International Conference »Courage«

On May 25th & 26th 2017 the ARSP conference with the lead motif »Courage« took place in Berlin-Neukölln. The central question of the conference was 'how do the historical movements of resistance against fascism have an effect on the present?' And 'how they are integrated in contemporary remembrance?' Furthermore the praticipants took part in workshops and discussions where they dealt with recent political challenges and our own scope of action in the countries we live in and abroad, as well as the meaning of civil courage.

For the opening of the conference we were joined on Thursday evening by around 150 people. We listened to podcasts by ARSP volunteers from all over the world. They talked avbout what Courage means to them and how it is connected to their volunteer service. A lot of the volunteers also used the podcast to let project partners and survivors speak as well. Afterwards the dinner was a great chance to catch up and have exciting conversations. Two former volunteers were taking care of the musical aspect of the evening by singing songs of resistance.

On Saturday we started with a world café in which we talked about different concepts like solidarity, opposition, utopia and remembrance. We had controversial and fruitful discussions about where and how one can show courage, what the idea of 'Europe' means to us and when it is time to practice solidarity. We realized that there is a broad consensus about setting courage as a goal for us, but there are nonetheless many different ways we fill words and concepts with meaning. During the world café we observed the Europe-wide minute of silence for the victims of the EU's border regime. This minute of silence as a way of remembrance became a topic for discussion itself. One participant phrased their impression: "Sometimes it rather needs a minute of screaming than a minute of silence." - "Who mourns for the dead in the mediterranean sea, is not necessarily acting in solidarity with the living." another one exclaimed and thus critically referenced the role of European politicians during the 'refugee crisis'.

The afternoon had eight different workshops in which the discussions were continued and new fields of work were explored. For instance initiatives from Poland and Hungary introduced themselves and their work on recent (European) discourses and actions in their respective countries. From Thessaloniki we had Solomon Parente for the conference, son of a Greek Auschwitz survivor, who talked about his life in Greece and the difficult commemoration of Shoah there. Further topics were resistance, right-wing populism, feminism and supporting refugees.

The proceedings of the conference were captured in the form of Graphic Recording by Magdalena Wiegner.

The conference closed with a city tour from Martin Luther church to Thomas church in Kreuzberg, where we had a late-evening political prayer.

Übersicht Fotogalerie



We'd like to extend our big gratitude to the Martin Luther congregation in Berlin-Neukölln for offering their premises. Thank you very much for your hospitality!