What is a teenager's take on migration and displacement? How do they view newcomers? What is their definition of home?
"I think in my school, a lot of people have different homes, and maybe some people don’t even feel at home where they live, like in Berlin here."
Elisabeth Keller attends the Sophie-Scholl-School. She and several of her classmates tried to answer some of these questions. Their findings were presented at the New Experts Congress at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt. Students from twelve Europa Schulen participated in the congress.
"So many of the kids are multi-cultural in their backgrounds, multi-lingual; at least bi-lingual."
American Dale Hamprecht is an English teacher at the Schiller-Gymnasium in Berlin.
"So it’s really nice for us to find this project which combines their own experiences, their own history, but also helps them to look at the other people who are going through something similar, or perhaps quite different," Hamprecht says.
The current discussion on migration in Germany forms the starting point for the congress. More than 100,000 teenage refugees arrived in the past couple of years. New Experts provides a platform for the young students to approach these changes. Support came from teachers and artists. Diana Abdulkarim, visual artist from Syria, offered an animation project titled In-Between. One of her student groups presented a dinner scenario.
“Everyone makes his special dish from his land and they are gathering at one table from different cultures and different religions. And so it’s just about celebrating and having fun together - no questions about religion, or anything else - so it’s really amazing how they fit it.”
Serafina Nunez Wilson colored this animation. Her take away from the New Experts student congress...
"We see racism every time in school, in the streets and we can do something now."
"My name is Carmen Mazanene, I am from the Kurt-Schwitters-Oberschule. My project is called Spiegel übungen which is Mirror Exercises. I tried to make the viewer see a difference between the before an after, or the change someone makes."
Student projects ranged from film and music to multi-media. Valeria Lützow conducted a survey. She asked Berliners in different neighborhoods: What is happiness and what is freedom?
“Freedom and happiness in Mitte was more about the materialistic part of life. In Neukölln it was completely different; happiness was more about communication and being happy with other people," says Lützow.
Valeria doesn’t feel like an expert, but the experience of researching and presenting her project at the student congress made her thirsty for more. It triggered a deeper interest in other peoples lives.