A two-day conference for the Protestant Academy Berlin and the bpb

Acting competently – Refugees in the community

Is it possible to use simulation games as an insightful way into the question of successful integration of refugees into German communities? We said YES! And during a two-day conference we demonstrated that short simulations and interactive methods can trigger a vigorous exchange of experiences and ideas between actors from administration, civil society, politics and the police force.

On the first day, four fictional simulation game scenarios addressed aspects of organising and integrating refugees in urban and rural spaces. Where can/should arriving refugees be accommodated, how will they be provided for, which integration measures will be taken and how can the refugees be given a voice in this process?

Both the complexity and the current relevance of the topic became immediately apparent in the sub-groups that were formed. Here, the participants addressed conflicting interests, financial constraints, legal framework and openly expressed rejection from parts of society. Based on this, the participants presented each other functioning examples of working with refugees and discussed spaces in politics, administration and civil society where the situation could be improved. At the same time, there was a palpable sense of anger about the existing situation – and there was room for it, too.

Day 2 began with a simulation game on the topic of irritation – how does society deal with statements and actions towards refugees based on potentially racist motivations? Which otherwise invisible alliances between different actors appear unexpectedly in order to dismiss concern about racism by claiming that it only occurs in individual cases of foolishness? And why are the refugees’ voices never heard?

During a subsequent small-group session the elementary role of prevention and information became clear, in turn leading to calls for relevant opportunities for qualification.

Over the course of two days, the event enabled participants to reflect on their own role regarding their work with refugees as well as the interdependence of different activities and actors. Last, not least, it provided opportunities to network with active people from all over Germany.

Facts + Figures

Target group

Local politicians, administrative staff, representatives of refugees, representatives of civil society, Police, interested members of the public

  • Change in perspective
  • Exchange of experience and examples of good practice
  • Establishing recommendations for action
  • Creating and maintaining a nationwide network

Protestant Academy Berlin

Federal Agency for Civic Education (bpb)


2 days

Number of participants








  • I am pleasantly surprised at how well the exchange of knowledge and good practice worked in every round, particularly in the last round.


  • For me, the most important aspect of the simulation game method was that one didn't become acquainted with differing positions in order to develop some sort of understanding for them but in order to be better prepared against the opponents' arguments. Once applied, this provides better answers.


  • The concept as a whole is good for giving the different actors a chance to see their role in the system as a whole. There should be simulation games in every municipality!