Through our work, we aim to support the development of cross-border networks, especially of young people and civil society. We consider it important to involve diverse groups from all kinds of different sectors in order to widen the spectrum in Chinese-European and Turkish-European dialogue. In addition to network effects, exchange experiences also have an impact on the individual level: they strengthen competencies such as empathy, tolerance for ambiguity and a critical self-image, as well as fostering an understanding of other perspectives. In this way, they counter prejudices, xenophobia, and racism. International exchange and encounters provide an opportunity to attain personal and professional qualifications that enable cooperative and responsible action in an interdependent world.
Dialogue with civil society stakeholders in China and Turkey – while keeping in mind the limitations for independent civil society work – supports the monitoring of developments and debates within China and Turkey in a nuanced manner and makes them visible to a German or European audience. Such dialogue with China and Turkey is fundamental for connecting debates in Germany, Europe, China, and Turkey with one another and for developing joint answers to global challenges. Exchange and encounters promote the ability to reflect on one’s relationship with others, which in turn is essential if Europe is to commit itself credibly to a more inclusive international order. In this sense, our work in this context also contributes to our objective in our first area of activity.
Our work involving exchanges and encounters with stakeholders from China needs to be rethought in light of the developments outlined above. We will therefore reassess the potential scope for civil society dialogue with China. Our Beijing office will play an important role in this.
As far as our exchange formats with Turkey are concerned, we can rely on a well-established and robust network of partners in Turkey. Our Istanbul office as well as the already engaged civil society at the local level play a major role in expanding this network. For our exchange formats to be successful in practice, we must ensure mutual interest, which is why we continuously tailor the topics of our exchange formats to current developments. In this context we see close links to the issues that we want to prioritize in the other two areas of activity of our strategy. Furthermore, increased cooperation between foreign policy think tanks in Turkey and Europe can contribute valuable insights to our first area of activity.