Christoph Bruners

VISION:INKLUSION: Expert group takes up its work

The IJAB project VISION:INKLUSION was already launched in September 2015. Now a group of experts met for the first time in Cologne to accompany, advise and shape the project.

Christof Kriege, Elżbieta Kosek, Christian Papadopoulos, Ulrike Werner, Rebecca Daniel, Stefanie Vogt, Andreas Gaudzinski, Christoph Bruners (IJAB) und Alexander Westheide (v.l.n.r.)

Over the next two years, the IJAB project VISION:INKLUSION will develop an inclusion strategy for international youth work.  Besides international input, the project will also gather, discuss and document input and experiences from German contributors. Specialist support will come from a group of experts that recently held its inaugural meeting at the youth hostel in Cologne-Deutz. The experts in question include representatives of the international youth work scene, community organisations, disability groups, the research community and local authorities, all of whom are involved in implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and/or mainstreaming inclusion in non-formal educational contexts.

After being welcomed by project managers Ulrike Werner and Christoph Bruners, followed by an introduction to the structure of the first meeting, work began in earnest with a round of introductions from all eleven participating experts. All those present described their institutional and specialist backgrounds and also mentioned any ongoing activities in the field of inclusion. It was soon clear that the participants all came from a different background and each offered their own specific expertise, which will be very helpful as the group embarks on its mission.

Ulrike Werner gave an overview of the composition of the group, its declared purpose and the tasks it faces, and described the main objectives on the agenda, namely to provide specialist support and technical input to the VISION:INKLUSION project, create networks, and identify synergies. In this regard, the expert group will function as a point of liaison with various areas of society. The participants agreed to invite additional experts to their future meetings, so they can contribute input to the group’s work depending on the issues it will be exploring at the time.

Then, the group briefly reviewed the kick-off event in September 2015 in Berlin, which was an opportunity to reflect on what was said and done on that occasion and to have an initial discussion of the intersessional meeting which will be held this year. Scheduled to take place in Mainz, Germany on 21-22 May, this international meeting will primarily be an opportunity for dialogue between organisations in countries that have already gathered experience with implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the youth field. Contacts to organisations abroad are already in place that were established at previous events.

However, where the Mainz meeting is concerned, the international contacts of the expert group members will be especially relevant.

One of the main points on the agenda of the inaugural meeting in Cologne was a discussion of the most important elements of an inclusion strategy. In this regard, VISION:INKLUSION looks towards the dimensions mentioned in the Index for Inclusion: create inclusive cultures; establish inclusive structures; and develop inclusive practices. Using this structure as guidance, the group produced a mindmap featuring the significant aspects of the three dimensions. Again, the participants’ diverse backgrounds and experience provided valuable input to the discussion.

This inaugural meeting clearly demonstrates that setting up this working group was the right thing to do.  It is the first group of its kind in the international youth work community. Besides building a network, the expert group will provide a setting in which a shared plan of action for international youth work can be developed. This makes the group a vital element of VISION:INKLUSION. Its work will continue at the next meeting, which has already been scheduled.

Members of the expert group are: Aktion Mensch | Alexander Westheide, BAG Kathol. Jugendreisen – Projekt „Einfach weg  Auf zu inklusiven Kinder- und Jugendreisen“ | Martina Drabner and Guido Frank, bezev – Kompetenzzentrum „weltwärts alle inklusive!“ | Rebecca Daniel, BMFSFJ | Andrea Balbach, Designbar Consulting – barrierefrei gestalten und kommunizieren | Christian Papadopoulos, Deutsche Gehörlosen Jugend | Robert Jasko and Andreas Gaudzinski, IJAB | Ulrike Werner and Christoph Bruners, Kreisau-Initiative e.V. | Elżbieta Kosek, Nationalagentur JUGEND für Europa | Christof Kriege, TH Köln | Stefanie Vogt and Judith Dubiski.

Lizenz: INT 3.0 – Namensnennung – nicht kommerziell CC BY-NC 3.0

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