Gathering materials, cleverly distributing roles, working out schedules, coordinating small groups, solving conflicts and always staying on top of things – successfully facilitating simulation games requires some training. As an addition to our range of training courses, we now run … Continue
The terrorist threat, Brexit, closing of borders, the Euro crisis – most headlines about the EU have been rather disconcerting of late. The President of the Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, is speaking of a „multilayered poly-crisis“. Many believe that fundamental change … Continue
Defining one’s own values. The interrelation between majority and minority in democracies. Hallmarks of populism and „alternative facts“. And, not least, effects and effectivity of seemingly simple solutions to complex political problems – the rise of right-wing populism across the … Continue
1 award, more than 100 events with almost 2,000 young participants – that is the balance of one year of “Junait – the media competence game” (Link zu www.junait.de).
During this time, more than 100 teachers and media educators have created their own Junait social network, allowing their study group to fight the evil Dr. Virus: as a member of the fictitious social network, nasty chats must be reported, annoying advertisements must be blocked and insecure passwords improved. Almost 2,000 children between 8 and 12 years of age were able to train their skills in dealing with social media, to better distinguish friends and strangers, to recognise click bait and not to reveal too much of their personal data.
Awareness of Junait has been growing steadily. Klicksafe, the “EU initiative for a safer internet”, has awarded our work with its recognition award as part of the Grimme Online Awards 2017. In a 15-page report, the Federation of German Consumer Organisations praised Junait for being action-oriented and thereby promoting critically reflective thinking. Apart from the official hype, we are especially pleased about the interest coming from media educators who have begun to integrate Junait in many workshops. Fittingly, we celerated Junait’s birthday party at the beginning of May at the Berlin-based net conference re:publica where we had the opportunity to hold a Junait workshop at the stand of the public libraries of Berlin.
We have learned a lot during the course of this project. The road to the launch of Junait was a rocky one, with many problems, constant revision and delays. Why does Junait work today? From our point of view, this is partly because “digital media literacy” is on everyone’s lips. On the other hand, Junait is free and ready for teachers to use after a few clicks. The children enjoy it anyway – unfortunately, this is not always the most important thing in educational projects. We are looking forward to another year of exciting new cooperations and many new hackers who will be more secure on the Internet.
Since our spatial expansion at the end of 2017 that saw the relocation of our European and FRIDGE departments to additional premises just down the road from head office, said head office at Friedelstraße 16 has, on occasion, felt eerily empty. Only a few of us are still there, sometimes some of the rooms now even stay empty. In order not to get too lonely, we hired some new colleagues. The more the merrier!
To be fair, it is mostly due to a steady rise in new commissions that Kilian Raiser, after almost two years of freelance work, is now an employee, and Tabea Böker has started as student assistant in June. Finally, Yana Bergmann has come back after an exciting trip to Central America.
In addition to facilitating many events, Kilian will be involved in developing concepts for our Global department. There is a lot to do there at the moment, such as a board game on SDGs, developed on behalf of Engagement Global – with the target group of German Armed Forces officers. Tabea, a Bachelor of Political Science student at the famous / infamous OSI of the FU Berlin, will actively support our colleagues at F5, our second location on Friedelstraße, and begin to get active in the events world. Finally, Yana will mainly facilitate events all over Germany – just as she did before leaving for her 5 months-trip. We are very happy about our ever-growing team and would like to wish our newest two members as well as our returnee a warm WELCOME!
planpolitik in the world of museums: In the past few months, two new simulation games have been commissioned by the European Hansemuseum in Lübeck. The games will take place there as part of the special exhibition “Consensus. Europe’s Culture of Political Decision”, with visitor groups participating.
As in the special exhibition, both simulation games are about consensus at European level. While the game located in the here and now is a simulation of the European Council (covering one of our ‘classic’ subject areas), we once again entered new territory with the development of the historical simulation game, because it is about the Hanseatic Convention of 1518. Even though the research into the topics and actors of the historic Hanse Convention was much more difficult and time-consuming, it was astonishing how much common ground could be found between a historic Hanse Convention and an EU Council Summit. Not only the consensus as a means of decision-making, but also the topics that were dealt with (at that time, herring trade and lighthouse construction, today, common market and open borders) and the political argumentation patterns are very similar. Politics remains politics. Whether 500 years ago or today. This first (and hopefully not the last) cooperation with a museum was a lot of fun and opened up new perspectives for our work. Also, once again, we broke new ground in the design and production of materials and props – a small detour into the world of heraldry included.
It was the first European Youth Conference taking place in Gladbeck – and we were part of it! To mark the start of this year’s Europe Week, we organised two days of events at the begin´nig of May in the beautiful Gladbeck Town Hall. 40 young people from France, Poland, Austria and Germany took part. Fortunately, language barriers proved surmountable, and soon, cross-border discussions on future issues of the EU were in full swing. A colourful programme was awaiting the participants, starting with ice-breaker activities, moving on to games on the history and institutions of the EU, through to current crisis management games and interactive EU tests. Finally, the participants developed their own visions for the future of European cooperation in a creative workshop. The results left nothing to be desired. Interviews with locals in Gladbeck’s pedestrian zone, the establishment of a European Youth Parliament, a huge EU map painted with chalk including future member states in front of the city hall and many other ideas emerged, sometimes involving the rest of the host city in the conference. At the end of the second day, the results were presented to the Mayor of Gladbeck, Ulrich Roland, and other representatives from the world of politics. Many thanks to the city of Gladbeck and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation for this joint project!
Take, for example, our handling of your data for our newsletter: We have been doing everything right all along. That’s why you haven’t received any mails from us asking “Do you want to hear from us? Please register again!”. You can still unsubscribe from the newsletter at any time via the link at the bottom. To find out more about what we do with your data, e.g. when you visit our homepage, you can read our data protection statement. There are separate statements for our online offers, e.g. Senaryon and Junait.
Of course, we weren’t exactly thrilled about the extra work, but overall, we like the new data protection rules. And even if we didn’t have to change much – the thorough inventory was instructive and important. We will stay tuned, and as soon as we have the time, we will try to make the legal speak sound more comprehensible. Or, even better, just ask our new data protection officer Alexander Wildhagen!
Our European department is facing some fundamental changes. Our European star Annegret Menden – still known to many as Ms Schneider – took maternity leave at the end of March and is not scheduled to return until the end of the year. We wish Annegret a happy time, far from OLPs and Brexit, but with European values such as tolerance, peace and solidarity in her heart.
To ensure that our European projects can be successfully continued in Annegret’s absence, Charlotte Wiesenthal will join the European team from mid-April. Charlotte has been working for us as a freelancer since the beginning of 2016 and, as a committed young European, is well qualified to represent the European cause for us at home and abroad. In the coming months, event planning and support as well as simulation game concepts will be the main focus of Charlotte’s work. Welcome to the team!
One of the most entertaining projects of the last year was certainly the development of a fake news app for the Centre for Civic Education of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (LpB NRW). We don’t often get the opportunity to create a whole universe of fake news and alleged conspiracies, complete with trolls, naive followers, prudent scientists and manipulative fanatics. The aim of the Serious Game project was to help young players detect and evaluate fake news. For this purpose, players enter this messenger adventure in the role of an intern in an online editorial office, experiencing a web of real and false facts, conspiracy theories and weird sockpuppets! They’ll need a good nose to help them tell what’s what! The game lasts approx. 30-45 minutes and is accompanied by a detailed integrated glossary. It is available for free on the LpB NRW website (in German).
Growth is often expressed in figures. Having increased the number of square meters of planpolitik office space in December, the next step was a long overdue expansion of our telephone network and into cloud telephony. Following an eventful but ultimately successful interaction with Deutsche Telekom, here’s how it looks:
Directors (+4930) 600 34643
Accounting and Office Management (+4930) 600 34644
Fax (+4930) 6003 4645
Europe (+4930) 6823 5110
Democracy and Society and Flight & Integration (+4930) 6823 5112
Global Interrelations and Economy & Energy (+4903) 6823 5113
Digital projects (+4930) 6823 5114
We are looking forward to your calls so we can create something new together. Because of course the headline should really read: Call me anytime!
The final in-house class of our module “Bargaining in Global Politics” as part of the Online Master in International Relations Online (IRO) at the FU Berlin came to an end at the end of February, a moment that simultaneously felt unspectacular and full of melancholy. It was where we – Björn and Simon – met in the autumn of 1995 and began teaching together in 2001, since 2004 as lecturers in the East European Studies Online and International Relations Online programmes at the Center for Global Politics (CGP). The in-house-classes, featuring students from all over the world engaging in very lively discussions, were a real highlight every semester. The programme is now expiring, due to the upcoming retirement of the head of the CGP, Prof. Dr. Klaus Segbers, in 2019. We very much hope that this exciting and meaningful master programme will continue in one form or another. Another nostalgic fun fact: 25 years on, Dahlem looks exactly the same and the kiosk in front of the OSI (Otto Suhr Institute for Political Science) is still run by the same owner.
The threat of terrorism, Brexit, constant displays of disunity – the worrying headlines about the European Union just keep coming. A call for change is clearly audible. And even young people often have an opinion about what is going wrong in today’s EU. But what exactly should change in the EU to make things better?
Over the past two months, we have asked precisely this question of around 350 pupils in grades 9 to 13 from Hohenschönhausen in the north-east of Berlin to Grunewald in the south-west. A series of workshops initiated and financed by our long-standing partner, the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe, took place at 11 Berlin schools. Through direct experience, the participants gained insight into further steps that could be taken in European integration. Getting involved in a simulation game, an EU self-test and an ideas workshop, the participants gradually narrowed down problems, their own ideas and possible solutions and were finally able to describe their vision of Europe in 2025. They were asked to determine the future coexistence within the Union: Should the EU resemble a flat share, a terraced house, a single-family house or individual housing units? Notably, extreme approaches were very rarely chosen – rather, the flat share, the terraced house or flats-in terraced-houses model resonated the most with the youth of Berlin.
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