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Dienstag, 19. Juli 2011

Interkulturelles Seminar

posted by Miriam & Noor

posted by Nora & Hala

Our Palestinian guests arrived in Hannover on Monday morning, the 11th of July. After their trip, which took them more than 24 hours, they were very tired and that’s why we didn’t have lots of plans for the first day. The headmaster of the Anne-Frank-School, Dr. Jutta Obbelode, welcomed our guests, we had a walk around our school and after that Oguz and Eli, two German students, showed our guests the city of Gütersloh.

 The real program started the next day with Scot McElvany, an American theatre maker who lives in Berlin. Together with him the German and the Palestinian group did an intercultural seminary on Tuesday and Wednesday. We were guests in the house of  the YMCA (CVJM) in Gütersloh. 

 First of all he talked with us about communication and how it works. We began with some exercises and games to learn what the important skills of communication are.
He wanted us to realize that every one of us is a unique personality and it is not important where we come from.
This way we got to know each other better and ,at the same time, worked out differences and similarities.

It is important to say that the seminary wasn’t as theoretic as lessons at school usually are. There were a lot of activities and we really enjoyed the exercises and games as you can see in the photos. 



On Wednesday our topic were cultural differences, similarities and stereotypes. We split the group in two Palestinian and two German subgroups. One Palestinian group should present their own culture in three silent images, the other the German culture. The Germans should do the same. This method is called statue theatre.

Talking about these images we found out that some stereotypes are right and some are only based on prejudices. For example, punctuality seems to be typically German characteristic. On the other hand, it is a prejudice that all Germans drink a lot of beer all the time. At least not all our German students behave like that.


Very interesting was the exercise when we tried to make a silent image with objects like chairs, for instance, to illustrate the relationship between Palestine and Israel. The Palestinians put one chair on a table which represented Israel. On the ground, in front of the table, they put another chair which represented Palestine. That way they expressed the feeling of helplessness and powerlessness in front of Israel. After that we had a long discussion of how to show the German or European opinion and attitude towards that conflict. What is the German position towards this conflict? As a result we said that this question is not easy to answer because the opinion of the German society on this issue is quite varied. So we put one chair next to the Israeli side, representing the German politicians and the government, maybe some evangelical groups too. Another chair was a little closer to the Palestinian chair on the floor. A third chair was positioned with its back to all the other chairs, possibly standing for the German majority, people who are not interested in or don’t understand this conflict. We talked about the German fear to speak out clearly that what happens in the occupied Palestinian territories is a great injustice done by the Israeli government to the Palestinian people. We also talked about the fear of being blackened as an anti-Semite for criticizing the Israeli government. 

All in all, we thank Scott for visiting us in Gütersloh and helping us to see the differences and similarities of our cultures and to discuss difficult questions in a very playful way.

Miriam & Noor,  Nora & Hala