Dialogues on Participation

Groups of c. 50 to 70 young Europeans are hosted by the Schwarzkopf Foundation for dialogue events during which the participants develop original ideas for participation. They then have the chance to discuss the ideas as well as suggestions for their implementation with their peers and experts from the respective field. The experts, who bring experience from their own involvement and/or science, politics, etc., can be consulted by the participants.

The process is moderated and supported by the Schwarzkopf Foundation’s peer trainers. It always begins with the immediate interests of the young participants and works to make concrete opportunities for participation accessible.

Using examples of successful participation, the participants’ efficacy is strengthened. Hurdles, that might impede involvement, are also addressed, so as to paint a realistic picture and allow for constructive plans to be made. Finally, different means of participation are discussed: Can we best reach our goal through a demonstration? Would a petition be a good idea? Whom should it be addressed to? Do we look for potential collaborators in social networks or do we found an association at our school?

At the end of the half-day event, there are concrete ideas for participation that immediately refer back to the goals that the participants formulated in the beginning of the process. Through the dialogue with experts, the plans receive respect and recognition. This gives participants energy to pursue the idea even after the dialogue event is over.

Photos: Stefanie Loos/Schwarzkopf-Stiftung