Ronald Grätz, Secretary General of ifa, CCP team, Country Representatives and alumni; Photo: Bilal El Soussi
CrossCulture Dialogue.  Open Forum with Dr. Stefan Kaufmann, Member of the German Bundestag and CCP Country Representatives and alumni. Moderator: Michael Gleich, Journalist and Head of Culture Counts Foundation; Photo: Bilal El Soussi
Migration and Culture: Beyond borders and spaces. Panel Discussion with Dr Andreas Görgen, Director-General for Culture and Communication at the Federal Foreign Office and Abbas Khider, Writer. Moderator: Michael Gleich, Journalist and Head of Culture Co
"Banda Internationale"; photo: Bilal El Soussi
Welcoming remarks by Ronald Grätz, Secretary General of ifa. Moderator: Michael Gleich, Journalist and Head of Culture Counts Foundation; Photo: Bilal El Soussi
CCP Country Representative Tunisia, Olfa Jelassi and Afghanistan, Enayat Safi with Dr. Stefan Kaufmann, Member of the German Bundestag; Photo: Bilal El Soussi
CCP Country Representatives Bahrain, May Eido and United Arab Emirates, Nada Salem; Photo: Bilal El Soussi
CCP Country Representatives; Photo: Bilal El Soussi
Panel Discussion with Dr Andreas Görgen, Director-General for Culture and Communication at the Federal Foreign Office and Abbas Khider, Writer. Moderator: Michael Gleich, Journalist and Head of Culture Counts Foundation; Photo: Bilal El Soussi

Crossing Borders - CCP celebrates its 10th anniversary

10 years of German-Islamic dialogue, 10 years of the CrossCulture Internships Programme (CCP) - this was celebrated by alumni, partners and ifa representatives on 3 December at the Stadtbad Oderberger in Berlin.

Report by Tim Hülquist and Eva Sodeik-Zecha

"Dialogue means learning in both ways: you can learn from us and we can learn from you". These are the words of Olfa Jelassi from Tunisia in discussions with Stefan Kaufmann MP and other CrossCulture Country Representatives in Berlin. 190 guests were invited to the birthday party, including current and former scholarship holders from Germany and other countries involved in the programme, and CCP partners from the worlds of politics and civil society.

After a welcome address from ifa Secretary General Ronald Grätz, Abbas Khider (a German writer with Iraqi roots) and Andreas Görgen (Director-General for Culture and Communication at the Federal Foreign Office) discussed the issue of migration and refugees. They examined the causes of the current crisis, outlined potential solutions and provided opportunities for discussion. Finally, a panel of CCP scholarship holders and alumni provided insights into their work in their home countries. In the words of CCP Country Representative Olfa Jelassi, "Cooperation should be a win-win partnership, in a democratic way, not dominance. Cooperation should apply people’s demands for equity and equal opportunities".

Musical accompaniment was provided by Banda Internationale, a collective of young musicians that was set up in the wake of the anti-Pegida demonstrations in Dresden. Together with refugees from Syria and Iraq, they played songs such as Ya Rayah, an Arab composition that expresses the homesickness of a migrant from Algeria.

"In difficult times, bridge-building programmes like CCP are particularly important."

Guests and alumni then had an opportunity to mingle and discuss issues such as conflict management, human rights, art and the environment at nine topic tables. "Never before have I networked so much and so well!", commented Frederike Ruff, CCP alumna from Germany. "Wonderful people and a very constructive atmosphere." Thomas Röhlinger, CEO of internet radio station Radijojo was similarly enthusiastic: "In difficult times, bridge-building programmes like CCP are particularly important".

Before the celebrations began, 20 CCP Country Representatives came together to review the successes and current challenges faced by the programme. They examined the CCP's alumni activities, and particularly their role as voluntary points of contact for local alumni networks. "This workshop led us to exchange lessons learnt and best practices and to further strengthen our efforts towards improving this programme. This is not an easy process but I believe we all support it for a good purpose" - these were the impressions of Fatemeh Ahmadi Kamali, CCP Country Representative in Iran.

The workshop produced new ideas for initiatives and activities in the CrossCulture Internships programme - in Germany and the countries involved. This allows the idea of dialogue and cooperation between Germany and Islamic countries to move forward and grow - not only through ifa but above all through the commitment of young people worldwide.

CrossCulture Internships

In conjunction with the German Foreign Office, since 2005 ifa has been working to increase opportunities for dialogue with Islamic countries. The CCP programme enables young professionals and committed volunteers from Germany and other member countries to conduct internships and spend time in different cultures.

Global ambassadors – CrossCulture Programme celebrates ten years

qantara.de | CCP alumnus Fabian Pianka, working at Deutsche Welle, reports on the 10th anniversary celebration in Berlin.