GLEN Annual Events

GLEN organises one major event a year, which is not part of the training cycle. The events serve multiple purposes: they provide thematic spaces for important discussions as well as chances to meet, mingle and network.

 

2011 - 1st GLEN Annual Event - Are we making a difference?

3-6 November 2011, Werftpfuhl, Germany

The first GLEN Annual Event gathered around 70 former and current GLEN participants as well as representatives from various fields connected to global education on the European and global level. Representatives of the German ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the DARE Forum and two GLEN host partners: Progrès-Solidarité from Benin and Vanamoolika from India were among them.

The main question to be scrutinized during the Annual Event was ‘Are we making a difference?’, thus looking at the impact that global education and GLEN as an actor of it has on European level and beyond. The two aspects of this most lively discussed were the question for non-European participants in GLEN, coming out of a critical assessment about GLEN’s impact in the host partner countries, and the impact and involvement of GLEN on European policy level. Both resulted in the foundation of working groups dealing with further recommendations and proposals in these fields.

Apart from the input level, participants had the chance to meet and re-meet former GLEN colleagues, become informed about what’s new in GLEN and had the chance to Connect & Act during a one day long Open Space session. Out of this, several ideas for new GLEN initiatives have formed.

All in all, the first GLEN Annual Event has been a great success and an enjoyable and productive way for gathering the GLEN network together. We are looking forward to next year’s edition!

Making Friends and making Plans

Seven years of experience, around 400 internships in the globally and 800 alumni – it was high time to unite all the generations of GLEN! From the 3-6 November 2012, 70 former participants, stakeholders and external guests came together for the first GLEN annual event in the seminar house Kurt-Löwenstein in Werftpfuhl. This place with the unpronounceable name which has been the starting point for many GLEN-stories. It’s here where work partners become friends, where a midnight snack in the kitchen turns into a heated discussion about the differences between the Polish and the German educational system, where corridors can be stages for spontaneous drum sessions. Being in Werftpfuhl brings back memories of the exciting times just before leaving to Kenya, Mongolia or Vietnam.

So logically, the first conversations start with memories: where did you go to for your internship? The obligatory GLEN-ice-breaker. The answers tell stories from all over the world: learning about sustainable agriculture in Benin, researching about ecotourism in Georgia, organizing extracurricular activities in a pre-school in Mongolia. But as diverse as the stories are, they share one understanding: The internship was only a starting point. An experience that opened the door for new questions, perspectives and challenges. So the conversations as well as the workshops at the GLEN annual event quickly move from past to present. Where are we now and what will happen next? Why are we doing what we are doing and is it making any sense?

The first full day of the seminar was dedicated to these questions. In a panel discussion the impacts of GLEN were explored. With Anne-Marie Euzen as a former participant, tutor and lead-facilitator, Joseph Chackochan as a host partner from an NGO in India, Dorothea Groth as representative of the German ministry of development cooperation (one of the main sponsors of GLEN), and with the global education expert Harm-Jan Fricke, four very different perspectives were represented in the discussion. While Dorothea Groth praised the European dimension of GLEN she also reminded the audience that global education needs to be promoted more, to convince tax-payers to support it. Harm-Jan Fricke remarks went in a similar direction when he underlined that global education is not only about intercultural exchange and personal development, but also about agenda setting in Brussels, Berlin and other centers of political power. Joseph Chackochan described his two years of experience with receiving GLEN interns in his NGO. „We are very grateful for the exchange of ideas with the European students“ he said, „but the fact that the interns only speak English isolates them from the local community.“ This introduced a spark of skepticism into the discussion that was shared by Anne-Marie Euzen: „I have learned a lot through GLEN, but I am still looking for a way of development cooperation that operates really on a basis of mutual respect.“ Sometimes, she said, she was still afraid that global education could be misused as yet another way of prolonging European domination globally.

When the panel opened into a plenary discussion it became very visible that the question of the personal, social and political impact of Global Education was a burning issue for all seminar participants. While most seemed to agree that Global Education is a tool for personal development, this doesn’t satisfy the idealism of the majority. „I don’t just want to change my own perspective, I also want to set an example for others, showing them what a more sustainable lifestyle can look like in practice“, said the former GLEN European coordinator Kasia Szeniawska. And her„successor“ in the job, Anne Schollmeyer, added: „By now we have all understood that „helping the poor“ is oftentimes misused as a tool of keeping the global South dependent on the rich countries in the global North. But the question of how to eradicate poverty isn’t solved by us saying we focus only on intercultural exchange and personal development.“ Former GLEN participant Felix May then picked up Harm-Jan Fricke’s ideas and claimed: „If we really want to change our social and economical realities we need to change politics. Campaigning can be fun“ he added and invited the other seminar members to join him in the formation of a working group.

The ground was laid for a very active second day. While the first half of the seminar was about input, the second half was all about getting active. Following the motto „Connect and Act“, the participants were given the opportunity to form their own working groups and discussion circles. The topics ranged from how to become an entrepreneur, over how to fight structural racism to how to better include participants’ feedback in the GLEN cycle. The two most active workshops that lasted all day turned out to be „Sailing for Sustainability“ and „North-South relations within GLEN“. The workshop on „North-South relations“ was offered by Judith Blume and Magdalena Mazurek together with Emmanuel Zannou. Judith and Magdalena had just come back from their internship in Benin, where they had conducted a survey on how the GLEN partners in Benin perceive the program and the interns. The discussion that ensued indicated a strong agreement that the inclusion of the Southern partners remains one of the network’s main weaknesses. The fact that Emmanuel Zannou was invited to attend the GLEN annual event constituted one of the first steps to change this imbalance. His NGO in Benin (“Progrès et Solidarité”) has been a partner of GLEN for seven years now and he was invited to Europe and to the first GLEN annual event to share his experiences and to see how the preparation of the interns works in practice. „I am starting to understand that this concept of Global Education that you keep discussing here is actually something I do in practice everyday“ he said. „When I plant a tree together with my interns and when I teach them what it needs to grow. For me that is global education in practice. It’s only the things that you can really touch and feel that will change you. Words won’t stay in your head for long.“ He agreed with Magdalena’s and Judith’s observation that an inclusion of local interns in the program would be beneficial for all. „It’s problematic that in GLEN the concept of global education is always only discussed in a European context“ Judith noted. The wish for a North-South-program within GLEN, where interns are not only sent from Europe but also received in Europe seems to be getting stronger, even if that may mean that less Europeans can go on internships abroad.

While Judith, Magdalena and Emmanuel focused on improving the GLEN cycle, Caspar Klein sees GLEN as a starting point for a European campaign: „Sailing for Sustainability“. A group of about 15 Glennies used the GLEN annual event for planning a series of seminars on a sailing boat with which they will travel across the Baltic Sea. „We will use the fact that we are actually depending on the sea while we are sailing to address issues of sustainability related to oceans“ Caspar explained. The seminars on the ship will be held by former Glennies – using the strength of the network when it comes to motivated tutors. „Sailing along the shores of the Baltic Sea is also a great way of creating even stronger connections between the GLEN communities in Germany, Poland and the Baltic countries,“ Caspar added.

After a long day of discussions at the GLEN annual event, Saturday ended with a cherished / beloved tradition: the GLEN party. The fact that this year’s party was officially announced as a „social event“ didn’t stop the dancing… When gathering the participants for a last round of evaluation on Sunday morning, the co-organizer of the seminar, Jirka Panek, made one last announcement: „This is not only the first GLEN annual event. This is also a birthday party. Happy first anniversary GLEN FORUM.“ Exactly one year ago the FORUM of GE Multipliers, the association representing the former GLEN participants all over Europe, was formed to further facilitate engagement and active involvement within the network.

The FORUM as well as this weekend prove the same thing: GLEN remains a participant-based network. With room for disagreement, new visions and real involvement.

By Nadia Pantel

2012 - 2nd GLEN Annual Event - The role of host partners in GLEN

GLEN’s top networking seminar, the Annual Event was held in Slovenia from 8th till 11th November with over sixty participants!

Above meeting, sharing projects and ideas, the main focus of the seminar was to contribute to the discussion on the cooperation between GLEN and the hosting organisations (Partners). For that, we were pleased to have Martial Kouderin (Benin) and Stanislas Binelli (Cameroon) among us.

Discussions were divided in three workshops, namely (1) the relationship of GLEN and the Partners, (2) how could we make global education (GE) more global, and (3) communication, evaluation and feedback (between GLEN and the Partners). All three workshops were a true success, thanks to the committed participants and the excellent moderation of Judith Blume, Kasia Szeniawska and Magdalena Mazurek. Main results will be published on the website later on.

Another highlight of the Event was the start of the process to update the GLEN strategy plan in 2013. As the previous paper has expired, the Members Assembly meeting, which preceded the Annual Event, decided to enter into a renewal process. The open call was made during the seminar for participants to join. The group is formulating its schedule and agenda and will soon announce its plan to proceed and the ways for all to contribute.

The 2nd Annual Event was made possible by the financial contribution of ASA-Programm, Engagement Global (Germany) and BRECI (France) and the in-kind contribution of the host organisation Zavod Voluntariat. Thank you! Special thanks go to Tina Trdin and Urban Presker for the flawless organisation.

Written by Andras Martoni

2013 - The Visionary and Networking Seminar

GLEN set up a vision process in 2013 to discuss the possible directions of development of the Network with its stakeholders. The six-month process between October 2013 and March 2014 included two occasions of online discussions and a seminar, therefore in 2013 the Annual Event was named “Visionary and Networking Seminar”.  The complete “visionary document”, which is the result of this process and serves as guidance for the future is available here. An extended version with commentary is available here.

Contributors to the results are the various GLEN actors and stakeholders, namely 1) current and former participants, 2) members of the seminar teams (e.g. tutors, seminar facilitators), 3) representatives and members of alumni organisations such as Association GéCo and Forum of the Global Education Multipliers, 4) Host Partners, 5) European global education /development education organisations, 6) GLEN Member Organisations and their related networks.

2014 - Shake it and Shape it Seminar

The strategy process, from September 2014 till December 2015, attempts to translate the newly developed vision into an executable plan – how exactly are we going to reach our vision? what are the next steps and priorities? what do we have to develop now to make change possible?

A milestone event of the process was the “Shake it & Shahe it” Seminar in Slovenia in October 2014 that is followed by a series of thematic workshops in autumn 2014 / spring 2015 to go deeper in and find answers to the Network’s open questions about the content of the training cycle, terminologies used, privileges, power relations, GLEN structures, the global partner network and many more topics.

You can read more about the ongoing strategy process here: www.glen-europe.org/about-glen/strategy-process/

2015 - Rocket Event

The 2015 annual meeting is called the GLEN Rocket Event as a tribute to the wonderful work of Dominique Pannke and the team of facilitators during the vision and strategy processes. It also symbolises the kick-off of the strategy and the celebration of the successful strategy process!

Dates: 18-22 November 2015

Venue: Celje Youth Centre, Celje, Slovenia (www.mc-celje.si)

The preliminary programme of the event is:

18th Wednesday
Participants arrive in the afternoon, the kick-off session is in the evening (ca. 19:00hrs, depending on local train/bus schedules)
19th Thursday
Open Space sessions all day
20th Friday – 21st Saturday
Workshops, discussions about the strategy implementation and the celebration of the strategy process
22nd Sunday
Evaluation and farewell until noon

Would you like to join?

In case you are current or former GLEN training cycle participant, please fill in the application form (bottom of the page) before the 17:00hrs on 28th October 2015. In case you do not want to send your personal data through this Google Form, please answer ALL questions in an email and send it to Lars Poignant (lars.poignant@engagement-global.de). Thank you.

In case you haven’t been a GLEN participant, please send an email to Lars Poignant (lars.poignant@engagement-global.de) about your interest and motivation to join the event. Many thanks!

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