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What are building bricks of democracy?

Our future, our life, our society. Who decides what our life is supposed to be?  Who controls how our future will develop?  Is it only...

Donnerstag, 28. April 2016

Our internationally mixed up group


 Germany (Schuldorf Bergstraße)

 Germany (Viernheim)


 Germany (Bensheim)



The teamers

Fourth day part 1

The last day before our departure was filled with many different aspects.

In the morning we were visited by a reporter from the newspaper Darmstädter Echo who is going to write an article about our conference. He went around and interviewed some of the students asking them what they learned and worked on during the week in Ernsthofen. We are looking forward to reading the article in tomorrow’s newspaper.
While the press team prepared a power-point presentation for the evening including lots of pictures showing some of our best moments, the group met for the next seminar session.
As they normally began each session the morning seminar started by playing group games. Also the students made a ‘flashlight round’ concerning the last meeting for recognizing what was good and which goals they did or did not reach. Therefore they had an aim chart where to put on little stickers which then represent the effort of the conference.

Then they got different headlines of articles and had to decide which they were interested in the most.
One, for example, mentioned that women in Saudi Arabia firstly were allowed to vote in 2015. Another one discussed the question if people should be allowed to vote in their ancestor’s countries even if they have never lived there. Likewise the other articles contained issues of democracy and voting rights.
After discussing about those papers in small groups and presenting the main topics on posters the students could walk around for seeing the results of their fellows. Also they could asked why they decided for specific headlines which helped to achieve a better understanding of each other’s opinions and views on things.

In addition they should consider which would be the best solution for our system of policy to solve problems regarding democracy, justice and government. As well as they did it with the other topics they discussed about, they presented it in plenum.
In conclusion most of the groups wanted to introduce referendums so that everyone could influence political decisions.

After lunch it was time for preparing the following afternoon where the week project would be displayed by different presentations.

In the evening we are going to have a barbeque to end up the conference in community.

Yes, a little bit of fun is always a good choice!

Let's explore Heidelberg!
Our trip to Heidelberg with the whole group

Mittwoch, 27. April 2016

Third day

The third day started with a session about utopias.
The students had to create their own system of democracy which was based on the story about island Utopia. They had to build up a democratic system where every single person could live in peace and freedom including rights for all citizens. Therefore the students had to decide which rules would be important and how they imagined to develop a working infrastructure.
During the morning session they worked out their ideas in small groups, while having heated debates, considering and thinking about this task.
Later they presented their models and explained why they chose it. 

After lunch the bus took us to Heidelberg, where we would spent the afternoon.
Although the weather obviously wanted us to get worried because it was really cold and windy, we had a great day between the old buildings of the city centre. Those who never had been there before were very impressed by the inspiring and beautiful streets and houses.
Some of the group went up to the castle of Heidelberg which in fact consists of broken ruins but offers a good view over the whole city and landscape. A watch from the castle is always more beautiful than a panorama card, so our fellows really enjoyed some amazing moments on the top of Heidelberg.
The rest of the time we spent on shopping and exploring the township which was quite nice and gave us the opportunity to spend a day in our own way.

While the time passed by we realized how much we grew together. By splitting up our culturally diverse group into smaller parts we automatically mixed up with students from different countries and finally ended in a colourful, laughing, giggling and chatting community, without, more or less, borders and barriers of language, meaning and thinking.

The island Utopia

Today we travelled to the Island Utopia!

Utopia is an island in the ocean and it looks like an island many of us dream about. Here are sand beaches, palm trees; the weather is often sunny and warm. On the inner side if the island, we find forests and hills. The island is inhabited. People live in two villages and in a nomad settlement. One village is on the seaside, one on a hill, and the nomad settlement changes place, because its inhabitants are nomads.
Until last month, island Utopia was ruled by King Uto. Before him, his mother had been the Queen of the island, and before her, Uto’s grandfather had been the King. Uto himself did not have children. But he loved to travel and he visited many other islands, small and big, and studied how people lived there. He learned that not all islands have kings. On some islands, the people ruled themselves. It was not easy to understand how they ruled themselves. But King Uto had the impression that they lived well.
As King Uto became old without children, he did not want to choose a successor. In a speech in front of all Utopians, he declared that all Utopians together should be his successors and rule themselves. Soon after his speech, King Uto died. He left the Utopians with a great heritage and an even greater task.

Who is Utopian?
How great the task was, the Utopians understood when they needed to decide who should participate in the decisions, which previously were taken by King Uto on his own. King Uto said that the Utopians should decide together and explained the system of elections and votes on other islands. But King Uto did not say who exactly is a Utopian, and thus who is allowed to participate in elections and votes.

The big task of the Utopians 

Who should participate in decisions on Utopia?
If they have different opinions, who should decide what should happen?
Should some of them be allowed to decide about certain things, but not about other things?
The students had to think about these questions and define rules about who is allowed to participate in decisions on island Utopia. They had to determine if there should be different rules for different types of people and for different types of decisions.