Gathering materials, cleverly distributing roles, working out schedules, coordinating small groups, solving conflicts and always staying on top of things – successfully facilitating simulation games requires some training. As an addition to our range of training courses, we now run … Continue
The terrorist threat, Brexit, closing of borders, the Euro crisis – most headlines about the EU have been rather disconcerting of late. The President of the Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, is speaking of a „multilayered poly-crisis“. Many believe that fundamental change … Continue
Defining one’s own values. The interrelation between majority and minority in democracies. Hallmarks of populism and „alternative facts“. And, not least, effects and effectivity of seemingly simple solutions to complex political problems – the rise of right-wing populism across the … Continue
Since Karina Frank and Tim Bader have joined us, the team of permanent planpolitik staffers now comprises 16 people. While Karina is now team member in the field of “Democracy and Society”, Tim is getting stuck into “Global Interrelationships” and “Economy and Energy”. Both started with us as freelancers and quickly convinced us – both professionally and as people. Welcome to the team. It’s great to have you on board!
As the team grows, so does the need for office space. While in 2017 we had to search for a very long time for further office space in the Reuterkiez district of Neukölln, this time things went very smoothly. We were able to open our third office on Friedelstraße directly opposite our original in February. Our efforts to one day turn Friedelstraße into planpolitikstraße are continuing apace.
What do the regions have to do with Europe and what visions for the EU of the future can be discovered there? Since 2018, this question has been investigated by the Regional Parliaments Lab (REGIOPARL) research project headed by Prof. Ulrike Guérot at Donau-Universität Krems in Austria. planpolitik was present in the Lower Austrian parliament of St. Pölten when the first so-called intervention of the project took place. This event format is intended as a field study and will be carried out in a total of 15 regional parliaments in seven EU member states. It will bring together members of each regional parliament beyond everyday parliamentary routine. They meet to open-endedly discuss the distribution of competences (defence policy at European level, agricultural policy at regional level, etc.), the institutional architecture and a possible territorial reorganisation of Europe using different concepts of “region”. The aim is to find out what a democratic Europe for all can look like.
We had developed the discussion format in advance and accompanied the politicians present as they followed the day’s mission to rethink democracy. In small working groups, innovative visions of the future were developed next to feasible ideas. Over the course of the next 14 interventions, the aim will continue to be to offer professional politicians the opportunity and space to leave everyday business behind for a day and discuss visionary ideas for Europe. We are curious!
April saw us facilitate two events on behalf of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. What the two events had in common was that they brought together groups of international young professionals. The newly founded International Adenauer Network celebrated its premiere in Berlin at the beginning of the month. This network connects young politicians from all over the world – and that actually means from Brazil to New Zealand, from Mongolia to Tanzania – for a regular exchange on current developments. With this crowd we moderated a scenario workshop discussing the issue of a new system competition. Will liberal democracies prevail as the predominant form of society? Are autocratic systems becoming more and more dominant? Or will the systems continue to coexist? The participants’ different horizons of experience produced three intensively discussed, potential paths of development. In the end, the experts formulated policy recommendations that shared one goal: to revert the trend towards autocratic rule and to strengthen and expand liberal structures.
The catchment area of the KAS MENA Leadership Academy, whom we met in Istanbul at the end of the month, is somewhat narrower. We conducted an intensive four-day training course on leadership, negotiation and lobbying with 20 participants from seven MENA countries – from Morocco to Lebanon. What constitutes good leadership? How do I use my BATNA? And what are successful strategies when interacting with politicians? In the course of the training, the concepts and theories we presented were repeatedly put to the test: How can these strategies be applied in countries where politics and society often lack transparency or even functioning parliaments? This discussion was very fruitful for us and clearly showed how far theory and practice sometimes diverge.
There was great passion for democracy and freedom in both Berlin and Istanbul, and the participants spoke enthusiastically of “Konrad’s” support (as in Konrad Adenauer). We share this enthusiasm because in both programmes the Adenauer Foundation has brought together great young people full of commitment.
December 2018 saw the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To mark this occasion, the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) has launched the project #freiundgleich. It looks at the unique significance of human rights from different angles and with different approaches – there are theatre workshops, a travelling exhibition, panel discussions and online publications. Our contribution to the EKD project are five short simulation games that deal with current issues: sea rescue in the Mediterranean, power relations in times of #MeToo, dealing with extreme right-wing opinions in voluntary work, the possibilities and limits of freedom of religion and corporate responsibility in the textile industry. All games question how our society deals with human rights in concrete situations. Are they really the same for all people? Or do economic or (power) political reasons repeatedly lead to the acceptance of restrictions on human rights?
All five games are designed for up to 20 participants and take about 120 minutes including introduction and evaluation. They are accompanied by a detailed manual explaining the game method and giving concrete suggestions for facilitating the games. After all, the idea is that interested multipliers facilitate the simulation games independently. All game materials will be included in the #freiundgleich project’s educational backpack and can be purchased via the project page from late summer. If you would like to try out the simulation games sooner than that, you can do so at the Deutscher Evangelischer Kirchentag 2019 at the end of June in Dortmund, where for three days we will facilitate a selection of these simulation games.
In the end, it wasn’t quite enough for a win. But at least our simulation game “Union Laboratory” was one of eight finalists in the Altiero Spinelli Prize for Outreach at the end of April. By awarding this prize, the European Commission honours projects that improve the understanding of European politics. We were in very good company at the ceremony in Brussels. It was very inspiring to get an impression of the many great projects and initiatives that are working throughout Europe to make the European Union and the European idea more tangible. By the way: thanks to the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the Heinz-Nixdorf-Stiftung, the Unions Laboratory can be played for free until the end of the year (in German). So, go ahead and relaunch the EU – all you need is five smartphones and internet access!
In the future, when the United Services Trade Union ver.di conducts the simulation game “All signs are pointing to a strike” with its negotiators, honorary members of collective bargaining committees and working members, negotiating and argumentation won’t be the only skills trained. The one-day simulation game aims above all to bring the participants closer to the process of collective bargaining, to highlight the need for assertiveness and to understand the importance of membership recruitment. In concrete terms, the participants are to be prepared for real collective bargaining in the health sector. This includes presenting oneself wisely to representatives of the press (the game facilitators). Finally, public support plays an important role in such negotiations.
The game will be handed over to our client ver.di shortly. In preparation to that, a
train-the-trainer workshop took place at the beginning of April, enabling union officials to facilitate the simulation independently.
The European Studies master’s programme at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder) has been a goldmine for planpolitik in terms of European expertise. Our entire European team, Helen Böhmler, Annegret Menden and Charlotte Wiesenthal, studied there. Two of them and also Alex Kuschel (from the Democracy and Society department) as well as several freelancers had their first encounter with our small company when, as students, they took part in our EU seminar at that same university.
But not only do we regularly present events on Europe at Viadrina University, we also prepare European topics interactively for students of FU Berlin, Leuphana University Lüneburg or the Online Masters course at Centre international de Formation uropéenne (CIFE) – often in a combination of online simulation with a concluding on-site event.
What works with students also works at schools! We’re currently experiencing high demand for the modular workshop “Future of the EU”, our classic on the COD (Ordinary Legislative Procedure) and the simulation game “European Election”. It’s always a particular pleasure to carry out our primary school simulation games during which kids aged 8 and over passionately discuss European issues such as animal welfare and food safety using child-friendly graphics.
Addressing similar topics on a different level, our EU simulation games at the International Training Centre of the ILO in Turin bring together young professionals from a wide range of backgrounds. The games provide an insight into the structure, actors and dynamics of what is commonly referred to as EU lobbying. In Thuringia, we also deal with the representation of interests at the European level: twice a year, we organise a three-day seminar with Thuringian state officials, during which we try together to find a way through the jungle of responsibilities that is Brussels.
Whether it’s for youngsters, students or (young) professionals, planpolitik’s Europe department has an event format on offer for practically every target group. Below, you can read more on the long-term European projects that have taken place in recent months.
Together with our long-standing partner, the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe, we launched the portal Europa unterrichten (“Teaching Europe“) (europa-unterrichten.de) at the beginning of 2019. It provides materials (in German) for interactive workshops and participatory teaching and is aimed at both teachers and trainers in non-formal education.
The current edition revolves around the forthcoming European elections. There are eight modules to choose from, depending on the learning objective, method, duration of implementation and preparation effort, including a jigsaw puzzle featuring EU institutions, and a simulation game on “Avoiding plastic waste”. All activities last between 30 and 135 minutes, the preparation time for the modules usually amounts to a maximum of 20 minutes. Our materials strengthen competences and knowledge in the areas of “recognition”, “analysis” and “judgement”.
With just a few clicks you can download the free materials. Each module is explained in a short manual, while a more detailed manual suggests target-group-specific module combinations. The methods are designed for groups of up to 30 people and young people aged 15 and over, but are also suitable for younger and older adults!
Yet another major EU project! Having started in February 2019, we are conducting our Engage with Europe workshop 48 times throughout Germany on behalf of the European Commission Representation in Germany.
Engage with Europe is taking the debate on the future of the EU to schools, training facilities and youth institutions. The workshop looks at current and future developments in European policy. What are the challenges facing the European Union? What are possible future perspectives? What do young people associate with the EU and what future do they want for Europe?
There are four main topics (Asylum & Migration, Economy & Climate, Peace & Security, Digital Future) to choose from, along which fundamental aspects and dynamics of European politics can be explored. The modular structure of the interactive workshop allows for a varied exploration of the topic and places the participants at the centre.
The duration of the workshop is approx. five hours and is aimed at school groups of all school types from the 10th grade onwards as well as trainees and young people from other institutions from the age of 16. The possible group size is between 15 and 30 participants.
On the project website www.engagewith.eu you will find further information (in German) as well as a contact form for requesting a free event (in Germany). We will then contact you to discuss availability and possible dates.
Senaryon, our platform for online simulation games, is celebrating another premiere: At Euro FH Hamburg, BA students reading International Business Administration are taking part in the online simulation game “Green Europe? Lobbying in the European Union using the example of EU climate policy”. This time, they are not only playing for fame and glory, but also to score 6 ECTS points. After all, the two-week online simulation is a regular part of the course.
To this end, the Senaryon moderation area was expanded, enabling the employees of the Euro FH to evaluate the students’ activities and contributions using a task system. The linking of the activating gaming experience with the evaluation phase consolidates the learning process and contributes to applying what has been learned theoretically to a concrete example.
The high degree of participation proves the innovative approach right: All students are active well beyond the specified semester hours per week and jointly develop a guideline for the reduction of greenhouse gases in transport.
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