Course in Multicultural Understanding and Human Rights: step by step
'All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights,' – claims the first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Laconic and simple. Pretty easy to understand. However, when it comes to the reality, what is hidden beyond these words appears to be an incredibly complex issue.

Reality has always been more complicated than it appeared to be on the paper. The process of accepting the overall significance of human rights mean, first of all, breaking down the borders in your own mind. Sometimes we don't even notice how we start stereotyping others. Human rights tell to go beyond the stereotypes and prejudices, not to mark people with labels. That's why, betweenwhiles it's is extremely important to take a step back and to ask yourself: what does it really mean to be a human?

That's what students from St.Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod did at the workshop on the topics of human rights and multicultural understanding in Berlin.

3 days
Lectures. Seminars. Excursions. Discussions
8 participants
Students from St. Petersburg State University
1 target
Make the world a better place
About Seminar
The students from Faculty of journalism SPBU participated in a seminar on human rights organized with the support of the Oslo Human Rights Academy, Norway. The seminar was held from 3 to 6 May in Berlin.

Together with young journalists from Nizhny Novgorod Students of St. Petersburg State University listened to the course of lectures on human rights, discussed issues of gender equality in the world, considered the issue of refugee rights, and also learned what kind of policies in this area are held in Germany.

Every day, from nine in the morning until five in the evening, non-stop lectures and master classes were held. It is worth noting the non-standard approach in the teaching method: combining interactivity and theoretical aspects. All the lectures were based on the idea of interaction and the fulfillment of various tasks. So, for example, at seminars, students, united in groups, drew the image of ideal person, plotted a violation of rights or guessed the gender of the person by voice. From the very beginning the students were immersed in the theme of the seminar with the game "Points". The essence of the game was as follows: each of the students on the forehead attached a circle of a certain color, then was given a command to group together in colors without words. The two colors differed from all others. The task of the teachers was to see how the students will behave in such situation: these two children will stay alone or others will invite them to join one of the groups. Nizhny Novgorod and St. Petersburg coped with this game perfectly well. None of the guys stayed aloof. Thus, the teachers wanted to show how important it is not to put on a person certain labels in the society: whether it is skin color, religion or sexual orientation. We all are humans. And we all are equal in this.

The lectures were read by Marit Langmir, project manager of the Oslo Academy of Human Rights, Lilian Hjert, head of the Oslo Academy of Human Rights, professor of the Free University of Berlin Carola Richter and Tamara Gromova, lecturer from St. Petersburg State University.

The participants also met with Georg Pirker (AdB) and Niels Zimmermann (MitOst), representatives from the DARE network (Democracy and Human Rights in Europe). Dealing with the past and dealing the future – it was the main topic of the meeting. Students were able to learn about education in Germany, social benefits and the strategy of building a civil society.

The House of Freedom
Lecture at the Free University of Berlin
The Freie Universität Berlin is a research university located in Berlin and one of the most prominent universities in Germany. It is internationally known for its research in the humanities and social sciences, as well as in the field of natural and life sciences.

It was established by students and scholars on 4 December 1948. Founded in West Berlin during the early Cold War period, its name refers to city's status as part of the so-called Western "free world". The University of Berlin was located in the former Soviet sector of Berlin and was granted permission to continue teaching by the Soviet Military Administration in Germany in January 1946. The universities were increasingly influenced by communism as they were ground for the political disputes of the postwar period. This led to protests by students critical of the prevailing system. Between 1945 and 1948, more than 18 students were arrested or persecuted, some even executed by the soviet secret police (NKVD).
But now it's all behind. The Freie Universität Berlin today is an excellent platform for the development of talented youth from all over the world. That's why the lecture «Flight 2.0: Digital media usage by refugees» was held there. Professor Carola Richter told the participants about her research Flight 2.0.

The so-called refugee crisis, which has dominated the media agenda more than any other issue since 2015, was from the very beginning characterized by the digital era: mobile telephones had developed into central tools of those seeking protection, and Wi-Fi hotspots had become as vital as waterholes.

Against this background, the research project "Flight 2.0" examined the refugees' use of mobile devices on their journey from their home country to Germany using a representative quantitative survey of a total of 404 refugees.

The results of the study reveal how the refugees use mobile devices as well as what sources of information they draw upon and trust.



Carola Richter

A journey into the dark past of Soviet Germany
Excursion to the prison located in eastern Germany
On the third day of the course, students went on an excursion to the Stasi prison (Berlin-Hohenschenhausen). The story tells us that here was organized a Soviet camp for internees after World War II, and then a central Soviet investigative prison in eastern Germany. In March 1951, the prison was transferred to the Ministry of State Security of the GDR. In the 1950s, numerous prisoners were languishing here, those who resisted the regime of the communist dictatorship.

An excursion for students was conducted by a native German, whose parents were directly witnesses of all that was happening in those years. He told about the torture that was applied to the prisoners, who was sitting here and why they were there. Conducted a tour of the cameras and places of detention. He showed where the interrogations were and how the control was exercised in the prison.

Lessons of history
How does Germany remember the terrible past?
Water is silently running in circles. If you follow the water, you'll be able to see iron letters which form words: «Gaunt face, dead eyes, cold lips, quiet, a broken heart, out of breath, without words, no tears». It is a poem called 'Auschwitz', written by a Roma poet Santino Spinelli.

Sinti and Roma are the peoples which became victims of the Nazi genocide: around 220,000 – 500,000 people were murdered during Porajmos.

Since 2012 in Berlin's Tiergarten is a monument to the Sinti and Roma. As you step into the territory of the memorial, you suddenly see titles on the stones under your feet. They say: 'Dachau', 'Auschwitz', 'Buchenwald'… It's silent, and all that you hear is the water splashing in chute which encircles the immovable water in the round pool. There is a triangular stone in the middle of it. A triangle was used by the Nazi to identificate the inmates in concentration camps. Sinti and Roma people had to wear brown and black triangles on their clothes.

On the stone triangle in the middle of the pool is a fresh flower. Day by day it is being changed to a new one. The flower is blooming, the water is running. Life goes on.

Next to the Brandenburg Gate a line of two bricks shows where the Berlin Wall used to stand. Today only one step stops you from crossing the border from East to West. A terrible era that divided a living city into two parts is gone. However, there are still signs on the streets of Berlin which remind us of what happened.

A few meters away from the place where the wall used to be, a woman in bronze is facing the Brandenburg Gate from the Western side. She holds her hands by the wide-open mouth. She's shouting something. Facing the East, she's crying for peace. 'I wander through the world and cry 'Peace, peace, peace' – these words are written on the monument, which is called 'The Crier' and shows the image of the people's protest against the Cold War. The monument is there since 1966.


When going out of the Tiergarten in the direction of Brandenburg Gate, you see a territory of 19 000 m2 that is full of grey concrete slabs. At first sight it may seem that they look like coffins. While differing from each other in their height, slabs form something which looks like a wave if you look at the monument from above. But you can't know it while just walking between them. The space between the slabs is that narrow, so it's hard to walk even in couples. Most of the time you're in a shadow. You feel cold from the concrete, you feel loneliness, you feel small.

It is a world-famous Holocaust Memorial situated in the very center of Berlin, a city which had one of the largest Jewish populations in Europe before the Second World War.

Underground there is a memorial museum, dedicated to the murdered Jews of Europe and to the Nazi's terror in general. There you can learn more about one of the greatest crimes against humanity in the world's history.
For the group of Russian students, it was very important to visit the Soviet War Memorial next to the Tiergarten. It's hard to find a family in Russia that hasn't been touched by that's why this topic remains that sensitive for most of them.

On the monument, you can see the names of the Red Army soldiers who died during the Battle of Berlin in April and May 1945. There you can find commanders, there you can find ordinary soldiers – all of them were fighting against Nazism.


Summing up
On the fourth day of the seminar, just before awarding diplomas, all the students went for a dinner to one of the most beautiful restaurants in Berlin. The antique atmosphere, candles ... and warm conversations. Professors thanked students for the done work. Journalist from Saint-Petersburg also thanked the teachers for such exiting experience and gave them some sweet presents.

Human rights are those rights which are essential for a dignified and a decent human living as well as human existence and adequate development of human personality.

It is especially important to young journalists to understand this Rules of modern society. Talk about it. Argue and find a compromise. Encourage to the understanding and patience. Build a civil society. Help in conflict resolution. All this in our competence and all this will help us to build a happy future without wars and conflicts.
Reviews
This workshop was a perfect combination of theoretical and practical work, providing you with knowledge and experience. If I had to describe it in one word, I'd call it 'inspiring'.
Polina Popova
I'm really grateful for the opportunity to participate. It was more than interesting, because tutors teach in the best way, they help you not to learn, they help you to feel and to understand the most important thing: we are unique but we are equal. I'm sure that now I'm much more qualified and I'm full of emotions and inspiration.
Valeriia Lazareva
Such kind of international workshop is a good experience for me. I have learned a lot from it. I' be managed to see another side of human rights and how they are influencing the society. I also liked the methods of interactive and practical education. I hope that in my nearest future I will do something to change the attitude of people and their current categorical views on society.
Natalya Gordienko
I'm so glad to be part of this Seminar! Each day there, in Berlin, we drawed an ideal world in our minds. i believe - we will try to make our dreams a modern reality. Let's respect each other, accept equality and be worthy of being "Human"
Darya Dekhtyar
Made by: Dekhtyar Darya, Gordienko Natalya, Popova Polina
Photo by: Valeriia Lazareva

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