As 2017 became 2018, we had to say goodbye to our student assistant Yana Bergmann. After graduating in law, she followed the call of the big wide world. Our latest information tells us she currently resides somewhere in Central America. Thank you very much for all the great work – and your unique laugh, which will long resonate in our little office. The goodbye was sweetened by the fact that in early January, William Dissoubray joined the planpolitik team. He is now responsible for bookkeeping, office management and the preparatory organisation of our events. With his passion for numbers and structures, he has quickly become indispensable. Welcome to the team!
There’s another name we’ve lost only to gain a new one: as of last week, Annegret Schneider is called Annegret Menden. Congratulations!
“What does your Europe look like?” At the beginning of February, several hundred people addressed this question in Hamburg. The programme at the Zeit Foundation’s Europa Camp was extremely varied and ranged from theatre performances to panel discussions (feat. the likes of Cem Özdemir, Ulrike Guérot and Jan Böhmermann). But apart from listening to famous panelists debate, conference participants had the opportunity to discuss and develop ideas and visions of their own: in five interactive planpolitik workshops, they discussed issues such as populism, European citizens’ rights in the face of terrorist threats, or how to boost solidarity and bridge the gap between poor and rich EU states. We addressed those topics in short simulation games, digital surveys via ConferenceApp, positioning games, ideas labs and so on. Our conclusion: what an exciting, innovative conference! If we hadn’t moderated, we would have liked to have taken part ourselves….
At the end of January, our first newly developed simulation game of 2018 premiered in Switzerland with great success. As part of the first meeting of the international ‘Young Policy Network on Migration’, young migration experts from all over the world played “People on the Move”. The simulation brings together various phenomena of global migration movements in a fictional setting. Development was not an easy task, as we wanted to include refugees and other migrants, different immigration systems and the specifics of different countries of origin, transit and destination. The result is an action-oriented simulation game played over several rounds. The round structure lends itself to tracking the impact that actions and political decisions of participating governments have on the course of the game and on migration. One insight that made many participants stop and think was that when acting as governments, they treated migrants like a commodity in bargaining for trade advantages or other political concessions. It was not only in this aspect that the game was surprisingly close to the real-life discussions on the political treatment of migrants worldwide.
Simulation games at schools are our daily business, but nobody has ever asked for a simulation game for students with mental disabilities. Admittedly, we were skeptical at the beginning, concerned about our lack of experience and whether our materials’ were suitable for the target group.
Working closely with the school’s team of teachers, we ventured into this new experiment, creating a workshop based on our EU simulation game for primary schools. The 9th grade students took to the game with great enthusiasm and proceeded to spend all morning discussing whether food in the EU should be labelled according to the traffic light system or not. We learned a lot, had a lot of fun and will respond with a resounding “yes, gladly!” to future inquiries from special needs schools. Special thanks to the Information Office of the European Parliament, as part of whose eight-part series the simulation game took place.
Two years ago, we were commissioned by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation Berlin to develop the modular workshop “Flight. Asylum. Integration” for young people aged 15 and over. It may not come as a surprise that the event quickly became a mainstay for us as well as the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. The next step was to revise the modules with the aim of making the topic of INTEGRATION larger and portraying current political and social discussions. The result is six interactive modules that address the causes and routes of migration as well as the experience of arriving in the bureaucratic maze that is Germany. A short simulation game – located in a school environment – deals with different ideas of integration and the question of how to communicate with one another on an equal footing. In the module “Integration and I”, participants are asked to position themselves on the topic and reflect on possible points of contact. The modular structure allows for the workshop to be adapted to different timeframes over one or two days. But regardless of how much time is available, there will be plenty new insights…
In June, the European Youth Event EYE will for the third time see more than 8,000 young people from all over Europe gather at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. And for the third time we will be there, presenting interactive ideas labs! The format has proved very effective in the two previous editions of the event, each time engaging over 1,000 participants in lively exchange, each time giving rise to countless fresh ideas for a different, better Europe. In the run-up, we will of course make a few conceptual adjustments here and there. For example, we’ll tighten up the online preparation phase. But the objective remains the same: to make young Europeans’ voices heard in Parliament. After all, the best ideas that emerge during the EYE will be collected and presented to parliamentarians, who will discuss them in hearings this autumn.