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 planpolitik as our task was to introduce this group to the topic of the pluralist German society over the course of a five-day seminar.
The International Parliamentary Scholarship of the German Parliament started as a small programme exactly 30 years ago. Today, it is one of the most exhaustive and elaborated programmes worldwide. Every year, a group of open-minded young people is put together. In interviews, participants will have excelled in their language skills as well as knowledge about politics and society. In order for the group members to get to know each other, their stay in Germany begins with a five-day introductory seminar.
For the first time, the 2016 seminar was developed and facilitated by us. It ran twice, with two groups of just under 60 people. We started with an intercultural training sensitising the participants to working within a diverse group by alternating theoretical content with practical exercises. The personal similarities and differences discovered in this opening phase were then transferred to politics: the simulation game “Minority Rights” used tough negotiations to highlight the difference between personal tolerance and social protection and acceptance mechanisms. Should a reference to god be included in a fictional state’s new constitution?
During an excursion, the scholarship holders met among others a Rabbi and an Imam as well as initiators of the “Berlin Association for Asylum in Church” and gained insight into the life of minorities in Germany.
During workshops run by the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency and the Berlin LGTB Foundation the scholarship holders discussed the ways in which the German state and civil society fight still-existing discrimination.
After all this input, one question beckons: what to do with all these impressions, meetings, experiences? We chose to encourage the scholarship holders to address the topic of pluralism in film, song, dance and theatre. The results onstage as well as at the buffet and the mixing console knew no boundaries. We wish the scholarship holders that the rest of their internship remains as diverse as these first five days!
Facts + Figures
Scholarship holders from the International Parliamentary Scholarship (IPS) programme
- Knowlegde about national, ethnic and religious minorities in Germany
- Minority politics in practice
- Self-organisation and demands by minorities
- Dealing with conflicts
10 days (2x5 days)
117 (in two groups of just under 60 participants)