Our Topics in 2021: Meeting of the Educational Committee on June, 26th 2020

On June 26th, the KAAD Educational Committee of 2020 hold its meeting in the Catholic conference centre in Siegburg (KSI). Against the background of the current pandemic, this year’s meeting could only take place with 10 instead of the usual 15 delegates of the scholarship holders. In addition to the delegates, representatives of the KAAD office, the management and both spiritual counsellors were also present to discuss the key aspects of the educational work in the coming year.

With regard to the list of topics which had been prepared in advance by the delegates, mainly in form of online surveys within their respective groups, it was particularly striking how much the scholars were concerned with issues regarding the digitalisation of education, global health policy, integration and reintegration, and democracy.

This became not only clear during the discussions on site, but can also be seen in the following list of proposed topics (working titles) for the year 2021:

 

Continent-Related Topics:

  • Tourism, Sustainability and Preservation of Nature in Africa
  • German-Asian Cooperation in the Field of Renewable Energies
  • University and Public Life (Civil Society in Latin America) in the Light of a Crisis of Democracy
  • Economy in the Middle East – Problems and Opportunities
  • Fake News and Manipulated Language in Eastern Europe

 

Cross-Regional Topics:

  • Education in the Digital Age: Requiem and/or Awakening?
  • International Students: Between Integration and Reintegration in a “Burnout Society”
  • Intercultural Religion and Piety
  • Health Care Systems under Global Market Conditions
  • Democracy under a Stress Test: Germany as a Model for Success?
  • Agriculture and Rural Life – Structure and Culture in Rural Areas (this seminar was cancelled in 2020 and will be made up for next year)

A special feature of 2021 will also be that one of the seminars will take place in the context of the Ecumenical Church Congress (Ökumenischer Kirchentag) in Frankfurt/Main. The offered spiritual seminars will also again include Spiritual Days in the Monastery in Beuron and the study trip and pilgrimage to Rome.

The subject of the Annual Convention 2021 will be the topic of this year’s cancelled Annual Convention as agreed on with the president and office of KAAD: Power and Freedom of Language: Identity Politics and Language Biographies

In order to compensate at least to some extent for the missing encounters as part of the cancelled Annual Convention, plans for an Annual Meeting for the scholarship holders from October 30th to November 1st at Haus Venusberg in Bonn will be made. Unlike the Annual Convention, no specific topic will be thematically dealt with. Besides smaller thematic units on interculturality and the meetings of the regional and expert groups, a general panel discussion and a guided city tour are also planned. However, the main focus of the event will be placed on the networking and strengthening of the community.

Towards the end of the meeting, the plenum addressed the question of how the digitalisation of the educational work and networking can be dealt with in the future. Even though the first KAAD online seminar on the topic of “Big Data” was perceived as a very welcome and successful alternative, it is generally agreed on that the non-material support of KAAD cannot be digitalised.  The intensive personal encounters and social interaction are the pillars of KAAD’s networking. Consequently, formats such as the language courses, the annual convention and attendance seminars are essential and KAAD’s work cannot be imagined without them. However, it was considered to be quite useful to digitalise the seminars and in particular expert groups to some extent as this offers great opportunities for a subject-specific exchange of opinions and ideas and for the long-term connection of alumni and possibly also of sur-place scholarship holders. Thus, the technical and data protection requirements shall be examined in the future in order to possibly bring lectures/parts of events online or to offer live streamings (for alumni in their home countries also a continued “German language training”).