Cathrin Piesche

Headline theme of the latest IJAB journal: Shifting perspectives

International youth work has much to do with moving away from familiar perspectives and opening up to alternative opinions and attitudes. Against the backdrop of current political developments, the articles following our headline theme explore how shifting one's perspectives can impact positively on our increasingly diverse society.

BildImage: Robertba/Flickr   Lizenz: INT 3.0 – Namensnennung – nicht kommerziell – keine Bearbeitung CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

Sometimes we're surprised at how different things appear if we look at them from an unfamiliar angle. Such a shift in perspective doesn't just help us to discover a new side to familiar situations or to recognise more than one aspect of something we don't know. It also pushes us into reflecting and reviewing our own attitudes – and maybe reconsidering them.

International youth work has much to do with moving away from familiar perspectives and opening up to alternative opinions and attitudes. Against the backdrop of current political developments such as the rise in migration, the polarisation of society, and increasingly nationalist tendencies, the articles following our headline theme explore how shifting one's perspective can impact positively on our increasingly diverse society.

The series begins with a piece by Professor Peter Nick from Kempten University of Applied Sciences, who explores the meaning of the term "alienness" and the importance of intercultural skills, which are crucial when living in a culturally diverse society. Dr Jens Schneider, a migration researcher at the University of Osnabrück, goes one step further: he believes it is time to redefine what is means to "be German" and to prepare for the impending superdiversity in our society. Yet another perspective is contributed by Professor Werner Patzelt from the University of Dresden, who explains why he believes that xenophobia and resentment are more prevalent in the east of Germany than in the west.

Martin Patzelt, a former Lord Mayor of the east German city of Frankfurt/Order and a Member of the German Bundestag, is convinced that a change in perspective is helpful in addressing fears and discovering new solutions – an experience he has had first hand in working with refugees. The head of ConAct, Christine Mähler, provides an impressive account of how strongly German-Israeli cooperation is influenced by pre-fabricated attitudes, and what young people are doing to break them down and reflect them. Her views are echoed in a piece by two young Israelis who are currently completing a volunteer placement in Germany. The series concludes with an external perspective ¬– an article by Stavroula Gatsou and Giota Gatsi, who work with young refugees in Greece.

For the "Nachgefragt" section of this issue, we interviewed our partners in Germany and abroad to ask them how current political developments in Europe are impacting on youth exchange and youth policy cooperation. The section "Internationale Zusammenarbeit" brings readers up to date on two interesting developments: just before this issue went to print, an agreement to establish a Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) for the Western Balkans was about to be signed – plus the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) launched an African-German Youth Initiative as well as a new budget line for non-formal youth exchange schemes in connection with the 2030 Agenda.

This issue's section "Internationale Jugendarbeit weiterentwickeln" covers news on youth participation, the internationalisation of organisations, and recognition. As always, IJAB journal concludes with an update on recent activities and developments in the international youth work community, including a report on the 20th anniversary of Eurodesk Germany.

>> Click here to download or order the new edition of IJAB journal  

[excerpt from the editorial by Marie-Luise Dreber, Director of IJAB]

Lizenz: INT 3.0 – Namensnennung CC BY 3.0


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