Local KAAD meeting in Berlin on 9.7.2021

After more than one year of forced break due to corona, it was a special pleasure for all participants to be finally able to hold a local KAAD meeting in presence again. A total of 18 scholarship holders and alumni from 13 nations studying and/or living in Berlin, Potsdam, Cottbus and Frankfurt (Oder) came together in the KSG Edith Stein (Catholic Chaplaincy) in Berlin with Renate Flügel and Miriam Rossmerkel from the KAAD office in Bonn to get to know each other and to network for future cooperation.

A preliminary meeting with our partners in Berlin, the staff of KSG Edith Stein and the archdiocese as well as the KAAD liaison lecturers from Berlin and Potsdam, was followed by a detailed introduction of the scholarship holders, who gave us, among others, an insight into their very diverse research projects. After lunch, prepared by the student priest and host Father Max Cappabianca OP himself, the group entered into the conference topic “homelessness” with a guided “World Café”. The causes as well as the way society and politics deal with homelessness in Germany and in the home countries of the participants were elaborated and discussed.

The formerly homeless Klaus gives a moving account of his fall through the cracks

Afterwards, the international group was able to experience first-hand what life without a roof over one’s head means in Berlin during a guided tour by the association “querstadtein e.V.”. On a tour of his former “stomping grounds” from Spittelmarkt to Schönhauser Allee, the formerly homeless person Klaus gave a moving account of his fall through the cracks. He described his survival strategies and struggles during his nine years of homelessness, as well as fortunate encounters at the right time that helped him to tackle the long and hard road back into society. This impressive account changed the participants’ perspective on this problem in a lasting way.

A church service with Father Max Cappabianca OP in the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church formed the solemn conclusion of the official conference program. Afterwards, there was an opportunity for an intensive intercultural exchange and a pleasant get-together at a joint dinner on the Kurfürstendamm. We would like to thank all participants, and especially Fr. Max for his hospitality at KSG Berlin and his diverse commitment to our Berlin group of scholarship holders!