In recent years we have carried out a series of projects with students from different universities and backgrounds. This projects were about Mozambique, India, Madagascar and furthermore it was possible to organize projects in Skopje (Northern Macedonia), Marrakech (Morocco) and Zurich (Switzerland) together with local universities. In all these projects the discussions between students of different origins and cultures were an enriching result. The fact to constructively engage with other realities puts the partners in a situation of reflection which leads to understanding and new experiences and often results in rethinking the own convictions and concepts.
Covid-19 has forced us to move our lectures, projects and other activities to the internet. The results were very positive, and above all, it became clear that it is possible to work together without necessarily being in the same place. Corona has productively promoted the idea of this concept for an active exchange between institutions and people.
AN ONLINE EXCHANGE PROGRAM BETWEEN STUDENTS AND LECTURERS FROM THE ARABIC WORLD (NORTH AFRICA AND MIDDLE EAST) AND EUROPE.
For centuries, a very important and constructive exchange took place between the Arab World and Europe. The cultures, on both sides of the Mediterranean, are built on similar, partly common grounds. In the current political situation, the relations between the Arab World and Europe are critical. A constructive dialog with these countries is important to foster mutual understanding and to reduce prejudice. In particular, the exchange between students and the joint collaboration of economic, social and cultural topics across linguistic, social and religious boundaries is intended to generate experiences that enable a constructive, productive coexistence. To achieve this, an active dialogue is necessary, especially between young people which are studying in similar areas.
The orientation of the project should be designed in such a way that all partners involved can propose and jointly decide on the topics to be addressed. The aim is to ensure that the project addresses relevant topics of common interest and to create a community for the exchange of ideas and concepts across continents, cultures and languages.
The idea of a transcultural lecture series arose from the experience with a project with students of ÉSAV in Marrakech. Four lectures on a common topic were organized which then were covered by lecturers from Cairo, Beirut, Marrakech and Zurich. This approach came to extremely positive results, because the different points of view combined have led to completely new insights.
This then inspired the idea of developing a lecture series in two phases. In a first phase in autumn 2020, an online conference has be organized between the participating institutions to get to know each other and to agree on the next steps of the project:
Presentations of the participating institutions with focus on interests and topics (see partner institutions).
In a final conference, a first joint program for the spring semester 2021 was decided and subsequently implemented.
In spring 2021 a regular series of lectures has be conducted. Each institution organized one or two contributions on the jointly defined topic in the first phase. Parallel to the students' project work, a number of lectures were organized as a stimulus to the overall theme. In this way, new and interesting inputs were created (see lecture series), which in turn inspired the work of the students (see students projects).