Engaging youth for peace in Germany

Soccer game during a workshop at one of the model schools for peace education in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany. Soccer game during a workshop at one of the model schools for peace education in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany. Image: Berghof Foundation

Fake news and disinformation, hate speech, populism and extremism – during 2019 our Peace Education and Global Learning team dealt with these challenges more intensively than ever before.

Against this background, the Berghof Foundation supported and accompanied youth in several projects in Germany so that young people could recognise peace and nonviolence as important values in their lives. The projects are based on a participatory, inclusive approach. This means that they are not only developed for young people, but above all together with young people. The appreciation for the approach taken in these projects is growing.

My worldview became a bit better through the workshop. It was like a light at the end of the tunnel.Student after a Peace Counts Workshop held at a school

In December, our project Streitkultur 3.0 (Culture of Conflict 3.0) received the "Wirkt-Siegel" seal of impact from the German non-profit PHINEO. The seal is awarded to non-profits and projects that demonstrate effective social commitment. The project works to sensitise young people to hatred, discrimination, disinformation and agitation on the web. Our team works with participants in the project to develop strategies, youth-focused approaches and learning materials that strengthen their media literacy and deal with hatred and disinformation online together.

The Service Centre Peace Education strengthens peace education at schools in the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. The Berghof Foundation is responsible for this centre together with the State Agency for Civic Education and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports Baden-Wuerttemberg. It supports teachers in the preparation of lessons and projects, offers training activities, and develops learning materials on the topics of war and peace, conflict and violence. 2019 saw several schools in this populous state selected as model institutes for peace education for the first time.

In our online portal for children we answered kids’ questions about conflict, violence and peace as well as reported on the dangers of climate change and the goals of the Fridays for Future movement.

By integrating these narratives on the web and institutionally, young people can confront their own biases and fears, and as a result, reflect on peaceful coexistence in schools, their own society, and the wider world.

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