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KölnAlumni WELTWEIT Summer Schools
 

KölnAlumni WELTWEIT Summer School

Bilder der 9. KölnAlumni WELTWEIT Summer School "Dimensionen sozialer Ungleichheit"

expand: Foto: Marco Piecuch
Foto: Marco Piecuch

 

Summer School 2016 on “Social Inequality and Intercultural Education”

For the eighth time this summer, the University of Cologne (UoC) is looking forward to welcoming 30 (international) alumni who will return to their Alma Mater, the UoC, for a summer school hosted by the network KölnAlumni WELTWEIT (Cologne Alumni Worldwide). The majority of the ambitious participants, who are of diverse age groups, already is part of the professional world. They come from 25 different countries and are representatives of various disciplines. Teaming up with UoC researchers as well as external guests from 25 – 29 July the international alumni will discuss the issue of “Social Inequality and Intercultural Education” from an interdisciplinary perspective and gain valuable insight into the work of several Cologne-based initiatives and associations.

In doing so we want to fulfill with an important and fundamental societal obligation, which simultaneously constitutes a didactical focus and research emphasis across faculties of the UoC and as well as a major role in the UoC’s future-focused concept funded by the excellence initiative. Thus, the summer school’s topic ties in with the “Kompetenzfeld V” as well as the research magazine “Migration” of the UoC. The latter aims its activities at tapping into new fields of research on inequality, migration and intercultural education. Considering the intersection of educational and social inequalities particularly interdisciplinary approaches in pedagogy and social sciences gain in importance. Therefore, the Kompetenzfeld, for instance, acquires internationally comparable data in its studies. In order to detect mechanisms which convert differences into inequalities in institutionalized educational contexts the research focuses on the nature of several places of scholastic, extracurricular and tertiary areas where intercultural education plays a pivotal role.

Issues in regards to social inequalities and intercultural education are highly relevant for scientific, education political and societal discourses, which compose an internationally competitive research focus of the UoC. Social inequalities are intertwined with societal (power) structures and practices and are (re-)produced in the context of educational institutions, as well. Unanimously, the decrease of social inequalities and uneven educational opportunities is considered a main societal and political goal, not just in Germany but worldwide. In what way though are the emergence and reproduction of social inequalities in regards to entities as social-economic backgrounds, ethnic affiliation, language(s), religion, gender, (dis)ability, age, etc. interrelated with structures, discourses and practices within the scholastic and extracurricular education? How do players within education encounter and handle relevant challenges of diversity whilst aiming for equal opportunities and educational justice? In the light of this questioning, findings of the 2015 Summer School on “Gender and Diversity” can be made use of. Indeed this year’s summer school can draw on the preceding alumni workshop, however, the topic holds a vast potential to be further examined from the perspectives of religious, migration, and educational research.

The objective is to ensure a preferably extensive knowledge transfer through current and excellent didactic foci and research emphases of various faculties in the context of an interdisciplinary workshop. Still, also external institutions and initiatives will be included into this dialogue and process of competence enhancement. Hence, under the special direction of Prof. Friedrichs this year’s participants will go on excursions through Cologne’s “Veedel” (districts) and will be able to discuss, amongst other issues, child poverty in Cologne Kalk and the increasing gentrification of Cologne Deutz/Mühlheim. Representatives of the associations “Kindernöte e.V.”, the “Kalker Mittagstisch e.V.”, the “LVR-Landesjugendamtes NRW” (North-Rhine Westphalian Child Protective Services), the “Amt für Stadtentwicklung Köln” (Department for City Development Cologne), and more, will enrich the summer school’s theoretical research perspective with their expertise gained in practice.

Nevertheless, particularly important will be the exchange amongst the students themselves as well as with peers of other summer schools. This year the 25 July will be the simultaneous inauguration of two workshops under the umbrella brand of the Cologne Summer Schools. Besides the summer program on “Social Inequality and Intercultural Education” the three-week long “Cologne Summer School on Multidisciplinary Ageing Research“ will be kicked off in the last week of July 2016 as well. Participants will not just be able to connect with each other as well as (international) representatives of the UoC during the shared opening and welcome ceremony but also on the especially organized communal dinner, which will bring together all participants of both summer schools for one evening again. For this “International Dinner” all participants are welcome to contribute food and drinks typical for their culture and native countries and in return indulge in typical Cologne dishes donated by the senior citizen network “Seniorennetzwerk Köln Nord/Süd” whose members will also take part in this multicultural evening and intercultural exchange. The thematic interweaving of ageing research, demographic change as well as chances and challenges of a successful culture of integration in times of omnipresent refugee crises will, hopefully, come to life this way.

Additionally, the biographic backgrounds of the alumni will be integrated into the summer school’s program since some of the student will give insight into the social inequalities present in their native countries at the beginning of the program. An American UoC alumni, for instance, will expand on the current political conflicts in the U.S. and the increasing social issues caused by those.
During this summer school the international alumni will receive the opportunity intensify their research interests rooted in the UoC and interact with “their” Cologne from a new and different angle. That way they will extend their competences in detecting issues of social inequities, reflecting critically on them and working out solutions. Similarly the challenges of operating in intercultural contexts will play an essential role. An intercultural training directed by Victoria Busch, brand coordinator of the Cologne Summer Schools, will round off the program in that regard. The job-related advanced training supports all participants to campaign for a successful cooperation within their social environment, society and globalized workplace. Social immobility shall be diminished and values, which are represented by the multicultural city of Cologne and the international UoC alumni who act as multipliers and ambassadors, will echo around the world. We are looking forward to an exciting week and an fruitful exchange amongst all participants!

Some photos of the summer school 2016 on "Social Inequality and Intercultural Education"

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Some photos of the summer school 2015 on "gender and diversity"

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Report about the summer school 2015 on Gender and Diversity

 

As every year, the International Office and KölnAlumni WELTWEIT welcomed a diverse group of former international students to the alumni summer school held in the city of Cologne.

Mrs. Valerija Schwarz, Head of Organization, had invited an international group of 33 students from 26 different countries to discuss the topic of Gender and Diversity at the University of Cologne from 09 August until 14 August 2015. Hence, a mixed group of academics, ranging from Bachelor and Master students to doctorates and professors exchanged their knowledge during this week. Since all of the KölnAlumni WELTWEIT members have studied at the University of Cologne at some point, this year’s summer school followed the tradition of being held in German.

Before diving into the summer school’s topic of Gender and Diversity, the group was able to meet and get to know each other during a dinner at the Cologne tavern Brauhaus Pütz on Sunday, 09 August 2015. Here, they shared and relived the experiences they made in Cologne as exchange students or guest lecturers and dove back into the German atmosphere with traditional Cologne dishes and drinks, such as Kölsch beer. During the traditional Welcome Ceremony on the first day of the summer program, the students then were able to meet all of the speakers as well as the organizational team involved. Mrs. Christiane Biehl, initiator of the alumni network, was there to welcome all participants, together with Mr. Stefan Bildhauer, Head of the International Office.

Throughout the week, eleven speakers from different fields of work and study, who all share a connection with the issue of Gender and Diversity, presented their viewpoints on the topic. 

Dr. Dan Christian Ghattas presented the current state of Transgender and Human Rights from his point of view as a cultural scientist, Inter*-Activist and founder of OII Europe. Through Prof. Dr. Carmen Leicht-Scholten, a professor at the Rhine-Westphalian University of Applied Sciences (RWTH) Aachen, the group was able to gain insight into the field of Gender and Diversity in Engineering Studies.

Speakers from the University of Cologne were Dr. Miriam Haller, from the Human Science Faculty and Dr. Rainer Weber from the Psychosomatic and Psychotherapy Unit of the University Hospital who presented a Survey conducted Amongst Students of the University of Cologne in Regards to Studying with Psychological Illnesses. Another presenter who focused on Sex and Gender from A Biological Perspective was Prof. Dr. Karla Etschenberg.

Being the of the University of Cologne’s officer for gender equality, Mrs. Annalene Gäckle shared her strategies on gender equality with the participants. Mrs. Karolin Kalmbach presented her work from the central institution GeStik of the Department of Gender Studies, whereas Dr. Miriam Haller gave a speech on Gender and Age. Dr. Karla Verlinden, also from the University of Cologne, talked about Sexuality and Relationships in the Context of the Student Movement in Germany. The presentation part of the 2015 Summer School on Gender and Diversity was completed by a speech on Mobility, Diversity and Social Inequality in Academics given by Prof. Dr. Susanne Völker from the Faculty of Humanities, as well as by Mr. Stephanie Reuter Zakirova and Mrs. Karin Kalmbach and their so-called ErzählKaffee – Arriving at the University of Cologne.

Rounding off the informative and successful Summer School on Gender and Diversity, Mrs. Christiane Biehl, Head of KölnAlumni WELTWEIT gave the participants a short overview of the organization’s recent work.

The destination of the excursion during the Alumni Summer School is a tradition of the program. This year’s group visited the Dialogue Museum in Frankfurt am Main. Here, visitors receive the chance to walk into the shoes of visually impaired people by being guided through an exhibition in complete darkness. The tour and discussion with the visually impaired tour guide afterwards allowed the summer school participants to educate themselves on the everyday life of a blind human being. Not least this practical experience was a completion of this year’s KölnAlumni WELTWEIT Summer School on Gender and Diversity.

On Friday, the participants had the opportunity to give a feedback on the organizational work and the academic program; they all expressed their satisfaction. In addition, they received their participation certificates. We had an amazing time together and all participants enjoyed expanding their knowledge and getting to know each other.

We are looking forward to the next summer school in 2016 – we will keep you posted on the topic, the application period etc. once we know whether the program will be subsidized again.