Workshop: How Do You Spell “Tolerance”?

In the current debate on immigration in Germany, the call is loud for people entering the country to show (more) willingness to integrate into German society.  As emotions in the discourse run high, some groups are even accused of being unwilling to integrate at all. Too often, however, an essential factor gets pushed to the wayside: Successful integration can never a one-way street!

Even the most integration-minded immigrant will only feel as “at home” in his or her new country as the dominant culture allows them to feel. On a societal level  this translates into equal opportunity; on a personal level it comes down to mutual acceptance.

This means both sides face a major challenge:

  • How much of one’s own cultural heritage does the immigrant have to give up – both privately and  professionally – in order to successfully participate in life in Germany?
  • How must Germany (re-)define “Nationality: German” in order to successfully activate the rich potential of these “new” Germans for the society and economy?

How Do You Spell “Tolerance”?

In this workshop we discuss the concept of “identity” as an important prerequisite to tolerance. In a lively mixture of individual reflection, pair/group work and open discussion we will compare and contrast opinions and beliefs on the following topics :

  • What are the most important factors/characteristics of our own individual identity?
  • What causes us to view someone else as “different” or “foreign”?
  • Last, not least: what are the most important common denominators that offer us a stable and expandable bridge for understanding and acceptance?

Because, as Germany’s best-known poet, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe already knew:

Tolerance should only be a temporary attitude: It has to lead to acceptance. To tolerate means to insult.”

You’d like to know…

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