The participants visited Wednesday the governor and the mayor to get an insight in the work of the local authorities. A theme in the dialogue was the differences between the countries on how the local authorities work and how they are governed. Another theme was the political situation in Turkey, e.g. the integration of Turkey in the EU.
Wednesday there was an exercise about dialogue challenges. The participants had to place them self physical on a line depending on whether they agreed or disagreed on different statements. So if you agreed on a specific statement you placed yourself in one end. If you disagreed you placed yourself in the other end. There was also an opportunity to place yourself somewhere between agree and disagree.
The statements were regarding politics, religion, ethnicity and social position:
- Everyone (also extremists) have a right to say what they want in the public
- I would like to have a personal dialogue with a nazist
- It should be possible to argue with religious arguments in the public
- There should be a clear line between religion and the state
- Ethnic minorities should have special rights in the legislation, e.g. right to speak their own language and representation in the political system
- Ethnic minorities should as much as possible adopt to the majority culture
- The state should secure that neighborhoods are mixed with poor and rich people
- The state should as much as possible secure an equal society regarding social, economic and cultural capital
As a part of the group building activities the participants made the exercise The Cultural Boat. The exercise was about experiencing and reflecting stereotypes. The participants was divided into groups and each group got a label, e.g. religious people and progressive people. Then the groups got some time for preparing – finding clothes, finding out how they speak and behave, etc. After that they got the task: ‘The end of the World is coming after 45 min. The only way to survive is to build one boat for everyone and to fit in to it.’
Afterwards there was a common reflection about the experiences and perspectives of the exercise. Some of the experiences was the direct clashes between the different groups and that everyone’s focus point was to protect their own identity and not solve the common task. Though, at last they overcame the differences and succeed with the task. The perspective was that the exercise indicated that you need to have a common goal if you want to create connections between people with different life stances. The challenge is to find that common goal.
This exercise was on Wednesday. We were separated in groups coming from the same country, and the main task was to make a little theater show about one conflict in our country, which took place recently . Everybody prepared for it really hard, because everybody felt the importance of this roleplay. It didn’t only show our personal opinion about topics, but it showed our home countries’ conflicts.
The Hungarian team presented first. Their roleplay was about the Hungarian elections. After the first world war, 2/3 of Hungary got dis-attached, so many Hungarian inhabitants are living in the neighboring countries also nowadays. Until 4 years ago there were discriminated against their voting rights, but now they can vote for Hungary’s election finally too.
The Greek team made a show about the unemployment in Greece and the appearance of radical parties such as the Golden Dawn. The Turkish team presented about the conflicts in 2013 about the Gezi Park and the protests at Taksim Square against the government. The Danish team performed a role play about the homosexuals marriage and the religious acceptance of it.
After every role play we discussed the performances and the conflicts, it was really interesting to see, how the participants from the different countries reacted to the other countries conflicts. Every team played their role play twice, and during the second performance all participants were allowed to jump into the performers role, and act like they would have acted, if they would have been in the real situation and conflict.They had new ideas to solve the problems although some of the conflicts were already solved at the time of our presentation. This task represented to me the importance of dialogue. Not only between the participants, but also between nations. Often the out-standers are those, who have the right ideas to solve the problems. We shouldn’t underestimate the power of different opinions, they can lead us to the solution.