9. Disseminate ideas and methods even further
The Wir Sind Europa (We are Europe) team has been on the road in different cities since July 2017. At our “Open Space Europe” events, we’ve seen a number of exciting debates take place on the future of Europe. These encounters create new connections and spheres of action for all participants. We are always happy to pass on any knowledge and experience we gain, thus helping to make sure that Europe receives new strength from below. .
The strength of our concept
Our core event is the “Open Space Europe”, a type of roundtable discussion where people with different backgrounds and experiences come together to discuss Europe with one another. We also make sure that representatives of EU and state politics are present. The annual State of Europe Speech in Berlin and the Humboldt Lectures on Europe, which take place several times a year, also bring civil society and the political sphere closer to one another. In order to be able to reach people who would otherwise not be able to attend the event, we contact local media in advance and invite journalists to take part in the events and report on them afterwards. We also use social media to give people all over the world an opportunity to speak their mind.
The uncertainty we felt at the first event was gradually replaced by rising levels of experience. A well-functioning team eventually developed out of our initially quite motley group of project members from different fields. This group is getting better and better every day at organising and hosting the events and complementing each other’s work. At all times, we seek to cultivate an open culture of debate with the widest possible breadth of opinions. Indeed, the more diverse the backgrounds of the participants, the more exciting the discussions.
In addition to the events we organise ourselves, we make use of every opportunity we get to share our findings and experiences at public events: for example with stands at public festivals, at EU events as well as at conferences of multipliers in other European cities.
At the EuroPCom tradeshow in Brussels, we were able to introduce our project to a wide target group of EU communication experts and give them a sense of the experiences we gained with our on-site debates and workshops. Wir sind Europa was also a guest at the “EU Take The Initiative” conference organised by the European Commission in Vienna, where we spotlighted our methods and techniques for more citizen participation in political decision-making. With our booth at the 2018 Lollapalooza Festival in Berlin, we had the opportunity to present our project to thousands of festival-goers.
Exciting and constructive discussions
Everywhere we go, we notice that people appreciate and share our ideas – even in the more distant corners of Europe. In Tbilisi, we are currently working on a series of workshops with Georgian youths. While there, we met ambitious and curious young Europeans who want to make a positive contribution to a common European future. We also took part in a panel at an international conference called “Challenges of Non-formal Education”: it provided an excellent opportunity to showcase Wir sind Europa among local and national representatives drawn from the worlds of politics, culture and media.
Both the integration of existing networks, such as the European Capitals of Culture, and the networking of civil society organisations as on-site multipliers have proven effective. At the locations themselves, we were able to launch exciting and constructive discussions that otherwise might not have taken place. As we learned time and again, despite all the criticism, the overwhelming majority of people experience Europe as a self-evident aspect of their lives and look to the future with confidence.