DIALOGUE OF CIVIL SOCIETIES

"Velvet Revolution" in Armenia

The Next Phase of Democratic Evolution

ifa | In April and May this year, the streets and squares in Armenia's capital Yerevan were overcrowded with people. Thousands of people protested against the government and Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan, who finally resigned on 23 April. Our former CrossCulture Programme fellow Harutyun Voskanyan was present at the protests. For ifa he wrote down the events from his point of view.

Goethe-Institute in Yangon, Myanmar; Photo: Oliver Gerhartz Architekt

A new space of encounters and dialogue in Myanmar

"A truly open building"

deutschland.de | "Nothing counters hate, war, and violence better than openness, education, and culture.", Vice-President of the German Bundestag Thomas Oppermann said at the opening of the new building of the Goethe-Institute in Myanmar on 11 June. The renovation of the old villa in Yangon, former Rangun, was one of the biggest recent construction projects of the Federal Foreign Office. The building has a highly symbolic value: Bogyoke Aung San discussed the premises for Myanmar's independence with the British Colonial Power there and set the basis for the country's constitution.

Photo of Jillian York

Opportunities and risks of the internet

"We like to think that we're not influenced by fake news"

ifa | Many US corporations publish false information or propaganda. Corporations and governments restrict people's freedom of expression on the internet. Online censorship even occurs in democratic countries. Jillian York works in the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a US-American non-governmental organization protecting digital rights. On the other hand the internet also provides many opportunities, explains York in the interview with ifa.

Svetlana Dzardanova; Photo: private

Bride abduction in Kyrgyzstan

Ala kachuu is no cool

ifa | "Ala kachuu" means "grab her and run away" in Kyrgyz. This is the name of an allegedly tradition of kidnapping young women in order to convince them to get married. "The future husband" and other men take her to his family's home where she's sometimes detained for several days. Svetlana Dzardanova is alumna of ifa's CrossCulture Porgamme and witnessed the kidnapping of a friend. She firmly opposes against the costum by organising workshops and providing information to young people.

Questions to improve the world?

Part III: "Why is the North-South dialogue a relevant topic?"

ifa | Global North and Global South: Inequality in terms of wealth, power structures and access to resources causes different realities depending on the part of the world where someone lives. We talked to intellectuals, artists and activists from all over the world, participants of the conference "Cultures of We" in September 2017 in Berlin. While some criticised the concept of a Global South and North for simplifying reality, others emphasised existing social differences and demand more justice and equality.

Picture with colooured plastic monkey toys holding hand, background blue sky

Interview about global citizenship education as means for worldwide participation

Altering the way we understand education and learning in the 21st century

AFS | Facing global issues together: The global citizenship education movement fosters active participation in social, political, economic and environmental projects. Through education it aims to evolve a global consciousness in order to work together as a world community. Carlos Alberto Torres is UNESCO Chair in Global Learning and Global Citizenship Education. In an interview he gives an insight into recent developments in the field and talks about problems and obstacles .

Interview with net activist Kübra Gümüsay

Youtube, Twitter, Facebook and Others: Communities on the internet

ifa | What role do communities play on the Net? How can we develop a ​"common language of thinking"? And why is moral courage so little in evidence online? Especially marginalized people, says Kübra Gümüşay, can feel themselves part of a group and find a voice on the internet. But the blogger and Net activist now envisages spaces for thinking offline.

Sophia Schmid at the conference "Cultures of We" in Berlin; Photo: ifa/screenshot

Questions to improve the world?

Part II: What would you like to change in the world?

ifa | Who has never ever dreamed of having super powers? Many of us strive to make the world a better place. But our means and possibilities are limited. "If you had the power to do anything in the world, what would you change?" We asked intellectuals, political and cultural activists who participated at the conference "Cultures of We" September 2017 in Berlin.

Portrait Alaa, Photo: ifa/Kolle

Interview about the fight for Human Rights

Like a wave

ifa |''It's like a wave - once someone starts it, the others will rally around them'', says Alaa Mohamed Masaad Elsayed from Sudan about her work in Human Rights and Peace Building. With ifa's CrossCulture Programme she will stay in Germany for three months, doing an internship at the organization ''act for transformation'' in Aalen. In an interview Alaa talks about her work in Sudan, the issue of Female Genital Mutilation and about her expectations of the time in Germany.

Questions to improve the world

Part I: What can we do to promote a global sense of community?

ifa | There is no easy answer to the question we asked the participants of the conference "Cultures of We" last September in Berlin. "What can we do to promote a global sense of community," we wanted to know. From getting rid of tribalism up to the power of a common sense of humor – the replies from intellectuals, cultural activists and artists were very different.

Color, paint, brush and paintbrush. Photo: RhondaK Native Florida Artist via Unsplash

ifa Input 1/2018: Mike van Graan Requests a More Inclusive Humanity

Enhancing Cultural Democracy

ifa |"Everyone has the right to participate freely in the cultural life of the community and enjoy the arts" – an important principle of the Universal Human Rights Declaration. But the reality is far from ideal. Mike van Graan sees a huge gap between rich and poor; the Global North and South in terms of who is providing and consuming cultural goods, ideas and values. In the context of the ifa-Research Programme "Culture and Foreign Policy" van Graan reflects on cultural democracy. Referring to his home country South Africa, the author demands enhanced Cultural Democracy: a more inclusive humanity and a culture of mutual understanding and dialogue.

CrossCulture programme: talking with a scholarship holder

A country in transition

ifa | Moldova is a small country hidden between Romania and Ukraine. In the past years the population diminished from four to three million inhabitants. Why do so many people decide to leave the country? In the video CrossCulture scholarship holder and journalist Natalia Sergheev explains why young fellow citizens don't see any future and what role media play in the country.

Photo: ifa/Kuhnle

CCP fellow supports the rights of people with disabilities

The Long Road to Inclusion

ifa | Intuition plays an important role in the life of Yassine Rihani. The 34-year-old Tunisian lost his eyesight in 2006 and has been working as a physiotherapist ever since. As a human rights activist, he also has a feel for the pressure points in society and is committed to supporting the rights of people with disabilities. From October to December 2017 he worked as a CrossCulture Programms fellow at the physiotherapy training centre at Nuremberg Education Centre for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Photo: Slim Emcee (UG) the poet "Truth From Africa Photography" via Unsplash

Culture as an instrument of social transformation

The power of hip-hop

EU-LAC Foundation | Twelve Colombian hip hop dancers performed at the "Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government" in Cartagena de Indias in October 2016. Many of the artists grew up in difficult surroundings. Music and dancing were their opportunity to escape from their situation. The possibility of expressing themselves in front of the heads of state was not only a symbol of cultural inclusion, but also the approach to create a respectful dialogue and appreciate cultural diversity. This example does not have to be the only one. In her article, Rebeca Grynspan illustrates how to promote the power of culture and how culture eventually could transform entire societies.

© Caritas international/Caritas Freetown 2017

Humanitarian Assistance

Emergency relief: Sierra Leone after the landslide

ifa | On August 14, 2017 a heavy landslide occurred in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Local authorities report more than 1.000 victims. Humanitarian assistance aims at alleviating the suffering of people in need as a result of natural disasters like this. With its corresponding funding programme, ifa supports projects that provide fast, needs-based assistance. A report on Sierra Leone
By Karin Kathöfer

Chandran Nair about the Illusion of Globalism

How to Accept the Others

ifa | 'I don't like the idea of "we"', Chandran Nair said at the beginning of the international symposium 'cultures of we' on the 13 September in Berlin, Germany. In his keynote the Founder and CEO of the independent pan-Asian think tank 'Global Institute For Tomorrow', discussed the link between populism and postcolonialism. He calls to see people how they are and to accept the world as it is.

Medina in Tunis. © Humpert

CCP-Scholar

A mouthpiece for the medina

ifa alumni | A confusing tangle of narrow alleyways: this is what the old town of Tunis looks like. Two years ago Stuttgart architect Raoul Cyril Humpert moved there. With the financial support of ifa he launched a newspaper. About the project, history and life in the medina of Tunis.

CCP fellow Amur Alrawahi at the workshop in Stuttgart, July 2017 © ifa / Kuhnle

Young professionals abroad

From the Omani desert into German forest

ifa | Amur Alrawahi's participation in ifa's CrossCulture Programme brought him right in the heart of Germany. During his two months long internship, Amur is experiencing various facets of German nature based tourism at 'Hainich National Park'. Especially his daily commute is new to him - he swapped his car for a bike. At a CrossCulture Intercultural Workshop in Stuttgart he talked about his experiences so far.
Interview by Leontine Päßler 

Photo: Andy Roast (CC BY-NC 2.0) via Flickr

Education initiative from Jordan

Science Leauge receives award from the University of Manchester

ifa | The project Science League by Hamza Arsbi, which has been supported by ifa, has been awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Social Enterprise award. Science Leauge has been founded in reaction to the bad condition of the education system in Jordan. The project empowers young people from the Middle East to compete in various scientific challenges.