absolutely intercultural 139 +++ Kurds and Arabs +++ Iraq +++ NYOI +++ Spiritual Journeys +++ Migration +++

In this show we will talk about: religious intercultural exchange and especially the famous Catholic event  “World Youth Day”, a New Zealander who traveled the world and found the most unusual souvenir in Peru (his wife), and I will take you behind the scenes of the inspiring project – the “The National Youth Orchestra of Iraq” which we already heard about in our last shows.

absolutely unexpected part I
We heard from the Scottish conductor Paul MacAlindin himself, from tutors who are supporting the orchestra by teaching different musical instruments and even from students at RheinAhrCampus who helped promote the project through social media such as Facebook and YouTube. This time, in our first category  we will hear more about the intercultural differences, the language barriers and the everyday challenges of the “National Youth Orchestra of Iraq”. I talk with Karl-Walter Keppler, the chairperson of the sponsorship association which is organising financial support for the Iraqi musicians so that they can travel to Europe to perform in the Beethovenfest in Germany. Karl-Walter has first-hand intercultural experiences as he, himself, travelled to Iraq last year.  But what are the motivations behind his involvement in the project?

absolutely spiritual
In our second category  I talk to a student from RheinAhrCampus, Denise Wagner, who is perhaps a little different from other students. Most students nowadays are not very religious. Or if they are, we don’t really notice. However, Denise is an exception. She is an active Catholic and likes to do pilgrimages and so she has traveled to many spiritual places – for example the Greek Island Pathmos. Her next destination will be the “World Youth Day” which is going to take place in Spain later this year. But is she doing this on her own? And what exactly happens when she arrives at these places? Is this about fasting with bread and water in a monastery or about dancing around campfires and playing the guitar?

absolutely unexpected part II
In this category I want to come back to the interview with Karl-Walter Keppler. In this part he gives us insights into the specific work on the project. So what is his foundation doing for the orchestra? Without this support the Iraqui musicians would not be able to pay for their travel to Europe. Karl-Walter is going to tell us about the status quo of the project! Where are they at the moment, what they need and what is going to happen in the future?

absolutely migrated
In our last category  Mathew Dunne will share some of his life experiences with you. He is originally from New Zealand, but travelled the world until he met his wife in Peru on a holiday. He loves to leave his comfort zone and travel to unique destinations, but he may have different motivations… On these journeys, Mat has experienced a lot more than most of us. Mat is not just traveling as a holiday maker – he has lived in most of the countries he visited for a longer period of time and even worked there. He will tell us about his motivations and his specific experiences he gathered while working as plumber in London.

Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 22 July

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Editor: Markus Scherer

absolutely intercultural 138 +++ Saudi Arabia +++ Iraq +++ NYOI +++ Diversophy +++ Refugee Week +++

Diversophy logoIn this show we’ll be hearing about how games can help your intercultural awareness. We’ll also be following up on a couple of items from the last show by going to Iraq to hear more about the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq initiative which brought Arab and Kurdish Iraqis together to make music and we’ll be re-visiting the issue of the right of Saudi women to drive cars in cities.
absolutely independent:
In the last show we went absolutely independent when we heard about the Saudi women who were going to drive their cars on June 17th in a bid to convince the authorities to accept this practice. Actually June 17th was not meant as a one-off but as a start date, but it seems that the day went well with quite a few women driving their cars with only minor brushes with the police as a result. This is in contrast to what happened with a similar action in 1990 when the women then were harassed by the authorities and other citizens and described as ‘The fallen: Advocates of vice and corruption on Earth’. ‘A source of depravity’ and when other citizens were advised to ‘Take whatever action you see fit’ to bring them under control. What’s the difference between then and now? Perhaps that, because of social media, the eyes of the world were on Saudi Arabia on this occasion.

absolutely social
So does social media such as Twitter and Facebook have an effect on culture? That is a question which I shall be exploring as part of a webinar organised by Christine Develotte and Fred Dervin on June 29th.  More specifically we will be looking at whether social media can actually contribute to developing intercultural competences. You will find the link to the free webinar here.

absolutely playful
We’ve covered games before and today we’re going to hear from George Simons working with Kati Volt about his Diversophy game, how it works and a bit of background about how the game is made. So how can you gain some intercultural awareness through a game? George Simons of Diversophy.com explains the game which started out as a face to face card game but now also comes in online and Android smart phone format. We also hear about sample cards in the game and how people react to them. In fact George and I had a great deal more to talk about; too much for one show, so you’ll be hearing more from George and his gaming approach in future shows. In the meantime you might like to try one of the Diversophy Android apps on your Smart phone.

absolutely musical
Now let’s be absolutely musical and hear a little more about that incredible orchestra put together by audition on YouTube which puts together traditional enemies, Arabs and Kurds, to play together in an Orchestra which is due to perform at the Beethoven Festival in Bonn this coming October. In previous shows we have heard from Paul MacAlindin, the conductor and Karin Wolf, the viola teacher, as well as the RheinAhr Campus students whose task it was to find a way of raising awareness of the event. In this show I will play you an extract from one of the videos put together to explain the background to this very special orchestra. You can see and hear the whole video here.

absolutely desperate
Did you know that this week is international refugee week? In Australia it was marked by an amazing reality show, Asylum Exit Australia: Go back to where you came from , in which over three consecutive nights you followed the journey of six ordinary Australians who made the refugee journey to Australia backwards; in the words of the programme makers :

Deprived of  their wallets, phones and passports, they board a leaky refugee boat, are rescued mid-ocean, experience immigration raids in  Malaysia, live in a Kenyan refugee camp and visit slums in Jordan  before ultimately making it to the Democratic Republic of Congo and  Iraq, protected by UN Peacekeepers and the US military. For some of  them it’s their first time abroad. For all of them, it’s an epic  journey and the most challenging experience of their lives.

This is all about trying to walk in the shoes of others or leaving your comfort zone and is meant to confront viewers with their stereotypes of refugees as spongers and taking the easy option and so on. For the moment this has only been broadcast on Australian TV.  But the TV company have added another way in which you can get a taste of what it might be like to have all your normal certainties suddenly taken away from you, in the form of  a simulation. The game starts in Australia where, through some unamed political developments, you are suddenly in extreme danger of your life and need to escape. How does it feel to have to leave the place you consider home, to suddenly not know who you can trust? These are the sorts of issues which the game explores. You can try it out for free. I’d be interested to hear your reactions so do add a comment here after playing it. .

Ways to support “The National Youth Orchestra of Iraq”:

The National Youth Orchestra of Iraq would especially welcome your support on the various social media sites if you have a moment or two to spare.

YOUTUBE: 1. NYOI plays for kids, 2. General Information, 3. KICKSTARTER

FACEBOOK: 1. German, 2. International

Our next show will be coming to you from Dr. Laurent Borgmann in Germany on 8th July 2011

The host of this show is: Anne Fox
Editor: Markus Scherer

absolutely intercultural 135 +++ new editor +++ national youth orchestra +++ reunion of two sisters +++

Dino, our previous editor, is not working for this podast any longer. He finished his studies and right now he is doing an internship as a controller in a company in Switzerland! The team of the international department at RheinAhrCampus wishes him the best in his future. Dino was the most international of us and he jokingly introduced himself as half German, half Italian and half Swiss. We all know that Dino has the potential to go very far and wish him the best!

absolutely new
But who is going to help us with the podcasts? I have the pleasure to present you his successor: Markus Scherer. You may know him from interviews in previous shows. Dino made sure there was a smooth transition and taught Markus all the tricks of the trade so that you, the listeners, will hopefully not even notice any difference in quality. Markus is a student at RheinAhrCampus and in our first category  Emese and Lucy are trying to find out everything about his hobbies, interests and fears.

absolutely open-minded
I am talking to Paul MacAlindin the Musical Director of the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq and his flautist Daniel Agi about their new music project in Iraq in our second category. What happened when they tried to start an orchestra in an Arabic country recovering from a war? Imagine if you have to create an intercultural team consisting of multi-lingual and multi-cultural and multi-religious participants. Perhaps even people who outside your team would never choose to talk to each other – like Kurdish and Arabic participants. How difficult must that be? Paul MacAlindin created the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq which can also be followed on facebook. He will tell you more about his project and the hurdles he has to take. Furthermore Daniel Agi will share his experiences how he supported the flautists during the rehearsals in Iraq.

absolutely coincidental
In our last category you will learn about an unlikely reunion of two sisters. Both have the surname “Bognar”. One grew up in Germany, the other in Hungary. When the German sister wanted to learn Hungarian her teacher matched her with another student who is also called “”Bognar”. This story is too sweet to be true! But how could that happen? Well, Emese is from Hungary and working for the international department here at RheinAhrCampus– and Daniela is German and a student at RheinAhrCampus. They both met for the first time here on campus. But are they related? This is what Lucy is going to find out and at the same time we learn more about the differences of everyday life in Hungary and Germany

Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 27 May

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Editor: Markus Scherer