Europe

THE CHALLENGE

A LACK OF CONFIDENCE POSES A DANGER TO EUROPE’S FUTURE

Europe stands for the rule of law and social justice, the separation of powers, democracy and freedom of the individual. The idea of a united Europe that reflects these values has suffered a loss of confidence, however. Many people see a Europe that is shaken by crises, whose individual countries are at odds with one another and that does not appear capable of acting. Many people remain ignorant about the institutions and working practices of the European Union. Nationalist parties are increasingly on the rise. Europe, that is to say the current and potential member states of the European Union, finds itself at a crossroads.

 

OUR VISION

A COHESIVE EUROPE THAT ACTS TOGETHER

Only together will we Europeans be able to find and implement solutions to challenges such as ‎climate change or migration and integration. We believe in a cohesive Europe that acts together. We want a Europe that is actively shaped by its citizens and based on open-mindedness and tolerance, one that offers justice and equal opportunities, protects the rights of the individual, guarantees democracy and the rule of law, and ensures peace.

 

OUR OBJECTIVE

TO BUILD UP RELATIONS, ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY AND STRENGTHEN EUROPE’S ABILITY TO ACT

Our objective is to strengthen Europe’s cohesion and ability to act. Turkey is linked to Europe on account of its geographical position and wide-ranging political, cultural, historical and economic ties. Sustainable relations between Germany and the other European states and Turkey are also part and parcel of this. We want Germany to live up to its historical responsibility to promote a peaceful, united and free Europe. We are convinced that a unified Europe is the best thing for our continent.

 

OUR APPROACH

EXPERIENCING AND SHAPING EUROPE

Cohesion comes about when people in Europe have a common sense of European identity and when they experience and understand the benefits the community has to offer. We want to inspire young people in particular about the idea of a unified Europe that is able to act. We give them the chance to experience and actively help shape Europe, and show them the opportunities open to them for living and working in Europe. Our focus here is on the role played by Europe in the world, European climate policy, the cultural and public spheres, European political education and the economy and work in Europe.

Integration

OUR OBJECTIVE

EDUCATIONAL SUCCESS DETERMINED BY BACKGROUND

Germany is a country of immigration, and we already live in a society that is becoming increasingly pluralized. To ensure that this society remains strong in future, it is essential that we take full advantage of the potential offered by all the people living here. Everyone in Germany should have equal opportunities to participate in central areas of social life. One key prerequisite for this is a good education. We are committed to reducing the inequality in terms of school and university qualifications that exists between people with and without a migrant background.

Our goal is therefore to reduce the inequality in Germany in terms of school and university qualifications achieved by people of migrant origin aged 15-30 by 70 percent by 2025, as compared with the 2005 level.

Educational success in Germany is primarily a question of a person’s social background: whether a child will enjoy a successful educational career depends to a major extent on the family into which it is born. Children from non-university-educated families for example will enter higher education significantly less often than children from university-educated families, despite performing equally well. In principle, this affects children with and without a migrant background to an equal extent. Young people of migrant origin from socially disadvantaged families face double the burden: they are additionally confronted with migration-specific challenges, for example with respect to their language skills or their family’s familiarity with the German education system.

OUR VISION

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL

We believe that it is possible to have a society in which all children have the same opportunities to pursue a successful educational career, irrespective of their origin. Everyone in Germany should have the same chance to participate in central areas of social life. A person’s social and ethnic background must not pose an obstacle to their educational success. Our society must stick together and must neither discriminate against nor marginalize minorities.

OUR OBJECTIVE

NO DIFFERENCES IN TERMS OF EDUCATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS

Comparing the number of school and university qualifications achieved by people with and without a migrant background serves as one indicator of equal opportunities and participation. Significant differences can be noted here that prove how important our commitment is. Our goal is to reduce the inequality in Germany in terms of school and university qualifications achieved by people of migrant origin aged 15-30 by 70 percent by 2025, as compared with the 2005 level.

OUR APPROACH

STRUCTURAL CHANGES IN THE EDUCATION SYSTEM

We support schools and universities in their efforts to bring about systematic changes that ensure that all children and young people are given equal opportunities, thereby compensating for any disadvantages they may face as a result of their backgrounds. The social environment also plays a key role if integration is to be successful. By putting forward arguments and factual knowledge, we contribute to a positive development of the integration climate and stand for a society that values diversity.

We concentrate on six fields of action in our work:

  • Consistent language education
    Language is a prerequisite for equal participation. It is therefore essential to promote language education if we wish to achieve equal opportunities and participation for all young people.
  • Educational transitions
    Educational transitions are important milestones in a person’s educational biography. We want to facilitate and improve these transitions, from nursery school to university, as this plays a crucial role in determining whether a person enjoys equal opportunities and participation in the future.
  • All-day schools
    Whether or not young people fulfil their potential is determined at schools. Consequently, all children and young people must be given the best possible support, irrespective of their background. All-day schools offer the ideal conditions for ensuring equal opportunities and participation.
  • Success at university
    It is significantly more difficult for young people from non-university-educated families of migrant origin or low socioeconomic status to embark on a course of university study than it is for the children of university-educated parents. The higher education system must adapt to non-traditional student groups so as to achieve more equal opportunities and participation at university.
  • Embracing diversity
    People with particular social, cultural or religious characteristics are often discriminated against during their educational career, with the result that their prospects of educational success decline. A conscious decision to embrace diversity in the education system can counteract such tendencies and create better prerequisites for successful learning.
  • Integration climate
    Common and equal living conditions for all sections of the population, regardless of background, must be acknowledged and established by politicians and society. This is the key challenge for integration – and a condition for equal opportunities and participation.

Climate change

THE CHALLENGE

GLOBAL WARMING IS PUTTING OUR FUTURE AT RISK

Man-made climate change is a reality. The way we live is resulting in global warming, which in turn is causing the fundamental conditions for human life on earth to deteriorate. The consequences are evident already today: flooding in Asia, drought in Africa, melting polar ice caps and glaciers, rising sea levels. All of this entails human suffering and high social and economic costs.

OUR VISION

REDUCING GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS, MITIGATING CLIMATE CHANGE

In order to preserve a safe operating space for humanity, we want to drive forward solutions that will mitigate climate change. Not only do we believe we have a moral obligation towards those already affected by climate change and subsequent generations to do so; we are also confident that it is possible and makes sound economic sense to avert the most serious effects of climate change by taking decisive action to counter its causes. This gives rise to the need to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases quickly and significantly.

OUR GOAL

GERMANY LEADING THE WAY FORWARD WITH A SUCCESSFUL ENERGY TRANSITION

As an industrialized nation, Germany has a particular responsibility to play a pioneering role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This is what the energy transition aims to achieve. At the same time, it offers an opportunity to develop a new form of prosperity and growth that no longer goes hand in hand with increasing exploitation of resources and rising emissions. A successful energy transition will allow Germany to demonstrate that ecological sustainability and economic competitiveness are by no means mutually exclusive. We are thus committed to the success of the energy transition in Germany so that greenhouse gas emissions can be lowered by 55 percent by 2030 and by at least 80 percent by 2050, as compared with their 1990 levels. This would serve as a convincing point of reference for the climate-friendly restructuring of a competitive national economy that could motivate other nations to follow a similar path.

OUR STRATEGY

SUPPORTING POLICY CHANGE

The energy transition will succeed through a combination of conducive political framework conditions and a change in the patterns of consumption of every single one of us. Given the urgency and scale of the challenge, we are concentrating our work on supporting structural and systemic changes that will lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.We initiate and promote projects

  • that create a scientific basis for a policy shift towards ambitious climate mitigation,
  • that provide answers to practical questions concerning the implementation of political strategies and decisions aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions,
  • that organize support for expedient strategies and implementation plans.

Due to the high contribution they make to man-made greenhouse gas emissions, the energy and transport sectors play a particular role in this context, as do aspects of urban and infrastructural development.

Cultural education

THE CHALLENGE

UNEQUAL ACCESS TO CULTURAL EDUCATION

Cultural education plays a key role in fostering the personal development, expressiveness and creative abilities of children and young people. Music, theatre, painting, sculpture, film, dance and literature give children and young adults opportunities to better understand themselves and the world around them and to acquire fundamental skills that will allow them to actively shape the world in which they live and work both today and in the future. As things currently stand, however, not all children and youngsters have equal opportunities to access cultural education and in many cases still depend on their own families to provide them with such access.

OUR VISION

BEST POSSIBLE SUPPORT FOR ALL CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE

Our vision is for all children and young people to have their personal development and skills fostered in the best possible way, thereby giving them equal opportunities to participate in society and the working world. We are therefore committed to creating equal access to cultural education for all children and young adults. Cultural education should not remain the prerogative only of privileged children and youngsters but must be open to all – particularly to those who are deprived socially and/or economically and are not provided with access to cultural education as a matter of course by their families.

OUR GOAL

CULTURAL EDUCATION AS AN INTEGRAL ELEMENT OF GENERAL EDUCATION

Actively engaging with issues relevant to their lives and with wider social topics within the medium of the arts gives children and young people the chance to explore and express their own ideas, feelings and thoughts in a way that simply is not possible in any other form. We are therefore convinced that cultural education cannot remain a randomly available additional subject but must be made an indispensable and integral element of general education.

OUR PATH

CRITERIA FOR HIGH-QUALITY CULTURAL EDUCATION IN SCHOOLS AND THE EDUCATION SYSTEM

In order to reach as many schools and pupils as possible, the education system level and the instruments used to control it are particularly important in terms of achieving our objectives. We support the respective state-level ministries in including criteria for high-quality cultural education in their orientation and reference frameworks for school quality and in ensuring that these criteria are applied at the local level. Our target is for this to have been achieved in North Rhine-Westphalia and three other federal states by 2015 and in all of Germany’s states by 2025.

We are committed to exchange and constructive discourse between practitioners, academic researchers and politicians. For instance, we promote exemplary cultural education models in schools and support the transfer of professional knowledge to the structures and networks of the federal education system. Despite a wide range of projects having been pursued, we still know too little about the qualities of cultural education. We therefore regard targeted research funding and the establishment of a professional consulting system as the basis for supporting political decision-makers and stakeholders in practice and academia in their decisions.


Cluster Newsletter

Our quarterly newsletters will keep you up-to-date with all the news relating to our cluster themes Europe, Integration, Climate Change and Cultural Education.