Learning about diverse civil society initiatives on the local level and welcoming them to our gathering – that was the main objective of the meeting of the German network of the Anna Lindh Foundation that took place September 25th /26th 2022 in Cologne.
Since Cologne is known for an active and diverse urban civil society, we invited local organisations active in that field to take part and to meet our members. We started by getting to know our hosting town on the “city district walk”, led by activist Gabi Linde. Our route led us to civic initiatives that shape urban living-together, from the parklet "Martins Plätzchen" to "Uncle Tan's Kiosk" and the community music room "Das Ohr". We are grateful that Birgit Ellinghaus welcomed us to our member organisation alba Kultur.
Hosted by the youth hostel Köln-Riehl, the meeting included an introductory session for newcomers and organisations who want to become members, followed by a discussion led by Exec. Director Josep Ferré who joined us online. As one of the highlights members and guests presented their activities showing the value and engagement that underlie citizens’ initiatives.
For our “neighbourhood-afternoon”, we welcomed Katharina Roth, managing director of the nebenan.de foundation, that is known for their annual neighborhood award and their parent company’s neighborhood app. Inspired by Katarina’s facts, figures and stories, participants then discussed proposals of the ALF-coordinators and developed ideas for future common network activities, like a virtual penpal-tandem program and a possible new edition of “Mediterranean on the spot”.