Berlin Agenda

The 2015 Humanity in Action Fellowship brings together a group of twenty university students and recent graduates from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Greece, Poland, Ukraine and the United States to explore historic and contemporary human rights issues. 

The highly interdisciplinary program concludes with the Humanity in Action International Conference "Gateway to Justice: The Hague" in the Netherlands, bringing together over 250 participants from Europe and the United States.

May 30


The Humanity in Action Fellows get to know each other and the team. The staff introduces the program and provides practical information about life in Berlin. A guided tour of selected areas of the city center introduces the Fellows to parts of the extensive histories of Berlin. To mark the opening of the Fellowship together with host families, Senior Fellows and members of the board of directors of Humanity in Action Germany, this day culminates in an evening reception. 

  • Introduction to the Program and Practical Information
  • Getting to Know Each Other
  • Personal Experience: Bring an Object
  • Exploring Berlin – Guided Tour
  • Welcome Reception to the Fellowship Program

May 31

Origins and Mechanisms of Discrimination  

After the Fellows reach consensus on the common rules for the coming weeks, this day outlines two essential theoretical frameworks that may serve as reference points throughout the program: social-psychological origins and mechanisms of discrimination as well as the concept of group-focused hostility. These theories are not the only approaches to explaining discrimination, but they provide a useful perspective on the range of real-life phenomena that Fellows will discuss with experts, representatives of different minority groups and NGO activists over the course of the Fellowship.

  • Agreeing on Ground Rules for Discussions and Debriefings, moderated by Johannes Lukas Gartner and Luisa Maria Schweizer 
  • Social-Psychological Mechanisms of Discrimination, Anna Stefaniak, PhD Candidate, University of Warsaw, Humanity in Action Senior Fellow
  • The Concept of Group-Focused Hostility, Simone Rafael, Editor-in-Chief,, Amadeu Antonio Foundation 
  • Fellows Discussion, moderated by Johannes Lukas Gartner and Luisa Maria Schweizer

June 1

Cultural Diversity – Theory and Practice

This day starts with an anti-racism workshop to support the Fellows in developing their self-reflection about cultural shapings and their understanding of the dynamics of covert forms of racisms that impact our societies on a daily basis. Fellows will in the afternoon conduct interviews with local residents in the district of Berlin-Kreuzberg, diving into the diversity of this neighborhood. 

  • Anti-Racism Workshop, Nancy Mechthild Scott, Diversity Trainer
  • Diversity as Normalcy - Neighborhood Walks in Berlin-Kreuzberg
  • Presentation of Results
  • Fellows Discussion moderated by Judith Scheer and Jordan Konell

June 2

Remembrance – Authenticity, Place and Memorial Sites

Until 1945, more than 200.000 people from all over Europe were imprisoned in the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, which was built by the SS in 1936. Tens of thousands died of hunger and diseases as a result of forced labor or systematic extermination. From 1945 to 1950, the Soviet Union used the site as a labor camp. Several years later in 1961, the German Democratic Republic (i.e. East Germany, 1949-1990) founded the Sachsenhausen National Memorial, which Fellows get to know through a guided tour. The tour addresses the history of the place, particularly the Holocaust and the persecution of minority groups and political opponents under National Socialism. This day further provides insight into varying forms and subjects of remembrance in the GDR and in contemporary Germany. 

  • Overview of Fellows' Expectations, Plenary Room Sachsenhausen 
  • Memorial and Museum Sachsenhausen, Guided tour with Dr. Russell Alt-Haaker, PhD Graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, Germanic Languages & Literatures / Tour Guide  
  • Debriefing and Discussion
  • Return to Berlin 

June 3

Forced Labor - Past and Present

Today, the group learns about forms of forced labor during the Nazi era and discusses examples of labor exploitation today. A visit to the former labor camp Berlin-Schöneweide, the last well-preserved labor camp in Germany, illustrates the historical organization of labor exploitation by the Nazis. A visit to the Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility and Future gives insights into how Germany has dealt with its history of forced labor. At the end of the day, contemporary forms of labor exploitation and human trafficking will be addressed.

  • Guided Tour, Documentation Center Forced Labor
  • The Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility and Future – History and Present Projects, Uta Gerlant, Adviser to the Board of Directors and Sonja Böhme, Head of Unit Acting for Human Rights
  • Forced Labour in Germany Today, Paula Riedemann, Ban Ying Counselling Center  
  • Fellows Discussion, moderated by Fernanda Lai and Oleksandra Smyrnova 

June 4

Germany’s Colonial Past


Today Fellows study the colonial history of Germany, a topic that is often neglected in the context of memorialization. On a tour through the African Quarter of Berlin in the district of Berlin-Wedding, the Fellows see the vestiges of this colonial past and understand its ramifications on the social dynamics of present-day German society. 

In the afternoon, Fellows discuss current forms of expression of antiziganism in the media, focusing largely on Sinti and Roma, two minority groups also persecuted under National Socialism, who remain marginalized communities in contemporary Europe.

  • Coloniality and Institutional Racism, Joshua Kwesi Aikins, Political Scientist, Kassel University
  • Walking Tour: Germany and Its Colonial Past, Tour of Afrikanisches Viertel (African Quarter), Mboro Sururu Mnyaka, Association Berlin Postkolonial e. V. 
  • Antiziganism in the Media, Marcus End, Lecturer, Unversity of Hildesheim
  • Fellows Discussion, moderated by Huy Dao and Eirini Glynon Lefaki  

June 5

Perspectives on Bosnia and Herzegovina

Representation of Islam in the German Media

This morning, the Fellows from Bosnia and Herzegovina present their views on the current situation of minorities and collective memory processes in their home country. These spotlight sessions are the first two out of several sessions in which Fellows from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Greece and Ukraine share their thoughts and experiences concerning certain societal developments in their respective countries.

In the afternoon, Dr. Sabine Schiffer discusses the representation of Islam in the German media, elaborating on how the image of “the Islam” is created and thus shapes our perceptions of our neighbors.

  • Spotlight Session: Perspectives on Diversity: The Situation of Minorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Elma Čavčić and Lejla Hodžić, Fellows
  • Spotlight Session: The Process of Remembrance and Reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jelena Barac and Alen Duspara, Fellows 
  • The Representation of Islam in the German Media, Dr. Sabine Schiffer, Head, Institute for Media Responsibility 
  • Fellows Discussion, moderated by Paulina Milewska and Louisa Klaßen

June 6

Transformation Process in Germany after 1949

Introduction to the Action Project Phase

Today, Fellows engage directly with the post-war history of Germany at the remains of the Berlin Wall. The Memorial Site provides a historical lens into the border regime and the Cold War. After receiving a broad and facts-based overview at the Memorial Site, the Fellows get to hear a more personal narrative shared by a German Fellow who experienced post-reunification life at the border. 

In the afternoon, the Fellows’ attention is drawn to the ACTION part in Humanity in Action. While all Fellows are required to implement an Action Project within one year after completion of the Fellowship program, projects may differ significantly in their thematic scope, size, number of people involved etc. The Fellows are therefore provided with examples of Action Projects conducted in the past. The afternoon also gives space for sharing personal experiences about the Fellows’ existent project experiences and to make room for brainstorming initial ideas for their future projects. In the evening, the Fellows meet with two Humanity in Action Senior Fellows to learn about their ongoing educational documentary film project “with WINGS and ROOTS”.

  • Guided Tour: Memorial Site Berlin Wall, Miriamne Fields, Tour Guide
  • Spotlight Session: Life at the Border - Growing Up after Reunification, Claire Luzia Leifert, Fellow
  • Introduction to the Action Project Phase
  • Working Groups: Share Personal Experience on Project Implementation
  • Share Findings with the Group
  • What Are Humanity in Action’s Expectations?
  • Project Presentation: with WINGS and ROOTS, Christina Antonakos-Wallace, Director, with WINGS and ROOTS, Humanity in Action Senior Fellow and Isabel Schröer, Community Engagement Team Member, with WINGS and ROOTS, Humanity in Action Senior Fellow

June 7

No Program

June 8

Translating Knowledge, Skills and Passion into ACTION

Today the Fellows get their first external input on how to maximize the impact of their future Action Project. The Fellows learn about how to effectively translate ideas into action as well as how to create functioning volunteer teams. In the afternoon, the Fellows meet with Dr. Judith Goldstein, the Founder and Executive Director of Humanity in Action. Through a conversation with her, the Fellows have the opportunity to discover more about the origins and aims of Humanity in Action.

  • Project Planning - From An Idea To A Goal To Your Action Project, Jackson Oldfield, Senior Project Manager, European Alternatives 
  • Meet Humanity in Action’s Founder - Dr. Judith Goldstein. Facilitated by Beverly Li, Program Intern
  • Brainstorming: Action Project Ideas 
  • On Working in a Team: The Challenge
  • Input on Project Management - How to Organize Volunteer Teams? Henry Alt-Haaker, Program Officer, Robert Bosch Foundation, Humanity in Action Senior Fellow 

June 9

Nationalism, Xenophobia and its Impact on Minorities

Today the Fellows visit Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences to meet with Prof. Dr. Nivedita Prasad, who talks about human rights violations against refugees in Germany and the activities of the university in the field of asylum rights. Following on from this, the Fellows study the PEGIDA movement, one of the most recent and prominent examples in the context of rising xenophobic populism in Germany. The day culminates in an analysis of the trajectory of Germany’s quest for identity and a look at the ramifications of certain historical developments on German national consciousness and identity.

  • Seeking Refuge in Germany: Human Rights Violations meet Counter-Activities, Prof. Dr. Nivedita Prasad, Professor, Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences 
  • PEGIDA: How German Right-Wing Populism Took To The Streets, Dr. Simon Teune,  Coordinator, Institute for Protest and Social Movement Studies Berlin
  • Germany and Its Quest for Identity, Dr. Joachim Baur, Curator and Museum Consultant, Die Exponauten
  • Fellows Discussion, moderated by Christina Dexel and Elma Čavčić 

June 10

Immigration and Integration Policies in Europe – Seeking Refuge and Asylum (together with the Diplomacy and Diversity Fellowship Program)

Today the Berlin Summer Program Fellows and the Diplomacy and Diversity Fellows are brought together to examine certain aspects of past and current European immigration and integration frameworks. Firstly, Thomas Huddleston from the Migration Policy Group provides an overview of integration policies pursued in European countries. Following on from this, Dr. des. Sina Arnold joins the conversation from the Berlin Institute for Integration and Migration Research to present her perspectives on the notion of a “post-migrant society”. The day proceeds with a panel discussion on one of Europe’s most pressing and debated socio-political issues at the current time: seeking asylum in Europe and the humanitarian crisis that has been unfolding at its borders.  

  • Introduction, Luisa Maria Schweizer and Antje Scheidler, Humanity in Action 
  • National and European Diversity: Integration Policies, Thomas Huddleston, Program Director Migration and Integration, Migration Policy Group, Humanity in Action Senior Fellow
  • New Narratives in a ‘Post-Migrant’ Society, Dr. des. Sina Arnold, Scientific Managing Director, Berlin Institute for Integration and Migration Research
  • Panel Discussion: Seeking Asylum in Europe, with Jessica Bither (Program Coordinator, The German Marshall Fund of the United States), Harald Glöde (Co-Founder and Member of the Executive Board, Borderline Europe e.V.) and Maximilian Popp (Journalist, Der Spiegel). Moderated by Johannes Lukas Gartner, Program Coordinator, Humanity in Action 
  • Closing Conversation 

June 11

Jewish Life in Germany and Antisemitism

Humanity in Action Senior Fellow Ufuk Topkara guides the Fellows through the Jewish Museum of Berlin, which was opened in 2001 and continues to represent one of the largest of its kind. The tour focuses on the commonalities of the three monotheistic world religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The day proceeds with a presentation highlighting aspects of Jewish life in Germany today and how it has been shaped by immigration. Dr. Dr. Peter Ulrich then talks to the Fellows about current phenomena of antisemitism, antizionism and criticism of Israel in Germany, examining some of the ongoing debates and controversies in this area. 

  • Guided Tour through the Jewish Museum: Judaism, Christianity and Islam: A Cultural Historical Comparison, Ufuk Topkara, PhD Candidate, University of Paderborn, Humanity in Action Senior Fellow 
  • Individual Tour of the Jewish Museum
  • Jewish Life in Germany Today: A Community’s Changing Face Through Immigration, Boris Moshkovits, Digital Strategy and Communication Consultant
  • Antisemitism, Anti-Zionism and Criticism of Israel as a Discursive Field, Dr. Peter Ullrich, Researcher, Center of Antisemitism Research
  • Fellows Discussion, moderated by Vera-Alexandra Amanatidou and Jerrel Baker

June 12

Hate Speech in Social Media

Develop your Project Ideas

This day focuses on learning about and understanding the nature of hate speech online. Next to passing on his expertise in counter-acting such forms of hate speech, Johannes Baldauf shares with the Fellows good practice examples including the project The rest of the day is dedicated to the development of project ideas. The Fellows define the goals of their project, the target group, its format and identify the resources necessary for its completion. Through a combination of individual planning, collaborative brainstorming, feedback and presentations in the plenary, the group works together to support each other in the process of developing their projects.

  • Hands on Hate Speech, Johannes Baldauf, Project Coordinator, Amadeu Antonio Foundation 
  • Fellows Discussion, moderated by Miriam Mack and Alen Duspara
  • Individual Work on Action Projects
  • Share Project Ideas with the Group  
  • Working Groups: Feedback on Project Ideas

June 13

How to Pitch a Project

Continuing the skills training, the Fellows take part in a workshop entitled “How to pitch a project” by the professional presentation coach Mona Shair-Wloch. A midterm evaluation of the program takes place this Saturday afternoon.  

  • How to Pitch a Project? Mona Shair-Wloch, Coach and Trainer, Key2Advance 
  • Develop Your Project Pitch
  • Test the Pitch with the Group & Feedback by the Group
  • Midterm Evaluation

June 14

Networking Picnic 

  • with Diplomacy and Diversity Fellows, Senior Fellows and friends of Humanity in Action

June 15

Woman and Sexual Minorities – Realities and Representations

Today’s first focus is placed on past and present-day realities of sexual minority members. Looking towards the past, Fellows learn about the treatment of sexual minority members in Nazi-Germany at the Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted under the National Socialist Regime. Moving to the present time, Koray Yılmaz-Günay shares with the Fellows his perspectives on the crossing variables of migration and sexuality as well as the representations thereof in modern-day Germany. 

The second focus of the day centers on women. Katrin Gottschalk, Editor-in-Chief at Missy Magazine, provides the Fellows with feminist perspectives on how women are (mis)represented in contemporary media. Her input is followed by a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow’s presentation about the women empowerment project “Box Girls”.

  • Guided Tour: The Persecution of Homosexuals under National Socialism and After World War II, Anne Stalfort, Fundraiser, and Activist, TransInterQueer e.V.
  • Depicting Women in the Media, Katrin Gottschalk, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Missy Magazine 
  • Career of a Constructed Opposition: Migrants vs. Gays, Koray Yılmaz-Günay, Vice Director of the Academy for Political Education, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation
  • Project Presentation: Strong Girls, Strong Community, Jana Gottschalk, Box Girls Berlin e.V., Humanity in Action Senior Fellow
  • Fellows Discussion, moderated by Jelena Barac and Iuliia Skok 

June 16

Religious Diversity in Germany

In order to understand how the past has shaped the status quo of the religious landscapes in Germany, theologist Prof. Dr. Andreas Feldtkeller provides the Fellows with an overview of historical and recent developments in this context. After setting the scene, Fellows meet with representatives of two prominent initiatives both aiming to foster interreligious dialogues in their own ways: The House of One, the world's first planned house of prayer for three religions, and The Salaam-Shalom Initiative, a local grassroots project run by intercultural activists in Berlin-Neukölln.  

  • From Past to Presence: Religious Landscapes of Germany, Prof. Dr. Andreas Feldtkeller, Professor, Faculty of Theology, Humboldt University Berlin
  • Project Presentation: Three Religions Under One Roof, Eric Haußmann, Priest, The House of One
  • Project Presentation: Muslims and Jews United Against Antisemitism and Anti-Muslim Racism, Ozan Keskinkılıç, Spokesperson, The Salaam-Shalom Initiative and Armin Langer, Co-Founder and Coordinator, The Salaam-Shalom Initiative
  • Fellows Discussion, moderated by Lejla Hodžić and Nefeli-Sotiria Myrodia 

June 17

The Impact of the Economic Crisis in Europe – Case Study: Greece

Social Entrepreneurship – Case Study: "Social Heroes"

Today the Fellows meet with David Unger who shares his perspectives on the Eurocrisis as a former journalist and as a writer. Looking at the Greek-German context, he talks to the Fellows about the impact of trans-national politics and economic policymaking on the democratic standards of European society. His insights are followed by three spotlight sessions by our Greek Fellows on selected topics concerning the current political and social situation in Greece. 

In the afternoon, Raúl Aguayo-Krauthausen discusses the topic of (dis-)abilities with the Fellows and elaborates on creative ways to ensure inclusion and accessibility. 

  • Greece and Germany: Crisis of the Euro or Crisis of European Democracy? Dr. David Unger, Adjunct Professor, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies
  • Spotlight Session: The Impact of the Crisis in Greece – (Youth) Unemployment and Its Consequences, Eirini Glynou Lefaki, Fellow
  • Spotlight Session: Seeking Refuge and Asylum – The Situation in Greece,  Nefeli-Sotira Myrodia, Fellow
  • Spotlight Session: Civic Engagement – The Role of Youth and NGOs in Greece Vera-Alexandra Amanatidou, Fellow
  • Project Presentation: Social Heroes - For Inclusion and Accessibility, Raúl Aguayo-Krauthausen, Founder, Sozialhelden e. V. 
  • Fellows Discussion, moderated by Jordan Konell and Anna Cieślak

June 18-20

Individual or Group Work on Action Projects 

In this period the meetings to continue the conversations on human rights related topics are limited to single sessions. Consequently, during these days the Fellows work individually and in small groups. All other meetings take place in order to check in with each other on the project development process.

June 18

Action Project Day

  • Individual and Group Work on Action Projects

June 19

Action Project Day

  • Feedback on Individual and Group Research
  • Individual or Group Work on Action Projects

June 20

Action Project Day

The Power of Art

The Fellows meet with social media expert Sebastian Jabbusch, who shares his insights on the potentials of the world wide web as participatory and democratic tool. The Fellows then return to their Action Projects individually before engaging in project-related group work in the early evening. In the evening, the documentary film “Refuge in Music”, a homage to the composers and musicians imprisoned in the Nazi concentration camp Theresienstadt, serves as the starting point of a discussion on the role of art in the Fellows lives. 

  • How the Internet is Scaling Social Change, Sebastian Jabbusch, Communications and Social Media Consultant
  • Individual or Group Work on Action Projects
  • Working Groups: Discuss Findings from Individual Research
  • Film Screening: Refuge in Music
  • Debriefing: The Power of Art in Your Life, moderated by Judith Scheer and Fernanda Lai, Fellows

June 21

No Program

June 22

Finalize Action Project Plan

Today starts with the last spotlight session in the Fellowship program. The Ukrainian Fellows share their perspectives about the current state and roles of civil society in Ukraine. The Fellows then have the chance to refine their project pitches and to prepare their project presentations for the following day’s farewell reception. Lastly, time is dedicated for the Fellows to reflect on the whole experience of the Fellowship and gather feedback beyond the written and oral evaluations of the program that have taken place throughout the Fellowship. By the end of the day, all Fellows are required to submit their project plans.

  • Spotlight Session: The Current Situation of Civil Society in Ukraine, Iullia Skok and Oleksandra Smyrnova, Fellows
  • Refine Pitches and Prepare Project Presentations
  • Evaluation of the Program
  • Hand in Project Plans  

June 23

Closing the Fellowship Program

Fellows, Senior Fellows, host families and board members are invited to the farewell evening.

  • Fellows present their Project Ideas
  • Closing Remarks
  • Farewell Reception with Host Families and Guests

June 24

Individual Farewells to the City (No Program)

June 25

Departure for the Netherlands

June 25 to June 28

Humanity in Action International Conference "Gateway to Justice: The Hague" in the Netherlands

June 28

Return to Berlin

Program Supporters

  • Foundation "Remembrance, Responsibility and Future" (Stiftung "Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zukunft")
  • Humanity in Action, Inc.
  • The participation of Greek students in HIA programs is supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. 



Humanity in Action Germany also wishes to thank our partners, host families, Senior Fellows and friends of Humanity in Action. These contributions help to prepare outstanding students for a lifelong commitment to civic responsibility and the promotion of human rights. 


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