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International and bi-national seminars

International and bi-national events, seminars and workshopsof the Gustav Stresemann Institute in Niedersachsen e. V.

“Choosing hope over fear.”
Democracy and diversity in the U.S. and Germany

  • Date: 01.08.2019 – 14.08.2019
  • Lecturers: Lecturer: Dr. Marwan Kreidie | Pedagogical staff: Martin Kaiser
  • Cooperation with: Office of Multicultural Affairs, West Chester University, PA, U.S.A., Arab American Development Corporation, Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.
  • Fee: 250 €


“We choose hope over fear”, Barack Obama once stated, “and we see the future as something we can shape for the better.” What does this mean considering the recent surge of populist movements and ideas in the U.S. and Germany? Many of the newly elected leaders raise doubts about the democratic process and reassert questions about national identity and mainstream culture. To what extent to these ideas – some might even refer to them as ideologies – challenge the concept of a truly diverse societies? Is this the world we have been hoping for? What can we do to change it? This project brings American and German students together to think about these burning issues, find new solutions, and get involved.

Aims and Guiding Topics:

1. The history of immigration: Both countries faced a great influx of immigrants. Why did people come to our countries and from where? And how is immigration discussed now? We will share our family biographies and learn how large-scale events influenced them. We will compare our historic narratives and see to what extent immigrants contributed to them.

2. The challenges of democracy: Who feels represented and who feels left behind? Who speaks for the “silent majority”? Whose voice is not heard? We will look at how democracy works in the U.S. and Germany. We will speak to politicians. In a simulation game, we will develop our own vision of what democracy should be like.

3. Dialogue and diversity: How do we handle diversity in our countries? How can we counter discrimination and exclusion? In practical exercises we will learn how to establish true dialogue in our environment. In field visits to NGOs and youth projects we will learn how to have an impact on current events.

4. Coherence and integration: What can “we” as individuals and in groups do to shape the future for the better? Which are the next steps to create change? In the last step, we will use the seminar experience to develop follow-up activities that can be realized in our home communities and countries.

Knowledge transfer:    

This is not just about a two-week interdisciplinary seminar. The impact of this project will thus go far beyond the duration of the actual seminar program.   

Cooperation partners: Arab American Development Corporation, Philadelphia, and West Chester University, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

    Marwan Marwan Kreidie

    Dr. Marwan Kreidie

    Lecturer in Political science, Philadelphia. Served as Commissioner of the State Civil Service Committee, Founder of multiple non-profits

    Martin Martin Kaiser

    Martin Kaiser

    Institutsleiter, Bad Bevensen. Martin Kaiser studierte Politikwissenschaft, Germanistik und Pädagogik in Bonn und in den USA (University of Kansas). Bereits als Schüler und Student sammelte er Erfahrungen im internationalen Jugendaustausch und in der deutsch-deutschen Begegnungsarbeit. Die Schwerpunkte seiner beruflichen Tätigkeit liegen in interkulturellen Trainings (Dialogarbeit mit Partnerorganisationen in Ost- und Westeuropa, Nahem Osten, USA), in der vergleichenden Geschichtsbetrachtung (Vergleich von „historic narratives“, Vergangenheitsbearbeitung), in der Demokratiebildung („education for democratic citizenship“) und im interreligiösen Dialog. Seit 2007 ist er Mitglied am Runden Tisch der Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung sowie im Vorstand des Arbeitskreises deutscher Bildungsstätten (AdB). Zahlreiche Veröffentlichungen erschienen u.a. im Wochenschau-Verlag und im Wissenschaftlichen Verlag Trier. Im Juni 2012 übernahm er die Leitung des Gustav Stresemann Instituts.

Fee: Room Costs *)
Beitrag (for participants from Germany) DZ/VP 250 €

*) All prices include German VAT.

All fees refer to program, full board - of course also vegetarian - and accommodation per person in the specified room type with shower / WC. Expressly stated contributions with accommodation in a single room (SR / FB) already include the valid single room supplement. Participants from the region who are not staying in the house: please ask for reduction.



All information about the seminar at a glance.

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Martin Kaiser

Politische Bildung & Diversity Trainings
(0 58 21) 9 55-11 1


Gustav Stresemann Institute in Niedersachsen e.V. // The European Educational and Conference Centre, Bad Bevensen

Klosterweg 4
29549 Bad Bevensen
Telephone: +49 (0) 5821-955 0
E-Mail: info@gsi-bevensen.de

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