“Can you imagine developing an EU simulation game for primary school kids?” Our initial reaction – thinking to ourselves: no, we can’t. Luckily, we reconsidered, because we found that yes, it actually works very well! The results are part of … Continue
What does the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) actually do? What is a residence autorisation? Are refugees allowed to work? Why do some use the term ‚refugees’ and others ‚asylum seekers’? Not all these questions have straight answers. … Continue
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
These days, there is an app for everything – which is why, in the summer of 2015, we decided to plunge head-on into the world of app development: we created our own app for seminars and conferences. For some time, we had been searching for ways to provide participants of our events with new innovative ways to exchange opinions and positions. Why not use digital technology to gather moods, comments and evaluations online, in a secure space, far away from Facebook and Twitter.
As was to be expected, the first steps were full of bugs and “404 not found” moments, but by now the ConferenceApp is functioning smoothly. Since its first appearance at the conference “The Road to Paris” in the autumn of 2015 it has grown with every event, be it during the bpb youth conference “No Discussion” or the “European Youth Event 2016” in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Thanks to its modular software, the existing features appear in combinations tailor-made to each event, and an event interface is created. New features can be added if needed. Of course, the users do not notice any of this is going on. They simply register by accessing the ConferenceApp website via their Smartphone or tablet. September will see the app in action again: just over 120 participants at the planpolitik-organised Federal Conference of European Schools will use the app to exchange their views on the present and the future of European Schools in German Federal states.
In cooperation with the Center for Civil Society Studies at Bilgi University Istanbul and the Deutsch-Türkische Jugendbrücke we are inviting 24 youngsters from Turkey and Germany to take part in the workshop „Global Playgrounds – Game Design on Migration and Integration“. Supported by the Federal Foreign Office, the workshop is to see the development and testing of interactive materials on the topic of flight and integration. It takes place in Brandenburg and Berlin from the 24th to the 30th of October 2016. Application deadline is on the 15th of September. Go here for further details (in German) // Gençlik Köprüsü Türkiye-Almanya, planpolitik ve Istanbul Bilgi Üniversitesi Sivil Toplum Çalışmaları Merkezi ile beraber Türkiye ve Almanya’dan 24 genci “Global Playgrounds – Game Design on Migration and İntegration” isimli atöyle çalışmasına davet ediyor. Atölye çalışması 24 -30 Ekim 2016 tarihleri arasında Brandenburg ve Berlin’de gerçekleşecek. Son başvurma tarihi 9 Eylül 2016. Ayrıntıları çağrıda bulabilirsiniz!
Following an interlude at the European Department at Berlin’s Senate Chancellery, our old friend and colleague Alex Kuschel is returning to planpolitik. We have known Alex since 2011. As of now, he did join the teams “Democracy and Society” as well as “Europe”, both rather busy areas. What’s more, Christopher Haarbeck is taking six months of paternity leave from November and Alex will replace him. Alex studied European Studies in Maastricht and Frankfurt (Oder) – where else! – and won us over by being both easy-going and fiercely competent. Aside from his European expertise, we continue to be impressed by his formidable cooking skills. Welcome back!
This year’s UN climate conference takes place in Marrakesh in November. Unsurprisingly, all of Morocco currently seems to be talking about climate change and its effects. For example the Moroccan office of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation which organised a five-day conference, entitled Confronting the Challenges of Climate Change, for young leaders from the MENA region. We were responsible for parts of the programme: apart from playing our tried and tested climate simulation game to simulate the upcoming UN conference, we ran an ideas workshop where the participants developed concrete ideas for projects that could help in the fight against climate change.
Communication posed a special challenge during this event. The participants came from nine different countries within the region – from Morocco to Jordan. This meant that half of them preferred to use English as a second language, while the other half spoke French. Everybody among the participants spoke Arabic, but sadly, none of us at planpolitik do! Luckily, there were interpreters continuously translating between the three different languages, creating an atmosphere almost like that of a real climate conference! All in all, it was a very successful event. We’d love to come back. Inshallah!
Our primary school project PEP (see previous newsletters) has reached its conclusion. At last we have seen the results of the study that accompanied our 14 simulation game pilots. This is not the time and place to confuse you with terminology such as Likert scales, latently modelled constructs and effect sizes. Suffice to say that the kids had fun, rated the learning effect highly and demonstrably gained knowledge about the EU and politics in general.
Prof. Monika Oberle and her team at the Chair of Political Science/Didactics of Politics at the University of Göttingen are better at explaining the results in scientific detail. You can also contact them to download the game materials (in German) or to order the physical game boxes (in German) – while stocks last. You can contact us if you would like to offer further training for teachers or a simulation game for primary school kids. We are now definitely convinced that EU simulation games for primary school pupils are great!
How are decisions made within the EU? Which interests must be considered, and which subsequent conclusions can be drawn for working on a federal state level? At the end of August, a group of highly committed managers from Thuringian state administration spent three days assessing these questions in order to get a better understanding of Europe and to be able to represent their federal state’s Europe-related interest with more focus.
After taking in some theory, the participants were plunged head first into the political process. Over the course of two simulation games, they became acquainted with the inner workings of the relationship between decision makers and lobbyists at EU level. It was the fifth time planpolitik ran this Seminar in idyllic Tambach-Dietharz, and this time the future of Europe was among the key topics: what is Brexit going to look like, and what will the consequences be for Europe, Germany and Thuringia? After three busy days, possibly the most important insight was that only those who really get their teeth into the topic of the EU understand who is responsible for which decisions – even if it is sometimes hard to grasp. But understanding this is crucial if you want to make yourself heard and influence decisions. The participants came a lot closer to reaching that goal.
For the second time, we were invited by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation Poland and Warsztat Innowacji Społecznych to be part of the event „Architects of the Future“, which is not, as the name may suggest, and event for future architects, but a programme for young professionals from Central and Eastern Europe who want to see the region develop in the spirit of cooperation and solidarity. The key topic addressed in this event was the understanding and handling of conflicts.
Our contribution was a fictional version of the so-called crisis game, a game that 20 years ago planted the seed of all planpolitik activities in us. In the game, the fictional state of Rosania is governed by a corrupt cadre party. Two ethnic minorities are striving for more autonomy, one of them even demanding its own state. Radical groups are prepared to use violence to reach their objectives. It’s no easy task finding peaceful and deescalating forms of conflict management in this context.
Sadly, over the past few years, we have observed these types of phenomena in Europe once again. All the more important it is to ensure that young people learn about good ways of dealing with such developments.
“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…
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