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Seminar: What keeps society together? The challenge of diversity in the U.S. and Germany

14. Jul 2017 bis 26. Jul 2017

African Americans shot dead by white policemen in the U.S. – these and similar news again raised the issue of civil rights and equality in American society. In the presidential election campaign, many concerns about Muslims and immigrants threatening “Western” democracy have been voiced. In Germany the populist right-wing “Alternative for Germany” (AfD) gained many votes by fueling the controversial debates on immigration and diversity. Do these discussions indicate that a general consensus is lost in both countries? Are our societies falling apart? And what keeps society together in the first place?

With this project for German and American students who also come from diverse backgrounds, we will seek answers to major questions in the debate.

  1. “Winners” and “losers” in our societies: Not everybody is on the winning side of society. Who feels left behind? Right-wing parties, nationalist movements and xenophobic groups are gaining support. What are the reasons for this development? We will bring along the stories from our countries and share experiences and reflections.
  2. Basic values of our societies: Can we agree on common values in our societies? Is it democracy? Is it human rights? We will share our understanding of values and we will look at how those values are established in the rules of democracy and the structure of civil society. Pictures, images, reports and messages will help us get an idea of what shapes national and global identities.
  3. Dialogue and diversity in times of migration: Which kind of dialogue do we need in order to keep society at a balance? How can we handle the growing diversity? And how can we meet the challenges of migration in this context? Diversity training, dialogue exercises and field visits to NGOs and civil society projects will provide practical tools to handling these challenging issues.
  4. Prospects of an inclusive society: What will keep our societies together in the future? Which new frameworks and forms of dialogue can ensure inclusion in a sustainable way?

At the end of the seminar, we will transfer our learning experience to the practical level and design follow-up activities and projects of international scope. The impact of this project will thus go far beyond the duration of the actual seminar program.


Die Veranstaltung wird in Kooperation mit der West Chester University, Pennsylvania, USA, und dem Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik an der Philipps Universität Marburg veranstaltet.

Gustav Stresemann Institut in Niedersachsen e.V.

Gustav-Stresemann-Institut in Niedersachsen e.V. - Europäisches Bildungs- und Tagungshaus Bad Bevensen

Klosterweg 4, 29549 Bad Bevensen