Have you ever thought that while playing cards among people with diverse backgrounds in a nice Turkish café in Berlin you can actually find an analogy with the process of integration within a community or identify eventual cultural shocks? This is one of the many learning experiences presented last week (25-31 of July) during the “ACTIVacting: Training of trainers on youth participation and global challenges” organized by Citizens of Europe and Glokal. A peaceful location, seven days, eight different countries, interesting participants and thousands contemporary issues to discuss about. While using non-formal education formats and sharing tools, ideas and innovative methods. Isn’t it a catchy challenge? Indeed, but more than one. And global.
Unlike any other traditional training course, this time participants have been asked to prepare in advance a workshop session on a specific topic to be presented to the rest of the group. Beside the wish to deal with such a complex and wide content, also tackling the alimentary issue with a controversial vegetarian menu, the idea was to increase competences in facilitation of educational activities, giving large space to feedback and comments on a peer to peer level.
After the arrival and a series of (im)possible tasks to be fulfilled in one hour time, the whole group started to work together as a team. During the first plenary session participants identified some of the most important global challenges and agreed on a common list. The ones tackled in the latter were deepened every day through different activities, following in a smooth way the program flow. The Bulgarian group broke the ice presenting the topic of promotion and implementation of non-formal education in the state educational system.
Explanation of basic working definitions was the necessary background to explore personal experiences in this field, both in their country and abroad. Latvians used the format of the well known game “Who wants to be a millionaire?” to present in an interactive way history and its connection with globalization. The Polish team managed to raise awareness about ecological unfriendly daily life behaviors, turning participants into improvised actors as the Italians did with their role game on migration. Rules and mission were clear, but the results changed according to documents, money and attitudes of key persons in the hosting country. Romanians explored this topic as well, simulating a democratic decision making process as if the rest of the group was to act as politicians, first identifying real problematic situations in our societies and then voting for possible solutions. How do our cities look like or what kind of challenges do they face, were the main questions set on the table by the German team, who moderated a debate among an imaginary youth urban forum. We jumped directly in 2050 thanks to the Estonian group, who gave some inputs about the state of art of communication technologies and asked to the others to imagine how press, Internet and TV in particular could be like. The Turkish group re-created the atmosphere of an original Turkish café in order to deal with the topic of integration and intercultural learning.
During the common sessions air-balloons, pieces of green paper, balls of thread, or fake newspapers introduced topics like climate justice, world trade, guerrilla marketing strategies and production processes. And of course non-formal approaches have been shared all the time and chill out moments were found and possible. An intense gym and constructive fun for critical minds…looking forward to see what is going to happen next! Take a look at the photo gallery.