Transatlantic Exchange of Civic Educators
School-Based and Non-Formal Civics in Germany and the USA
We are excited to announce the launch of the Transatlantic Exchange of Civic Educators (TECE), a new project in partnership with the Association of German Educational Organizations (AdB). This fellowship is convening ten participants from Germany and ten from the United States to engage in dialogue in the field of extracurricular/OST youth and young adult civic learning. Fellows are participating actively in in-person exchange activities in Germany and the U.S., as well as online programming to include peer-learning seminars, site-visits, and thematic small-group work.
As part of our project launch, we hosted an open event, "Civic Learning vs. Politische Bildung: A Discussion of Concepts, Infrastructures and Approaches in the US and Germany," on April 20 at 11:00 a.m. EST / 5:00 p.m. CET with Dr. Peter Levine, Associate Dean and Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship & Public Affairs in Tufts University's Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, and Prof. Bettina Heinrich, Professor of Social Work and Culture Work at the Protestant University of Applied Sciences Ludwigsburg. The main event was followed by an informal Q&A session, where applicants asked questions about the application process.
Please contact AdB with any questions about the event.
The effort to reengage in transatlantic dialogue in the field of youth civic learning comes at a critical time, as both Germany and the United States experience similar societal challenges: structural racism, right-wing populism, polarization and mistrust of democratic institutions and the media, not to mention a strained transatlantic relationship, all exacerbated further by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Germany, the field of non-formal civic education, which falls within the broader “youth work” sector, is legally established and involves a rich array of public and civil society institutions. This system has roots in the democratic “reeducation” effort post WWII in Germany, which was led by the United States. It has its own guiding principles and professional field, separate from school-based civics.
Even though they share a connected history, interactions between school-based and non-formal civic education and between German and the US civic educators been sparse. Professional discourse has developed separately, resulting in distinct and diverse infrastructures, concepts, and approaches. In bringing together actors in the field of civic learning, civic engagement and civic youth work from two national approaches and infrastructures, we hope to unlock opportunities for mutual learning through an investigation of common challenges and respective approaches, as well as to identify promising new concepts and future partnerships.