20-22 January 2023, Erfurt
For one weekend, four students slipped into the role of delegates of the United Nations
Long, complicated negotiations and short, concise speeches were experienced by four Master's students from the Department of Social and Cultural Sciences from 20-22 January 2023 at the Erfurt Model United Nations (EfMUN). The three-day conference not only gave them an insight into the diplomatic workings of the United Nations but also allowed them to become active themselves. As delegates from New Zealand, United Kingdom, Hungary and Croatia, they worked together in two committees with over 100 other Bachelor's and Master's students from all over Germany. In the General Assembly, they dealt with the dangers of nuclear weapons and the trade of small arms and illicit weapons, while the connections between climate change and health were discussed in the United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA). In the Security Council, Afghanistan and peacekeeping missions were on the agenda. In her keynote speech at the closing ceremony of EfMUN, Marleen Schreier, who herself has been active at the international level for NMUN for more than ten years, directly related exactly these topics to her own everyday life and encouraged the students to face the different challenges on their own career paths. Social events such as a sightseeing tour through Erfurt, a joint lunch and a delegate dance framed the event which took place in Erfurt's town hall.
“It has been a very enriching experience to learn and collaborate with other fellow students on global issues”, said Nelly Corrales, who represented Hungary at UNEA. There, at the end of a long, busy weekend and after some amendments, three resolutions were adopted. “For me, the EFMUN was more than just a simulation; addressing the delegates from the position of United Kingdom was nerve-racking, but in the end, it was a learning experience, one I would repeat without hesitation”, described Ferdinard Osei, who represented the United Kingdom in the General Assembly, where five resolutions emerged from a total of six working papers. Thanks to their participation in EfMUN, the students were for the first time able to apply the knowledge they had previously acquired in the virtual MUN seminar as part of the project Practising Transnational Politics in Blended Learning (PATRAPO). “At EfMUN, the students were able to dive deep into international negotiations and international law based on currently relevant topics and experience for themselves how difficult it can be to reach consensus and develop common positions as well as measures at the international level”, said Muriel C. Pluschke, who accompanied the excursion as Faculty Advisor. In the end, the Fulda delegation even received an award for the best position paper.
The project Practising Transnational Politics in Blended Learning (PATRAPO) is a model project at Fulda University of Applied Sciences, headed by Prof. Dr. Claudia Wiesner and Prof. Dr. Philip Liste and supported by the research assistants Muriel C. Pluschke and Clara Umstätter. It includes an innovative, international cooperation in teaching with the Autonomous University Madrid, Zagreb University, and the associated partner Mac Ewan University (Edmonton/Canada), which is funded by the DAAD and Erasmus+. The Catholic University Lviv (Ukraine) is also involved in the seminar through funding from the Hesse-Ukraine Bridge Programme of the HMWK.
Everybody who is interested is welcome to join the lectures. If you wish to participate online, please register here.
22 November 2022
The European Home Parliaments give citizens the opportunity to engage in discussions about current European topics in an interactive way. For our students this is a great chance to apply the knowledge they have gained about the European Union and thus we participated again in the 7th round of the European Home Parliament.
What are the Home Parliaments?
European Home Parliaments are an initiative of the NGO “Pulse of Europe”, an independent citizens’ initiative founded in Frankfurt am Main in 2016).
The aim of the home parliaments is to bring European debates to citizens’ homes and discuss current European topics in small groups. This can work among family members, friends or in our case students. Usually, three questions of European matter are discussed and then voted upon (just like in a real parliament).
This year’s topics:
The overall question of this years’ round was: Europe on the next level: Do we need a deeper cultural and political integration?
This included three further proposals and questions:
1. European Public Holiday: Should there be a joint European Public Holiday to commemorate Europe’s shared history and values?
2. History in Europe’s Classrooms: Should history education in Europe’s schools provide more common European content and go beyond national narratives?
3. EU Membership Process: Should EU enlargement be accelerated for countries with candidate status?
Students were divided into three groups and discussed one question each. They engaged in lively discussions and then presented their results to the other students. After that, we voted on each question and finally on the overall question. Students were very engaged in the debate and enjoyed the interactive nature of the home parliaments. It was interesting to see, how the opinions varied from being very critical to agreeing very much with the question.
We thank everybody for participating in the debate and are curious to see how these debates continue on the European level.
3 November 2022, 18:00-19:30
The war against the Ukraine is still going on. What does that mean for EU Studies? Will it be a Zeitwende? Four researchers from four different universities and countries met in Fulda to discuss this: Claudia Wiesner (Fulda University of Applied Sciences); Philipp Genschel (European University Institute, Florence), Doris Wydra (University of Salzburg), Knud-Erik Joergensen (Aarhaus University, Denmark).
Students and faculty members came to listen to the interesting discussion on-site. Further participated online. No matter if they participated online or on-site, the discussion got everyone thinking and the discussions continued even after the event.
July, 4- July, 6
To slip into the role of a delegate of the United Nations and to experience how decisions are made on the UN level, this opportunity was offered to students from four different countries from July 4 to 6 in Fulda. Under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Claudia Wiesner and Prof. Dr. Philip Liste as well as Muriel C. Pluschke and Clara Umstätter supported by Maria Keller, Zhylien Kaja and Meike Schmidt-Gleim, the SK Department hosted an international Model United Nations (MUN), which was carried out within the framework of the PATRAPO (Practising Transnational Politics) and Transnational Governance and Human Rights (HAW International) projects. Project partners are Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain, Zagreb University, Croatia, and MacEwan University, Edmonton, Canada. In addition, a student delegation from Catholic University Lviv, Ukraine, led by Prof. Dr. Halyna Protsyk, arrived. The project partners were represented by a delegation of three students from Canada and Prof. Dr. Chaldeans Mensah. The Canadian students led the participants as chairmen (Dais) through the conference and its proceedings. In addition to the Canadians, a student delegation from Zagreb, Croatia, was present to participate in the conference. Additionally, students from Madrid, Spain, as well as some other students from Fulda were connected online to participate in the hybrid conference. After two semesters of intensive preparation in a virtual, cross-national seminar, it was a real highlight for all participants to finally come together in person and simulate a UN conference together, as well as to exchange ideas and make international contacts.
The first Model United Nations in Fulda was opened with a speech by Professor Halyna Protsyk from Ukraine. She addressed the war in Ukraine, which was also the topic of the following conference. After her speech, some of the Ukrainian students shared their personal impressions from the war zone, which touched and affected everyone present.
Afterwards, the actual conference began, during which the approximately 40 participants took on the role of delegations of a UN member state for three days. The individual delegates held speeches, looked for cooperation partners, negotiated intensively, wrote working papers together and finally voted on the results of the draft resolutions in plenary. Finally, three resolutions on "Reducing the impact on food security from the Ukraine conflict" were adopted.
On the occasion of the event, a festive reception was held at Café Flora of the Frauenberg Monastery in Fulda on July 5. The President of the University of Applied Sciences Fulda, Prof. Dr. Kharim Khakzar, welcomed the guests present, consisting of current and former MUN participants, employees of the University and of the Faculty SK. Further greetings were given by Prof. Dr. Claudia Wiesner and Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Reinhard, Dean of the Faculty. In addition, a greeting from Michael Brand (CDU), member of the German Bundestag, who could not be present in person, was read out.
The conference was closed after the final vote of all delegates on the Draft Resolutions on July, 06 with a speech by Prof. Dr. Chaldeans Mensah. Finally, some students were honored with awards for especially good performances such as excellent speeches or position papers. In the evening, the delegations had dinner and exchanged ideas at the Brauhaus Wiesenmühle before leaving Fulda the next day after three eventful days.
The Fulda Team: Prof. Dr. Claudia Wiesner, Prof. Dr. Philip Liste, Muriel Pluschke, Clara Umstätter, Maria Keller, Meike Schmidt-Gleim, Zhylien Kaja
You can find a further report from our Canadian partners of MacEwan University here.
Brussels, 30 May - 02 June 2022
Finally in Brussels! After 2 months of prepatory seminar sessions (and several cancellations due to the covid-19-pandemic over the last few years), 30 master students of Intercultural Communication and European Studies accompanied by Maria Keller had the chance to visit Brussels and visit the European institutions in Belgium’s capital.
On the program: European Commission, European Parliament, Representation of the Federal State of Hesse (Hessische Landesvertretung) and the Council of the European Union. Within the institutions, we discussed topics like migration, external actions, climate as well as the tasks of the institutions, the everyday-life within and career and internship perspectives. The students were fascinated by finally experiencing the European policy-making they had learned about during the last semester(s). Thus, they asked many questions about various aspects of each institution.
Apart from the official institutions, the students also got a guided city-tour and some also visited the Parlamenatrium or the House of European History in the European Quarter.
In the end, all agreed that the trip had been a huge success and everyone enjoyed the appealing and thought-provoking program of the trip. Now we are looking forward to visiting Brussels again next year and maybe some students will return for internships or might even start a career there.
May, 12 2022
For the second time, students of Fulda University of Applied Sciences participated in the European HomeParliaments - this time live on campus. Maria Keller and Zhylien Kaja organized the event and five students acted as moderators for the discussion groups.
European HomeParliaments are an initiative of the NGO “Pulse of Europe”, an independent citizens’ initiative founded in Frankfurt am Main in 2016. “Pulse of Europe” aims at making the idea of European Citizenship visible and audible, and at strengthening the links between EU-politicians and ordinary citizens. A Home Parliament is a private discussion group of 4 to 8 people with the slogan ‘‘Have a say in the big issues!‘‘. It is moderated by a host, who can either invite their friends or have themselves assigned to an interesting discussion group. It all takes place either online via Video-HomeParliament, WebEx, Zoom etc. or in a face-to-face meeting.
This years' questions included
The students - who got divided into three groups - had some lively discussions about the questions. Most of them agreed on questions 1 and 2 but disagreed on the third question. We are now keen to see what the overall results of the HomeParliaments will show and especially what the EU politicians will make of the results.
November, 30 2021
MEP Engin Eroglu virtually visited Fulda University of Applied Sciences and talked in the class "Introduction to European Integration". He answered questions of students of Intercultural Communication and European Studies and Human Rights Studies in Politics, Law and Society. The lively discussion covered topics of EU-politics, finance and economy, migration, Mr. Eroglu's CV and way into the European Parliament and many more.
We thank Engin Eroglu for taking the time to come visit us and hope to meet him again to further discuss European topics.
January, 13-15, 2021
We warmly invite all interested students of the Fulda University of Applied you to participate in the Global Model European Union (GLOBALMEU).
GLOBALMEU is the simulation of a European Council Meeting in Brussels with students from other European and non-European universities. Students will play the roles of member statedelegations,
heads of governments or ministers, European Commissioners
or members of the press.
Apart from the students' own preparation, there will be a 1-2 hours preparatory meeting in advance.
The participation at GLOBALMEU will be online.
The event can be attended as additional element of the Europazertifikat. All participants will also receive a certificate of attendance.
If you are interested or have any further questions, please contact Maria Keller
September 20th 2021
On Monday, 20th of September 2021, everyone interested was welcome to hear more about the positions of the Fulda constituency candidates for the German federal election on September 26th. The discussion took place on site campus of Fulda University of Applied Sciences and was broadcasted via live stream. Prof. Dr. Claudia Wiesner moderated the discussion which was organised by Maria Keller and Stefan Rascher. On the podium, Nuha Sharif-Ali (Left), Gianina Zimmermann (Greens), Mario Klotzsche (who replaced Jürgen Lenders, FDP), Birgit Kömpel (SPD), Dagmar Heil (VOLT) and Michael Brand (CDU) debated numerous topics ranging from human rights and foreign policy to digitalisation and housing shortages.
University President Prof. Dr. Karim Khakzar welcomed about 50 guests that were present on campus and about 120 viewers who followed the event via the live stream, giving a short speech. He called for better framework conditions and higher funding for universities of applied sciences from both the federal states as well as the federal government. Then the floor was opened for the discussion among the constituency candidates. They presented their positions in several blocks of questions. The subjects covered included: Fulda and the region, social affairs and business, human rights, democracy, education and research. The panellists had a good two hours to express their views on each topic in short statements and to explain their own ideas and solutions. Before the event, everyone interested had been invited to submit questions – which were then included into the discussion – via an online tool and social media. In addition, the audience had the possibility to ask further questions.
One guest asked which actions the panellists were planning against the increasing radicalisation in society and the social division between urban and rural areas. All panellists agreed on democracy and social cohesion to begin with individuals and their attitudes. In addition, numerous initiatives in the city and region of Fulda aim at strengthening democracy. The question of raising the German minimum wage was a topic that was controversely discussed. The cadidates expressed notable differences in their positions. While the representatives of SPD, Greens, Left and Volt advocated for a fixed minimum wage and a rise to 12 € or 13 €, the representatives of the CDU and FDP argued for a regulation of wages based on collective bargaining. Migration and refugee policy were also discussed intensively. Regarding the latter, Birgit Kömpel (SPD) emphasised that she would welcome Fulda to become a safe haven, and she was going to campaign for the admission of a certain contingent of refugees. The establishment of municipalities as safe havens was also supported by Gianina Zimmermann (Greens), who at the same time called for an immigration law. Mario Klotzsche (FDP) emphasised the need for an EU-wide consensus and the strengthening of legal migration. Similarly, Dagmar Heil (VOLT) pointed out the importance of a European approach and the necessary reform of the Dublin Agreement, as well as the shortage of skilled workers and the positive effects of immigration in this respect. Nuha Sharif-Ali (Left) demanded not to wait for a European solution and make a local decision, and she claimed the need to fight the causes of migration. Michael Brand (CDU) described the difficulties of fighting these causes and advocated the establishment of protection zones under UN control in the countries of origin.
"This discussion round illustrates a core of what democracy is and should be – an open, free and fair debate," said Prof. Dr. Claudia Wiesner. The discussion event was part of the “Debating Democracy in Europe” series of her Jean Monnet Chair. It was also one of the first events organised by the recently established Fulda Centre for Transnational Governance directed by Prof. Wiesner and linked to the Centre for Intercultural and European Studies (CINTEUS). The aim of the Centre of Governance is to promote the exchange between academia and practice via discussion events, lectures and workshops in which international guests and practitioners are involved. In addition, students are regularly given the opportunity to participate in Model United Nations simulations.
The event can be rewatched here (in German)
June 22, 2021
Under the direction of Prof. Dr Claudia Wiesner and Zhylien Kaja the Centre of Transnational Governance organized a European HomeParliament at Fulda University of Applied Sciences on June 22nd 2021.
European HomeParliaments are an initiative of the NGO “Pulse of Europe”, an independent citizens’ initiative founded
in Frankfurt am Main in 2016. “Pulse of Europe” aims at making the idea of European
Citizenship visible and audible, and at strengthening the links between EU-politicians and ordinary citizens.
A Home Parliament is a private discussion group of 4 to 8 people with the slogan ‘‘Have a say in the big issues!‘‘. It is moderated by a host, who can either invite his/her friends or have him/herself assigned to an interesting discussion group. It all takes place either online via Video-HomeParliament, WebEx, Zoom etc. or in a face-to-face meeting.
The European HomeParliament at Fulda University of Applied Sciences offered students the opportunity to discuss the following question: ‘‘Soll die EU in zukünftigen pandemischen Krisen entschiedener europäische Interessen vertreten? / Should the EU represent European interests more decisively in future pandemic crises?‘‘ in a setting that incorporates parliamentary time frames and rules. They were divided into three discussion groups of 4 to 8 students and had about 2 hours to discuss three proposals on an issue of EU politics such as: the vaccine production in the future, the question of vaccine export, and unrestricted travel within the European Union after vaccination.
The results of the discussions are uploaded to the European Home Parliament’s platform (you can find it here), where the results of all European house
parliaments are collected. The results reach top EU politicians such as Ursula von der Leyen (the President of the European Commission); Othmar Karas (EVP); Manfred Weber (EVP); Pedro Marques
(S&D); Helmut Scholz (GUE/NGL); Gabriele Bischoff (S&D) etc., who are looking forward to exchanging ideas with citizens, students etc. These politicians have agreed to take the findings
into account in their deliberations and then give feedback in webinars, video statements or in writing as Ursula von der Leyen did. You can find the video here.
Pulse of Europe will also present the results of the European HomeParliaments at the Conference on the Future of Europe.