CrossCulture News

Modern-day slavery in Mauritania

"Painting helps to restore their dignity"

ifa | As a child Saleh Lô barely escaped slavery. Today, the visual artist portrays freed slaves in his work. An interview about modern-day slavery in Mauritania and art as an instrument of political activism

Football on turf; Photo: Andy Hall (CC0) via Unsplash

From female football player to coach

Long ball into Saudi Arabia's future

ifa | Football is a men's business? Mai Abdul Wahab proves the contrary. Since her childhood days she kicks against everything that isn't nailed down. With the help of the internet she managed to find a women's football team. In an interview the ifa alumna talks about her career from a player to a coach and the discourse about women's football in Saudi Arabia.

"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.

Ein Rohingya-Kind springt über einen schmutzigen Fluss in einem Flüchtlingslager in Bangladesch; Foto: picture alliance / AP Photo / Wong Maye-E

Theatre sessions with Rohingyan refugees

The poverty of our minds

ifa | A year has passed since the Rohingya refugee crisis hit the headlines of the world press. CrossCulture Programme Alumnus Pradip Acharjee commits himself to cultural based capacity building and youth development in Rohingyan communities in Bangladesh to fight one of the biggest forms of poverty, the poverty of the mind.

[Translate to English:] Foto: ifa / Kuhnle

CCP alumni as Country Representatives

Impressions from the Shaping Future Workshop in Berlin

ifa | Mauritania, Oman and Tunisia: The Country Representatives of ifa's CrossCulture Programme are crucial supporters on-site. This summer they met in Berlin to talk about their future network and collaboration. They did not only have the chance to exchange ideas, but also could meet up with a German politician.

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.

Portrait of the scholar Ghada Al Muhanna

Interview about society in Saudi Arabia

"We fight – to show men that we are equal"

ifa | "We still remain traditional in our behaviours and in our whole societal believes. But the tradition can merge with being modern" says Ghada Al Muhanna, ifa-fellow 2017. Women ultimately obtained new rights in Saudi Arabia and gain strength within women networks. Nevertheless sexual harassment exists like in many other countries too. In an interview with ifa she talks about political and social changes in Saudi Arabia.

Engagement against islamistic motivated extremism

The Battle of Narratives

ifa | Aizat Shamsuddin knows how attractive and captivating the offerings of religious fundamentalists can be. He himself was part of the Salafist movement in Malaysia, an ultra-conservative movement within Islam. He then came across the ideals of a progressive interpretation of Islam. This information opened up a new world to him: A world, in which Islam is understood as a source of dignity, justice, compassion and love for all humanity.

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.

Shahid Rehmat, Photo: ifa

Interview with Shahid Rehmat

Religious Tolerance for Peace Building in Pakistan

ifa | Shahid Rehmat is the founder of the non-governmental organisation "Youth Development Foundation" in Pakistan. The organisation fosters social cohesion in Pakistani society by initiating a youth-led movement to teardown socio-cultural, religious and communal barriers – cherishing the immense social diversity and countering violent extremism.

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.

CCP Fellow Ashwaq Al-Gobi at the Workshop in Stuttgart, November 2017 © ifa / Kuhnle

Interview with CrossCulture fellow Ashwaq Al-Gobi

'Yemen needs peace to breathe'

ifa | 'While there is development in Germany, you can only find destruction in Yemen', says Ashwaq Al-Gobi. The young CrossCulture fellow comes from the crisis-ridden Yemen. Since 2015, the southernmost country of the Arabian Peninsula has been experiencing one of the world's biggest humanitarian crises. In November 2017, we met Ashwaq during our intercultural workshop to talk about the conflict in Yemen and her experiences in Germany.
Interview by Christina Palau

Emam Abdelgadir works in the field of peace education. Photo: © Uli Reinhardt

Solving conflicts peacefully

From Student to Trainer

ifa | How can I teach people to detect a rising conflict and solve it peacefully? A question Emam Abdelgadir faces regulary in his daily life. He works as trainer at the Alternative to Violence Project (AVP) in Sudan and is very active in the field of peace education. It is crucial for him to show people that every little contribution to peace matters. As a scholarship holder in ifa’s CrossCulture Programme Refugees and Migration he shared his knowledge with his colleagues at the organisation Act for Transformation in Aalen.

Medina in Tunis. © Humpert


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.

Sudanese traumatherapist Sally Elgizouli applied her knowledge in a living group in Stuttgart. Photo: Uli Reinhardt

Experiences in a living group in Stuttgart

Art against blockages

ifa | Trauma-Expert Sally Elgizouli believes in art in her therapeutic methods. In her hometown Khartoum, Sudan, she works with refugees. Many of them only stop by here. "How is the rest of their journey? What do they experience? How do they feel when they arrive in Europe or the US?", Sally was wondering many times. When she participated in ifa's CrossCulture Programme she had the chance to get to know realities of refugees in Stuttgart.

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: Uli Reinhardt

A realistic picture of the life as a refugee in Germany

After the Escape is Before the Escape

ifa | "The people of Africa often have the wrong picture", says Souleymane Sagna from Senegal. He therefore wants to communicate a realistic picture of the life as a refugee in Germany. The human rights lawyer is one of this year's fellows of the ifa CrossCulture programme Refugees and Migration and gaining insight into the work of the German association "Freundeskreis Asyl" in Karlsruhe.
By Tilman Wörtz

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 

Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen
CrossCulture Programme

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