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"Wo schlägt mein Herz?"500 Jahre Ghetto von Venedig im Spiegel heutiger Fluchtbewegungen
Start date: Aug 1, 2016, End date: Jan 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

he project “Where Does my Heart Belong? Venice Ghetto 500 in Mirroring of the today's Refugee Movements” (01.08.16 - 31.01.17) has as its main purpose in the implementation of an ten-day international youth camp.The program of this camp will focus on chosen aspects of Jewish and European history as well as on movements and questions of migration, refugees, diversity and integration. It will take place in August at Finowfurt, in the federal state of Brandenburg, Germany.The first part of the title is meant as a motto and was inspired by lines from a poem by Jehuda ha-Levi, a Jewish philosopher and poet of the middle ages: “My heart is in the East, / while I live in the far West“– words that express the feeling of being torn between two places experienced by many migrants in the past and to this day.PARTICIPANTS60 teenagers (aged 13-17; with a fair gender balance) with 20 each coming from Germany, Israel and Russia. While most of them will have a Jewish background, they will also represent a number of language and cultural communities. At least half of them will know migration from personal or family experience. Participants must apply and will be chosen on grounds of their multilingualism, attitude and interest in history, culture, and society.PROJECT BACKGROUNDImmigration and integration are major issues in the three home countries of both the participants and the implementing organizations (all of which have a long-time experience in youth work). Young people are faced with controversial public debates on these questions and have to find their own point of view, while also shaping their own cultural identity. It is against this background that our project links up two central topics: (a) the history of the Jewish ghetto of Venice (thereby marking the 500th anniversary of its foundation in 1516) and (2) present-day refugee movements. The link between them is to be found in the fact that many refugees/migrants from other European regions came to live in the Venice ghetto. It was a place where languages and cultural traditions mingled and where quite successful integration strategies were developed. All of this can be compared in many ways with the situation of refugees/migrants today (motives, conflicts, possible solutions, exclusion/inclusion, diversity. Our youth camp will tackle these questions with a focus on migration and the lack of a real and reliable home country as an integral part of Jewish history, and on refugee movements and the intercultural experience in the participants’ home countries.OBJECTIVESThe main objectives are: to expand the participants’ knowledge of Jewish and European history (esp. of the ghetto) and of refugee movements in the past and the presence; to deepen their appreciation of such values as tolerance, empathy, democratic responsibility, culture of remembrance and intercultural competence; to support them in their search for a personal identity; to strengthen their readiness to help refugees or the socially weak; to foster their intellectual and creative talents and professional skills.PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION The project has duration of six months and consists of two phases. In the forefront, three meetings of the international project team and one for the participants in each of the three countries help to plan and to prepare the youth meeting. Phase 1 will see the implementation of the camp (1.8.-10.8.), during which the participants will work on the two major topics of the project. In the process, the team will use a wide range of methods of informal education. Phase 2 will be dedicated to follow-up procedures, evaluation and documentation.ACTIVITIESHistory workshops, seminars, discussions, rhetorical training, media analysis, creative/arts workshops, role playing and simulations, excursions, meetings with teenage refugees in Berlin, participation in a ceremony at a Jewish memorial with holocaust witnesses, and more. Participants will be encouraged to contribute to both content and form of the program with critical feed-back and their own ideas. RESULTS, LONG-TERM BENEFITThe participants will acquire knowledge, special abilities and constructive attitudes that will have a positive impact on how they will think and act in society (these results being made visible in their feedback and creative works). They are expected to participate in future projects in the fields of refugee relief, integration or cultural diversity in Germany, Israel and Russia and to pass on what they have learnt to their peers at home. The implementing organizations will profit from enlarged networking and professional exchange.Extensive documentation of the project in the form of reports, videos and expositions will be presented via nternet, presentations, brochures, the press etc. to colleagues and the general public such as to promote the objectives and values of the project and to present a format for successful iintercultural communication.

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