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.