovered many parallels to the real world of today. The EU’s role is also shown in a critical way. On the international stage, it can only play an effective role if it has a unified voice. The negotiations revealed just how difficult it is to achieve such a common stance, given widely differing foreign policy interests and domestic constraints. Furthermore, the participation of international super powers did not exactly prove conducive to a more target-oriented approach during talks about peace in Fontania. On the contrary: as the former “Fontanian President” remarked during evaluation, a wide variety of issues had been discussed, none of which had primarily been concerned with the actual situation in “his” country. A realistic if rather bleak assessment.
Georgia and Armenia – finally, once more a part of the world we had never been to before. Our drive from Tbilisi to Yerewan took us through the Southern Caucasus all the way to the foothills of Mount Ararat and will surely go down in memory as the most exciting part of the trip – including breathtaking landscapes and the first border crossing on foot in the history of planpolitik. Both countries and both cities are well worth a visit.
Add to that two especially successful events with multipliers who were partners of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Georgia and Armenia. The participants in Tbilisi were younger and less experienced but very interested in interactive methods. Meanwhile, in Yerewan, we worked with much more experienced and initially more skeptical participants – 23 women and 2 men. But it did not take long to convince them as well.
Over a period of six days we introduced more or less our entire catalogue of interactive methods and tested it with the participants. Apart from receiving very positive feedback on structure, content and facilitation, we have been particularly happy to learn that some of the participants went on to use our methods in their own events already. And rather successfully so, we hear. We guess one could call it sustainable training! If it were up to us, we’d be heading to the Caucasus again soon.
No complex of topics is currently dominating German political and social discourse more than flight and asylum, integration and participation, racism and right-wing populism. Over the past few months, our interactive formats on these topics have been in great demand. They include simulation games on European asylum policy (recently played online in German and Belgian schools), interactive public conferences on issues such as the integration of refugees, training courses for people working in refugee centres, scenario workshops for experts on the future of immigration in Germany, a flight simulation (not in the aeronautic sense…) including deals with traffickers, border controls at the EU’s external border and meeting decision makers from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.
Starting in June, we will have a dedicated „Flight and Integration“ sector. Sandra Holtermann and Christopher Haarbeck will be in charge of running its day-to-day business, advising interested partners and developing strategies.
When Bayer HealthCare commissioned us to develop a simulation game on haemophilia last autumn, we found ourselves in virgin territory. The game depicts how competing ideas for products in the development of medication are evaluated and why certain products prevail over others. Closely working with the Bayer team over several rounds of adjustments paid off: by now, „How to Develop Novel Therapies ‐ New Ways for Hemophilia“ has been played in Boston, Moscow, Buenos Aires and Bogota, thereby becoming our most international simulation game! At the time of writing, the game materials are being translated into Spanish to allow for further use in Latin America.
The game’s success has, of course, made us very happy, even more so since Bayer Healthcare commissioned a new simulation in early May. This time, we are talking about cancer medication. As before, four products are competing against each other. It will be the participants’ task to evaluate the pros and cons of each idea and then spend their money accordingly. In the second half of this year, the game will receive its premiere at the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg.
Europe is where people from different countries meet. Of course, different experiential backgrounds and expectations can lead to intercultural conflict. An EU-funded project on German-Czech youth movements, facilitated by Chemnitz-based organisation “Most – Die Brücke e.V.“, addresses possible ways of approaching such conflicts. We take an advisory role in this project: in cooperation with the Chemnitz Media Institute, we are helping develop a simulation. We have provided the idea, the concept and a scenario while the Media Institute is in charge of developing the game.
The result is our first game on intercultural conflict! At a first glance it appears to be a simulation game on the development of an advertising campaign for a new homework app. However, digging a little deeper, the core of the game addresses intercultural conflicts between the employees of two companies whose approaches to work and communication differ widely while having to work together. The key issue is the way in which the participants deal with conflicts and what this teaches them about tolerance and respect towards people with a different view. The target group are 11-to-14-year-olds from Saxony and the Czech Republic – it is our modest contribution to a more peaceful coexistence across borders.
Following three very successful test runs in Chemnitz, the game is now being completed. During two training sessions, trainers will learn how to facilitate the game themselves.
At the end of June, the department for political science and didactics of politics at the University of Göttingen will host the conference „Teaching EU politics at primary school?! (Approaches and methods tested)” as part of the Jean Monnet project „Simulation Games for an action-oriented conveyance of the EU at primary school level“. At the conference, our colleagues Annegret Schneider, Helen Böhmler, Marlen Richter und Alexandra Ochs will introduce our PEP simulation game for conveying the EU at primary school level. Further presentations include the evaluation of the simulation games, results of several studies and general discussions on approaching political education at primary level. You are cordially invited to take part in the conference.
For the first time in its young history, our simulation game platform saw pupils from two European countries play together online. Initiated and financed by the European Information Centre in Lower Saxony, a total of 35 pupils aged 16 to 18 from Josephinum high school in Hildesheim and the German School Brussels engaged in negotiations about asylum policy. The premiere was a success: the kids not only engaged intensely with the game process, making deals and playfully learning about European lawmaking, they also had a lot of border-transcending fun. Little wonder that teachers and participants have already been enquiring a new round of the game. Should this take place, we will tweak the international coordination mechanisms a little to ensure that participants on all levels are up to date on all relevant information at all times.
If you wish to be informed about our activities on a regular basis, feel free to subscribe to our newsletter.