Since February I have been working on preparing the Seminar on Intercultural and Global Citizenship Education (funded by the EU Youth in Action fund), together with representatives from the involved organizations (AFS/EFIL, EEE-YFU, Experiment and CISV). We had a total of around 50 participants working on 4 topics that concern all 4 organizations: Advocacy & Partnership, Leadership & Participation, Educational Resources, and Training
The three guiding questions for the seminar were:
1. How do our organizations, through our core activities and intercultural and global citizenship education, promote peace and increased mutual understanding?
2. What is the state of the art today in intercultural and global citizenship education?
3. Can (and how can) further co-operation between the partners contribute to growth and development of international education and intercultural exchange organizations?
The week started with lots of shopping for the seminar and making the CISV house in Hamburg ready for the participants. With great help of the logistical team in Hamburg (made up from one person of each organization - they were great with baking cakes too 🙂 ) this was done in no time.
Finally, on Wednesday, all the participants arrived and a great seminar was about to start. We had a great first evening with lots of fun and good exchanges.
On Thursday we started with presenting each organization to the other ones, since not everybody knew the others that well. There were lots of questions asked and the general mood was very much: "Let's learn from each other".
We prepared posters for each organization, focusing on the WHY / HOW / WHAT of each organization:
Later that day we had a guest speaker on Diversity and Intercultural Education from the University in Jena. The talk was very interesting and provocative at times, challenging us on how we view intercultural education and diversity.
Later that day we had some quality time within our organizations and started to work on a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analyses with the different topics for the seminar. This was later taken to the different Strand-Meetings, and I had the pleasure to facilitate the group discussing "Training" in more detail. Each organization presented their SWOT to the others and a great many questions were asked and possible common areas and challenges were found.
At the end of the day we had a "Delegation Time" or, as we called it, "Mixed Reflection Group Time" with people from all the different organizations, discussing what happened during the day and possible improvements for the next day.
The Friday was spent working in depth in the different strand groups, my training group had a lot of discussions and questions and suggestions for possible future cooperation. Especially the different training systems of each organizations were talked through with great interest.
In the afternoon we took a little break from the strand groups and shared the different discussion of the strands in a "Gallery" with the other strand groups. Later that day we had some "Open Space" where topics that were not discussed in the other session had space and time. There were lot of interesting topics covered, e.g. Use of Social Media in our Programmes / Culture vs. Diversity
That evening we had two other guest speakers talking about Volunteer Development and Management in a Non-Profit organization, again there were a lot of questions raised and all of us volunteers were challenged in the way we see our organizations.
On Saturday we went into "Action Planning" -meaning that each strand had the chance to talk about possible future cooperations with the other organizations on a local / national or international level. Later that day those plans were shared within the organizations and with the whole group, feedback and comments were taken into account.
Last but not least we had a great goodbye-party on Saturday, which involved lots of fun and bad music.
On Sunday the final version of the action plans and follow-up plan was shared with the whole group and a final round of goodbyes closed a very great week in Hamburg.
Being part of the project team, preparing this seminar with members from each organization taught me a lot about planning and working together in an international and "interorganizational" environment, it was challenging at times, but the seminar and the great outcomes of it (which are still to come) were worth all the hours and work put into it.
On a last note, we organized a graphic recorder to record all the session from the seminar, you can see some results of his work in the pictures - for me it was great to see on how different "minutes" from a seminar can look like, when having someone record it in a graphic way. (© Paul van Aarle)