The ALF Network in Germany collaborated on large scale cross-cultural dialogue programmes with civil society partners in countries including Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine and Turkey. The German network is headed by the Goethe-Institut e.V., since March 2012 the ZAK | Center for Cultural and General Studies has been the coordinator of the German network of the Anna Lindh Foundation.
The Head of Network, Goethe Institute, is the Federal Republic of Germany’s cultural institute, which is active worldwide. They promote the knowledge of the German language abroad and encourage international cultural exchange. The ZAK as coordinator of the Network is a central academic unit at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. The ZAK’s concept is based on three pillars: interdisciplinarity, applied research in cultural studies, and public science. About 170 members, including public institutions, NGOs, welfare associations, political and church organisations, theatres, cultural organisations, as well as emerging initiatives, are part of our Network. In cooperation with member bodies of the ALF, they work on culturally and politically relevant topics concerning the intercultural dialogue between EU-states and Mediterranean countries to enhance the Network’s visibility of European-Arabic topics in the public discussion.
We foster our Network via annual Network Meetings to which all of the organisations are invited to participate in. Furthermore, we developed a Cluster System that consists of three parts: ‘Migration’, ‘Science’ and ‘Arts and Culture’. These meetings fulfill crucial aims: on the one hand, they have proved to be a successful approach with regards to network-internal cooperation, encounters, and consolidation of the network, and on the other hand with regards to tackling intercultural challenges while respecting cultural diversity.
Through the ALF support scheme our Network Intercultural Action “Mediterranean on the Spot” serves – each year under another specific theme in the context of the Anna Lindh Foundation – as a framework, to which all network members can contribute their own ideas, events, and expertise. As a recognition value, we use a consistent graphic design and deliver an overall frame with our blog. In return, the content as well as the events are organised, prepared and conducted by our members. Every organisation can contribute its own event. “With this approach, the topic is dealt with in a multi-perspective way, which allows for doing the complex subject matter justice and for winning a wide scope of public attention throughout Germany”, states Prof. Dr. Caroline Y. Robertson-von Trotha, coordinator of the German Network. The nationwide series of events, which have been kicked off every autumn since 2011, range from artistic to scientific and political perspectives to cover the current topics in their great complexity. Our main idea is to have a series of events thatcover a specific relevant theme under the overriding topic of cultural diversity and migration each year to contribute to current debates and to provide continuity regarding the visibility of the ALF in Germany in turbulent times. Over the last four years, the topics have been “Mediterranean on the Spot” (2011), “Migration and Flight” (2012), “Active Diversity – and its Limits” (2013), “Spaces of Encounter” (2014) and “New Neighbourships” (2015/2016).
“Mediterranean on the Spot” is a tool to initiate symbioses that integrate many of our members according to their capacities and local contexts. By participating in one or more of the activities, the members are to be encouraged to find their special field of interest, to be active in the Network, and to intensify their support for its development. A connecting element inspired by the idea behind the passing of the Olympic torch “carries” and connects the emerging ideas and events of the German Network. A small suitcase containing a camcorder “travels” from one action to another and collects impressions of the respective events.
The Anna Lindh Foundation provides logistical and operational support to the National Network through the Network Coordination Support (NCS).