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
Quiz question: What are Germany’s four national minorities? Hardly anyone knows the answer without looking it up, but the fact that officially recognised minorities exist at all (Sinti and Roma, Danes, Frisians and Sorbs) came as a surprise to scholarship … Continue
Some events are bigger than others – a suitable tagline for the introductory seminar on “Pluralism in Germany” for 117 international Parliamentary scholars of the German Parliament. For ten days, a seven-strong planpolitik team decamped to the almost rural Berlin suburb of Schmöckwitz to pull out all the stops with their range of methodological skills. Having split the scholarship holders into two groups, we spent five days with each group, going through different formats, intercultural training, simulation games, workshops and an excursion to central Berlin. One of the highlights: a conversation with a rabbi and an imam about the life of religious minorities in Germany and antisemitism. The participants discussed, negotiated, laughed, worked creatively and learnt a lot. In between sessions, there was table tennis, swimming in the ice cold Zeuthen lake, a lot of traditional German food and the odd cool draft beer. For us and all participants, the two “pluralism nights” marked the main highlight, celebrating what all those present had in common: openness, curiosity, creativity. And the joy in a diversity of ideas and ways of living, making life as a whole colourful, full of variation and worth living.
“How to instil enthusiasm for politics in ninth graders?” North Rhine-Westphalia’s Centre for Political Education asked us, and we answered by creating a simulation game about EU asylum policies aimed specifically at this target group. It was important to create materials that can be used in all types of school.
This meant avoiding difficult terminologies and keeping role profiles short and appealing. Depending on the level of literacy, a position’s summary or longer explanatory passages can be used as a source of information. As the game progresses, so does the level of difficulty: For the initial question of how to distribute refugees within the EU, one out of three options has to be chosen. Later on, when discussing the subsequent immigration of family members, the pupils have to haggle over exact wordings.
Our two test games at the integrated comprehensive Gesamtschule Gelsenkirchen-Buer were among our highlights in the month of March. Not only did the materials and the game concept pass the test. There were even some participants at the end of the game who could “actually imagine going into politics”.
On the 23rd of April we will conclude this project with a train-of-trainers workshop. From then on, the Centre for Political Education team will be facilitating the game in schools all over North Rhine-Westphalia.
Many of our events and simulation games explain how European institutions, law-making and politics work. But in times of multiple crises threatening the EU, one question is becoming increasingly important: what keeps Europe together? Why and under which auspices should the EU states cooperate? In partnership with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, we created a workshop for interested citizens, addressing these questions. At the same time, we are working on further ideas for projects and event formats – we look forward to your input and ideas!
We proudly present: Our first animated film to launch our new website www.eye-ideaslab.eu. This micro-blogging website precedes 10 ideas lab workshop that will take place during the European Youth Event (EYE) in Strasbourg this coming May. Until mid-May all 7,500 EYE participants are invited to share their thoughts on what is currently going wrong in Europe. The most urgent topics and problems will then be discussed by young Europeans in the European Parliament during the actual event in Strasbourg – and we hope that they will come up with innovative, unexpected ideas and solutions for a better Europe. Because this is not the end of the story: Those solutions with the best feedback from the participants will be presented to the MEPs this summer. So that for once big time politics will actually listen to the ideas the young generation has to offer!
Causes of flight. Experiences of displacement. European asylum policy. European values. Reception and integration of refugees. “Willkommenskultur” (welcome culture). Encouraging civil society engagement. To convey such content matter, we have been commissioned by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation to develop a modular project for Berlin-based schools for events lasting one to two days. We are thus working on developing a way of addressing the subject in a methodically varied and engaging fashion, featuring a flight simulation (and we’re not talking aviation here…), a fictional, action-based simulation game, the use of virtual reality glasses, ideas labs, talks with refugees and coordinators of voluntary work and the opportunity to display one’s own knowledge on migration and integration in quiz sequences.
For the facilitation of the project, young Ebert Foundation trainers will be trained by us over the coming weeks. The modules are then ready to be booked for Berlin-based pupils aged 15 or above. Teachers can combine whichever modules fit their current curriculum.
The Jean Monnet project “Simulation games for the action-oriented conveyance of the EU at primary school level” is entering the critical stage! Which, for us, means going to Mannheim, Bremen, Göttingen, Karlsruhe etc. We happily embark on these journeys in order to allow primary school kids to experience simulation games. Our efforts are instantly rewarded! The kids’ enthusiasm knows no boundaries, and time and again, some of them want to stay at school longer to carry on playing.
Increasingly, kids from welcoming classes for refugees take part in the games – and it’s working very well. With a playful approach and group work, the simulation games are perfectly suited to allowing pupils of different levels of proficiency learn and work together.
All test games are supervised and evaluated by the project team under Prof. Oberle at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen. Before all participating team members gather for a concluding conference in Göttingen at the end of June, there will be two teacher training courses.
Mid-April saw the a small round of experts attending the beginning of the event series “Scenarios of an immigration society”, commissioned by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Berlin. The first of four workshops looked at what life in both rural and urban areas will look like in ten years time. Will there be a so-called “second flight” into urban regions by admitted refugees? Which incentives can be created to affect a balanced distribution of refugees over both rural and urban areas? What would be the most desirable scenario? The participants were asked to think of possible non-contradictory paths into the future and develop options for action as well as policy recommendations. The results are published as journalistic texts, written by the participants.
For the fourth time, planpolitik travelled to Junge Islam Konferenz (JIK) with a simulation game. After Berlin and Hamburg, it was the city of Kiel’s turn this time, in whose town hall JIK Schleswig-Holstein took place. In a traditional Hanseatic atmosphere 29 conference participants, among them five Syrian refugees, played our simulation game on the topic of minority rights. It addresses fundamental issues of living together in a pluralist society. The day culminated in a conversation with Schleswig-Holstein’s Prime Minister, Thorsten Albig, who discussed the role of Islam in Germany with the participants.
“Bustling” is a good word to describe the atmosphere at the youth conference “ No Discussion – Democracy and Political Extremism”. At the end of January, 165 young people from all over Germany gathered in Nurnberg at the invitation of the Federal Agency for Political Education. Their aim was to spend three days learning more about forms of political extremism, yet not in a classic conference format but through an invigorating programme that was designed to spark exchange. Our job was to moderate the overall event and to develop a concept for the opening of the conference. Using three mini role plays, possible ways to react to apparent radicalisation were explored. Following directly on from the role plays the participants used the Conference App – our latest software development – to state how they would have acted in the situation that had been described. The result: the majority does not shy away from discussion and always wants to look for ways to talk when suspicion arises.
The following day was reserved for presentations, workshops and a drama game. The evening was all about the Democracy Slam – six slammers impressed the audiences with their language skills. Sunday morning saw participants get active themselves – and with this inspiration and motivation, everyone travelled back to their respective corners of the country.
Over the past few months we’ve been lucky enough to develop numerous simulation games on commission from businesses, institutions or as part of a project. This development marathon began in the autumn, when we created the simulation game “Haemophilia” for Bayer Healthcare. The game has since been used in training courses worldwide. Currently, we are working on another five games, four of which are targeting pupils of around 15 or above: As part of the ImTeaM4EU project, we are writing a simulation game about a fictional, transnational European region where representatives of two countries are negotiating the expansion of the energy network. On commission from North-Rhine-Westphalia’s Agency for Political Education we are working on a game on the topic of “Asylum Policy in the European Union” which multipliers will be facilitating at schools in that region. The European Academy Berlin, on the other hand, has asked us to develop simulation games on the EU as an international actor and on the European single market for their project “Europe at School”. Another European topic, but a totally different target group will be playing the newly developed version of the game “Lobbying in Brussels”: this game was developed for the International Labour Organisation (ILO). We will facilitate the game ourselves in Turin in April.
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