Five days, eight nations and one show.
Twelve young people between the ages of 19 and 22 came together in Jerusalem and Berlin to set up a performance called “Narratives of Longing”, using approaches such as ethnology, fine arts, performance and video-making.
After a week in Jerusalem in November, they met again in Berlin for 5 days to finalize their performances and present at the Theatre Expedition Metropolis as part of the festival “New Narratives”.
The participants were not only from Germany, Israel and Palestine, but also from Afghanistan, Mexico, Italy, Poland and Romania. Diversity was not merely spoken about, but was also experienced and lived daily. Flight – the search for asylum, threat and discrimination – was a connecting narrative that all participants had experienced in varying degrees, regardless of where they born or raised. The narrative of personal liberation from constraints, permanent expectations and restrictions was a central theme for many.
This authentic performance of diversity attracted a large audience at the festival “New Narratives”.
We are proud to be part of this project and to make a great contribution to its success by providing a safer space across conflict lines at the WBC in Jerusalem.
“Narratives of longing” is a cooperation with: Drei Wünsche Frei-Studio for Hybrid Culture (Berlin), Theater Expedition Metropolis (Berlin), the Center for International Encounters (Jerusalem), the Willy Brandt Center Jerusalem and the Musrara School of Art. Special thanks to the Theater Thikwa Berlin.
This project was funded within the framework of the EUROPEANS FOR PEACE program of the Foundation EVZ (Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zukunft / Remembrance, Responsibility and Future).
Featured image by courtesy of Amal Mattar, 2018
Photo documentation: Michelle Reissmann
In January 2018 Maja Sojref joined the Willy Brandt Center as the new coordinator for the project “Education for Social Change”. She has since spent as much time as possible in the youth clubs and offices of our partner organisations, in order to learn more about them and their approaches to non-formal education.
“These youth movements are radically re-imagining the possibilities for Israeli-Palestinian cooperation. Against all odds, they are determined to find new ways. The region needs youth like them”, she says “and I feel very privileged to work with them.”
Maja is a policy, public affairs and communications specialist with experience in international organisations, NGOs and media in Berlin, London, Oxford and Jerusalem. Before joining the Willy Brandt Center she worked as press consultant for the OECD Berlin office.
Growing up in Berlin Maja, was an active member of SJD-Die Falken. During countless trips to Israel and Palestine, she discovered her passion for Middle Eastern politics, history and languages and fell in love with Jerusalem: “There is no place like Jerusalem. In Jerusalem you can see both the ugliest face of the conflict and a blueprint for solidarity and shared existence.”
On 8th March 2018 we are still having to fight for equal rights for everyone regardless of gender.
The WBC in Jerusalem has been working for more than twenty ye…ars with our partners to strengthen the political role of women in society.
Without equal rights for men and women, there will be neither social justice nor a democratic society. That’s what we want to emphasise today on International Women’s Day, but it is also something we have to work for every day!
Thank you for your support!
Postcard designed for the WBC by: Dorit Bialer, 2018
In November young artists from Berlin and Jerusalem came together in Jerusalem.
They arrived with distinctive backgrounds of five different nations and are trained in fields such as ethnology, fine arts, performance and videomaking. Together they started working on a performance about “longing”
The project will continue in March 2018 in Berlin.
“Narratives of longing” is a cooperation with Drei Wünsche Frei-Studio for Hybrid Culture (Berlin), Theater Expedition Metropolis (Berlin) and the Center for International Encounters (Jerusalem) and is funded within the framework of the EUROPEANS FOR PEACE programme of the Foundation EVZ (Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zukunft/ Remembrance, Responsibility and Future).
This year’s partners conference was another opportunity for us to reflect on the past year’s activities, to exchange our experiences and to take a glimpse into the future: How do we continue to create peace and dialogue while surrounded by conflict? Taking a new route with our Annual Conference we focused this year on the city where we live, work and meet: Jerusalem.
There is no solution for the conflict without considering Jerusalem in all its complexities and contradictions. So this year we opened the doors of our Center in this very heart of the conflict for two days to focus on this complex and wonderful city. While our reception on Thursday was an opportunity for mingling, networking and discussing art exhibitions in the WBC, we invited our guests on Friday to take part in talking sessions with artists, political discussions with activists and journalists and to debate during breaks on our balcony and terrace the possible future visions of our city. We thank you all for joining our event and sharing your experiences and thoughts. We can’t wait to continue the discussions and ideas within our projects.
We were happy to welcome our partners from the Hans Böckler Foundation for the 3rd time to facilitate a delegation for young scholars and student activists. Under the title “Amorphous borders? Conflicts, borders and boundaries within and between the Israeli and Palestinian society”, we facilitated a number of international encounters, political talks and tours and discussion rounds to give an impression of the complexity of our region.
Although 9 days are never enough to answer all the questions, we enjoyed furthering the knowledge of the group during meetings with German diplomats, discussions with trade unions from both sides and tours, and gatherings with activists. We can’t wait to continue our talks and our partnership with the upcoming delegation next year!
How do we learn how to think critically, and how do we teach others to learn how to think critically for themselves? How can we learn how to be in solidarity, and implement liberatory processes within our classrooms, staff meetings, and daily lives, through educational dialogue and creativity?
This 12-week course, Education as a Political Act: Co-Creating New Possibilities, explores the concept of critical pedagogy, created by the great educational philosopher Paulo Freire based upon his book “Pedagogy of the Oppressed,” through experiential and participatory practices of educational dialogue and the expressive arts (aesthetic education), and how to implement these philosophies daily in our work environments, classrooms, and activism.
The class will run from January 2018 – March 2018, once a week at the Willy Brandt Center Jerusalem on Wednesday’s from 17:30-19:30.
To express interest and to request more information, please email Shoshana Gottesman: firstname.lastname@example.org
On occasion of the partners conference 2017 Johanna Uekermann visited the WBC a last time in her position as Juso-chairwoman. After four years of chairmanship Johanna will devote herself to other political challenges. Thank you, Johanna, for four years of committed support and solidarity, thanks for being a partner for peace and social justice!
You always will be welcome at the WBC!
Johannas speech in the full wording (WBC Jerusalem, 19.10.2017):
Dear comrades, dear friends of the Willy Brandt Center,
I am happy, that so many of you have gathered tonight at the place, which has become one of my favorite places to go to over the last years: The Willy Brandt Center. However, the Willy Brandt Center is not only a location, is not only this house: The Willy Brandt Center is a symbol, and an idea of a better future for all of us.
As some of you probably already know, this will be my last delegation to the region as chairwoman of Jusos, although I hope many others will follow, either for private amusement or in other political functions. But I want to take this opportunity to look back and share with you some of my personal impressions and experiences.
In 2016, we celebrated “20 years of the Willy Brandt Center.” It was a time where we looked back to the year 1996, when the Willy Brandt Center was founded. Back then the foundation did not include this wonderful house in Abu Tor. This house became part of the cooperation in 2003. No the Willy Brandt Center was a promise, a promise between the leaders of political youth organizations on an eye-to-eye-level to work together for a better future. A promise built on trust and personal relationships. And this trust, built on personal relationships and mutual understanding is something which has allowed the Willy Brandt Center to exist until today.
I myself look back to several meetings of the kind, where we built trust on a personal level to work together in the political scene. I like to remember a visit to Givat Brenner, the Kibbutz of the by-then chairman of Young Labour Uri Keidar. I like to remember a visit in Silwan, where we were invited by Ahmad to have dinner with him and his family. These are the kind of encounters, where bonds were created between people, which are stronger than the constant dissonances in day-to-day politics. Because this is what in my opinion the Willy Brandt Center is about: There are times of light and times of shadow, but we have always managed to keep our channels open, to communicate in times, where it hardly seemed possible and not to lose our personal bonds.
Dear comrades, the Willy Brandt Center has welcomed many people, people from all over the world, people with different perspectives, people from various political movements. It has seen people with political power and it has seen grassroot-activists coming from Germany to the region for their first time. And all those people are the Willy Brandt Center. Without them, it would not exist. And its existence also depends on the inclusion of new faces, of new people who feel the spirit of the Willy Brandt Center and it include it in their daily political activism. Therefore I look optimistic into the future of the Willy Brandt Center, because I know, and I am very sure about this, the Willy Brandt Center does not depend on single persons, but on the relationships we build on an eye-to-eye level every time we meet. I have built this kind of relationships, which I will hold onto in the future and I am sure the coming generations will do the same.
I want to thank all of you present here and those who cannot be here with us tonight. Have a wonderful evening!
SAVE THE DATE
19-20 (Thu-Fri) October 2017
Willy Brandt Center Jerusalem, Ein Rogel 22
Dear Friends and Partners,
It is with great pleasure that we invite you to our 2017 Partners Conference, the 14th WBC Annual Conference. This represents an opportunity for us to reflect on the past year’s activities, to exchange experiences, and also to look to the future; asking the question, how do we continue to create peace while surrounded by conflict?
Jerusalem, the site of our house and the centre of much of our work, lies at the heart of the conflict, and it might be said that without focusing on this city, there can be no true progress. This year’s conference will focus on this complex and wonderful place, with workshops, panels, exhibitions, a guided district tour and networking opportunities.
We also look forward to celebrating another year of our project with all of you, remembering that as well as the work we do, it is the connections we make through it that truly define our success.
Further information will be sent closer to the event in October, to registered guests.
We’re looking forward to seeing you there!
Please RSVP to
and let us know whether you will attend the entire conference or one of the days.
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us via: email@example.com
Your Team at Willy Brandt Center Jerusalem
Dear friends of the Willy Brandt Center Jerusalem,
Germany‘s Federal Elections are coming up on September 24th 2017!
Join us for an ELECTION NIGHT VIEWING PARTY!
Let’s celebrate with food and drinks while the electoral map is beeing decided.
SUN, SEP 24, 18:30-22 PM // FREE
Willy Brandt Center Jerusalem
Ein Rogel Street