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Source: Koerber Foundation The measures to combat Covid-19 are currently hindering cross-border youth encounters. International understanding without real encounter – how is that supposed to work?

Viewpoint of Katja Fausser, EUSTORY program manager “The subject of dealing with a painful past‘ is currently very relevant for us in Belarus. At the event, I am also looking for ways for myself and my compatriots how we can manage to look back on the current situation in the country at some point without anger. «How important it is for young people to deal with questions of history and identity Countries that are currently in a political and social crisis situation, underlines the statement made by a young Belarusian from her application for a cross-border youth exchange that the Körber Foundation originally wanted to organize in Berlin with partners in autumn 2020 Covid-19 is currently hindering the opportunities for international understanding and the cross-border exchange of young people around the world. Like all European youth and exchange organizations and many other youth education organizations, the Körber Foundation had to cancel its programs in the originally planned format. Including the EUSTORY Summit, a history festival organized together with many partners for over 100 history-loving 16-25 year olds from the EUSTORY network. An entire industry is currently having to reinvent itself. Understanding without real encounters – how should that work? Knowledge acquisition, professional exchange, discussions, getting to know and questioning your own identity better, intercultural experiences, building friendships with people from other countries or experiences with (foreign) languages, for these and others Processes in the context of encounters have to be found and recomposed in digital formats. At the eCommemoration Campus “Beyond the Crisis”, which the Körber Foundation is organizing this year instead of the EUSTORY Summit, two months have been set for all of this. During this time, virtual content-related workshop sessions take place as well as eKlönschnack or game evenings, in which the participants contribute a lot about themselves, their everyday life or their culture.An advantage for working with Belarus However, the need to develop digital formats exerted by Corona is currently at least enormous Advantage: This autumn, the registered young people from Belarus will be able to participate despite the fragile security situation in the country. And Belarus is currently very interested in cross-border exchanges and the possibility of contact with young people from other countries. However, the organizers and participating educators of an online history camp starting in mid-October will still have to solve a multitude of challenges: The temporary blocking of the Internet in Belarus will probably make communication more difficult, and arrests are already being made among the Belarusian partners of the cooperation The experiences of the next few weeks and months will form the basis for developing future concepts for international understanding that can provide new answers to barriers such as visa restrictions, political conflicts or individual travel restrictions for individual participants. At the same time, once the pandemic has been overcome, personal encounters will probably be valued much more strongly if they are finally possible again. It is an opportunity to shape this time more consciously in the future. Then hopefully again with a large delegation from Belarus.


EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

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