A highlight of this year's events offered by the Refugee Programme took place on Saturday, 2nd December 2017: in glaring sunshine followed by snowfall, the programme participants visited the Tree-top Walk in Maibrunn near St. Englmar in the Bavarian Forest, together with a few of the mentors. The buddy-couples not only enjoyed a wonderful view of the surroundings from a height of 30 metres, but also discussed everyday life at the university and progress with learning German over mulled wine, coffee and a children's punch. In addition to numerous animal and plant exhibits, popular photo opportunities especially included the local alpacas and llamas, which were met with great enthusiasm among many participants.
In the week of 06.11.2017, Professor Oscar Calderón visited Passau with a group of Mexican students from Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla to participate in the Chair’s activities and to get to know the University of Passau. In addition to attending seminars, the students presented their planned theses and spent a German-Mexican evening with students from the University of Passau. Dr Martina Maletzky and Oscar Calderón gave presentations on diversity and migration in Mexico and Germany. Unofficially, the evening ended with international snacks and getting to know each other.
amongst others, how cultural prejudices, reservations and stereotypes can be reduced; how intercultural competence can be conveyed and who can support this; which intercultural offers and opportunities for encounters there are in the city and district of Passau; how they can be better communicated and disseminated; and which new forms and offers for encounters are needed for a better coexistence. A report of the results can be requested from the association 'Gemeinsam leben & lernen in Europa'.
Students conduct theoretically sound practical projects in refugee aid as part of the project seminar 'Studieren und Engagieren'. In this context, Daria Senft and Nina Kunze created the 'Fahrradcafé' project in cooperation with the Asylcafé and the Zeughaus. Here, refugees and other residents of Passau can repair bikes together under the guidance of professionals and purchase a repaired bike for a symbolic price. The aim is not only to facilitate mobility, but above all to create symmetrical contact zones in which immigrants interact with the local population. The Fahrradcafé takes place in the Zeughaus once a month.
The DAAD-funded project 'Interkultureller Begegnungsraum' started in the winter semester with an inaugural event under the direction of Dr Maletzky on 25th October 2017. According to the motto 'An answer to every question', the idea of this event was to stimulate peer-learning and to clarify questions about studying and everyday problems together. The 'interkultureller Begegnungsraum' project aims to create contact zones for refugees of the Refugee Programme who are capable of study and German mentors. On the one hand, it hopes to promote the acquisition of culture-specific knowledge, and on the other hand, a wide variety of events that promote intercultural contact are planned. The project is supported by Susanne Dierl and Anas Alhashmi, who are available to assist with questions and suggestions.
On Monday, the 16th October 2017, Professor Barmeyer of the Chair of Intercultural Communication welcomed a group of German Studies students from the University of Sarajevo. Under the direction of Professor Vedad Smailagić, the 15 students familiarised themselves with the culture and language of Germany on a two-week excursion and, amongst other places, stopped here in Passau, Freiburg and Mannheim. The focus of the dialogue was the exchange between contents and practices of German linguistics in Bosnia-Herzegovina and cultural studies and economics at the University of Passau.
Munich and Montréal are considered creative and innovative cities with an increasing number of innovative start-ups. Therefore, Professor Christoph Barmeyer embarked on a stay in Montréal from 20th September until 3rd October 2017 to conduct comparative cultural research on creative cities.
The aim of the research project is to compare the key stakeholders of the creative ecosystem and to trace the emergence and the path of ideas and innovations that spread from start-ups to larger city organisations and the regional environment.
The project, which is supported by the governments of Bavaria and Québec, is comparatively designed, also because Québec and Bavaria have been cultivating intensive economic, political and cultural cooperation for many years.
Professor Barmeyer interviewed key stakeholders such as start-ups, incubators, companies and academic institutions and took part in various events together with Professor Allain Joly from HEC Montréal and Maria Wilhelm, a Cultural Studies master’s student at the Chair of Intercultural Communication.
The programme also included an exchange of information with Benjamin Emans, Head of the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria in Québec, and Ms Lea Pfäffel of the Bavarian Research Alliance (Photo).
In the photo (from left to right) Benjamin Emans, Christoph Barmeyer, Lea Pfäffel, Maria Wilhelm and Allain Joly. Source: Representation of the Free State of Bavaria in Québec
Amongst other things, the increased influx of people with flight and migration backgrounds has led to companies and educational institutions facing the long-term challenge of coordinating an increasingly multi-faceted staff and student body. The Chair of Intercultural Communication of the University of Passau and the Lower Bavaria-Upper Palatinate Chamber of Crafts are accompanying the entry of refugees into the professional life in the framework of a research project. The aim of the project seminar (48550j), which has already been running over several semesters, is to describe the challenges faced by the individual stakeholders (people with a refugee background, training institutions and companies) from their perspective and to empirically record the results. The results are to be reflected to the participants in the form of a video, brochure or workshop.
The contact persons are Angela Sedlmaier (apprenticeships officer for young people with a refugee background, vocational training division) of the Chamber of Crafts and Dr Martina Maletzky (Academic Adviser) of the Chair of Intercultural Communication.
The photo shows Sebastian Öttl (4th from the right), supervisor Professor Christoph Barmeyer (3rd from the right), third supervisor Professor Eric Davoine (2nd from the right) and former colleagues at the Chair
2017. The section mainly focused on how cultural diversity in multinational organisations is mastered at interfaces, in particular how recontextualisation takes place in international transfer processes and what role stakeholders play as intercultural interfaces. The photo shows the three organisers of the working group and (right) Jean-Pierre Segal, Université Paris-Dauphine.
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The start-up centre currently offers around 60 start-ups and small businesses the opportunity to rent office space, to test product developments, to experiment with experts from technology and science and to benefit from networking effects at the centre.
During the visit, the participants of the master’s seminar were given insights into the history and infrastructure of the centre and the Munich Technical University campus from the director and managing director, Mr Christian Heckemann. Three innovative start-ups also presented their businesses and talked about their involvement in local networks. The excursion served as a practical insight into creativity, innovation and the regional involvement of organisations, which are discussed alongside other topics in the advanced seminar.
The topic of the public panel discussion on 13th June 2017, organised jointly by the Chair of Intercultural Communication and the founders of the BETO app, Julia Lohfink and Constanze Seibel, was how integration – one of the greatest intercultural challenges of Western societies – can be constructively shaped.
After a brief introduction to the basic interdependencies of social integration and migration research by Dr Martina Maletzky (Chair of Intercultural Communication), projects from the region were introduced that illustrate how integration can be shaped through education, work and culture. Professor Christoph Barmeyer, Julia Lohfink, Constanze Seibel, Dr Martina Maletzky and Alisha Kress, Directors of the project seminar 'Fluchtmigration und Interkulturalität' (University), Passau students Muhammed Maher Qawas, Mohammed Najjar and Mohammed Anas Alhashmi (all three with refugee backgrounds), as well as Angela Sedlmaier, Apprenticeship Officer for young refugees, asylum seekers and unaccompanied minors (Lower Bavaria-Upper Palatinate Chamber of Crafts) took part in the ensuing panel discussion. The inspiring evening event, which showed a variety of perspectives and in which the audience actively participated, was moderated by Katrina Jordan, Press Officer of the University of Passau. An article on this event can be found in the Passauer Neue Presse.
including in the prestigious International Business Review. He held talks with numerous stakeholders in this Franco-German joint venture at the German ambassador's headquarters in Palais Beauharnais, including Alleo employees from Germany and France, Alleo CEO Frank Hoffmann and representatives of Deutsche Bahn and SNCF.
The picture shows (from left) Ulrike Haupt (Culture Bridge), Professor Christoph Barmeyer (University of Passau), Dr Klaus Vornhusen (Deutsche Bahn) and Dr Wolfgang Merz (Deutsche Bahn).
Together with co-authors Professor Eric Davoine and Clelia Rossi (Université Fribourg), Professor Christoph Barmeyer received the award for the best academic paper for the contribution 'Retaining repatriate knowledge at the crossroad between Global Knowledge Management and Global Talent Management' at the international ATLAS/AFMI Conference, the French-speaking Association for International Management Research 2017 in Antananarivo (Madagascar).
Sebastian Hüsch, Professor of History of Ideas at the University of Aix-en-Provence and Programme Leader of the German-French double master’s ICBS/LEA programme, attended a co-ordination meeting at the Chair of Intercultural Communication at the University of Passau from the 15th to the 17th May 2017. The occasion for the meeting was an exchange with the current year’s German and French students, who will spend the next academic year at the University of Aix-en-Provence and an information event for undergraduate students who may choose this master’s degree programme, which permits both a German and a French degree.
Open questions are subsequently clarified and the contents dialogically and interactively deepened in the face-to-face session, as in this example, the topic of intercultural personnel and organisational development based on a case study on the internationalisation of the fictional 'Innwiese GmbH'. Students are asked to assume the roles of HR managers, production managers, researchers and developers and external organisational development consultants and, based on what they have learned, enforce their arguments and points of view for Innwiese GmbH's 2020 internationalisation strategy.
At the Chair, one can acquire the obligatory project certificate in combination with a seminar certificate. Please read more about our 'Studieren und Engagieren – Interkulturalität im Kontext der Fluchtmigration' project seminar under Project Activities!
The aim of the training was (1) to raise awareness of one's own and German cultural peculiarities; (2) to convey relevant cultural knowledge about German culture; and (3) to contribute to constructive intercultural relations.
The intercultural training was conducted with refugees from Syria, Iraq and Iran who are completing the Refugee Programme at the University of Passau. The participants had a very high level of German and could quickly be integrated in universities or the labour market. For the students, the seminar offered the opportunity to independently put knowledge from intercultural research into practice, and thereby achieve a special learning and success effect. Thus, the students experienced the entire 'value added chain' of professional and academically founded intercultural competence development – from clarification of the task to the conception up to implementation.
For students and migrants, this meant that through the training, both sides came into contact and exchange with each other, getting to know each other, getting closer to each other's cultures and learning from each other.