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"The Challenge of Change." Politics and Religion in Europe and the Arab World
Start date: Sep 1, 2015, End date: Feb 29, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The challenge of change. Politics and religion in Europe and the Arab world Politics and religion are two different things. Are they? Have they always been? There are so many religious conflicts in the world. Are there? We will find answers to those questions with groups from Europe (Germany, Poland, Lithuania) and the Arab world (Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan). This is a project that picks up burning issues of political change, focusing on four different aspects: 1. The power of change: How did people fight for changes from dictatorship to democracy? Which means did they choose? Which role did religious groups play in this context? In this part participants will present the stories of their countries. 2. The power of dialogue: Who can speak with whom? How can we establish an appreciative culture of communication? What do we need in order to cope with diversity and pluralism? In this part we will have a practical training in dialogue and conflict resolution. 3. The power of civil society: How did people establish civil society in each country? How did religious and secular groups cooperate in this process? In this part we will exchange experiences of NGOs and visit inspiring projects. 4. The power of visions: What will be our next steps in strengthening democracy? Which part will politics and religion play in this context? Participants with different backgrounds will help us to find answers and provide the ground for further cooperation. There will be 6 participants from each country plus one team member, all of them activists of civil society. As a result we will work out dialogue rules and skills, approaches on conflict resolution especially in the overlapping fields of religion and politics with their high potential for conflict and blockade of democratic development. Going home from this project participants will have gained experiences, skills and techniques to work on improvements in those highly sensitive and controversial fields. Long-term benefits will be visible in the impact on local structures and the continuation of cooperation within the consortium. Experiences from the past proved that this is possible. Thus, we will follow the path that we started on together.

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