Bilateral discussion workshop series (Romania/Hungary)

A project by Katja Lasch and Lukas Wiesehöfer

Host organizations: German Cultural Center Cluj-Napoca and German Cultural Forum Debrecen

March 2008 to March 2009, DAB Székhaz, Debrecen (Hungary), and German Cultural Center in Cluj-Napoca (Romania)

Students from Cluj-Napoca and Debrecen met on several occasions to discuss various topics such as "politics and morals" or "political participation." The goal was to become better informed as to the current socio-political situations in the others' respective countries, to try out and practice patterns and methods for discussion, and, last but not least, to work together in a scholarly way using the German language.

Experts from Germany were invited to each of the workshops to bring a third perspective into play. The participants engaged actively by giving speeches: One day, the participants gave presentations describing the situation in their own countries. They had prepared these prior to the event. These presentations sparked lively discussions on similarities and differences, solutions and opportunities. The intense day concluded with a panel discussion in which participants had to represent a position assigned to them and defend it against other people, experts, and the audience. At another point, a simulation was conducted based on a lecture and discussion from the previous day. In this simulated city council decision, some participants learned how difficult it is to exert influence as engaged citizens or stakeholders, while others learned how difficult it is as voting politicians to enforce one's own preferences, to find compromises, and to cope with sudden and unforeseen difficulties.

With support from: Institute for Political Science at the University of Debrecen (László Balogh), DAAD editorial office of the Babeş-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca (Karin Schlüter), Federal Foreign Office of Germany, Robert Bosch Stiftung, DEPOLIT