Which country do we want to be? The Open Society Initiative on tour

Auftaktveranstaltung des Projektes Initiative Offene Gesellschaft on Tour II

Many anniversaries and events of high political relevance are taking place in 2019: 100 years since the Weimar Republic, 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, as well as Elections to the European Parliament and elections in several federal states in Germany. In the context of the political developments in the last few years and with a view to the future, important questions arise: How is the open society doing? How should social co-existence look like in the future on the European, national, city and even individual-neighbourhood level?

Against this backdrop, the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Seniors, Women and Youth (BMBFSFJ) is aiming to create a platform for diverse exchanges of opinions through the project “Open Society on Tour”, which is part of the programme “Live Democracy!”. In 15 locations throughout Germany, socially-relevant questions that concern people in their every-day lives will be answered in cooperation with many supra-regional and local partners and with the help of various offers of participation. Additionally, different answers, view points and ideas will emerge.

The project aims to give a platform to existing pro-democratic engagement, to encourage people from different backgrounds to participate in social discourse, and to generate new momentum for social change and development. In order to reach the maximum amount of people and achieve the most innovative results, different formats will be used: Central to the project is a modular travelling exhibition, which will be placed in central locations in public spaces. This exhibition invites passers-by to both experience and help shape the history, present and future of the open society.

In addition, a think tank is being created which will allow new ideas of social co-existence to be developed together. As part of this, topics and questions that play important roles to the everyday lives of the citizens on the ground will be discussed using interactive formats. A digital component invites people to participate, who are not currently in these locations. Simultaneously, a diverse programme is taking place in every city, which includes discussions and debate formats, activities for adolescents, film screenings and concerts. Following the curatorial principle, local partners, such as museums, theatres, schools and other education facilities, are creating this programme.

The results obtained in the different cities will be documented across different forms of media. The ideas about the open society will be collected and presented at a closing ceremony in Berlin. At this ceremony, citizens’ ideas will also be published and presented to political decision makers.

adelphi, as part of the Open Society Initiative, is taking part in the design, implementation and evaluation of the project “Open society on tour”. In particular, adelphi is supervising the think tank and the programme partnerships.