“A Strong Instrument Against Prejudice”, German-Islamic CrossCulture Internships Programme awards scholarships to young professionals from Central Asia and Muslim countries

 “A Strong Instrument Against Prejudice”
For the first time in 2011, the German-Islamic CrossCulture Internships Programme awards scholarships to young professionals from Central Asia

Stuttgart, 30 June 2011 – The ifa CrossCulture exchange programme has been launched, with 30 participants in 2011. The participants, young professionals from Islamic countries, include for the first time people from Central Asia who are involved in civil society work. Over the coming months, they will broaden their professional skills and gain intercultural competence for their career at home, for example as politicians, radio reporters, environmentalists or teachers. At the same time, five German scholarship holders will be gaining vocational experience in the Islamic world.

“CrossCulture internships encourage intercultural dialogue and understanding between Germany and Islamic countries. Our aim is also to strengthen civil society structures in those countries in the long term,” says Sandra Takács, Director of the ifa exchange programme. This year’s CrossCulture Programme thus focuses once again on helping young professionals working in the fields of education, press freedom, environmental awareness and human rights in their home countries to develop their skills.

After their internship, the scholarship holders often use their cross-border networks for new projects that overcome cultural barriers, for example, an award-winning report on the Arabic world by scholarship-holder Anne-Kristin Peter for the children’s channel KiKa, joint film projects by Pakistani film-maker Amin Muhamad and colleagues in Wuppertal and the work by Egyptian journalist and CrossCulture scholarship-holder Denise Dismer, who recently reported on ARTE about “Egypt’s post-revolution music scene”.

The Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations set up the CrossCulture Programme in cooperation with the Federal Foreign Office in response to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. Nearly 200 scholarship holders have been selected and looked after since 2005. “The practical approach of CrossCulture’s internships has proved to be an excellent instrument to break down prejudice and for inter-religious dialogue,” sums up Sandra Takács. The Project Manger is very pleased to be able to extend her offer to the Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan und Tajikistan: “Islam is an influential part of the identity of a majority of Central Asia’s population. Thus, it was high time to include the Central Asian region in a dialogue programme that is explicitly targeted at the Islamic world.”

These are the CrossCulture scholarship-holders in the different subject areas:

Rural Development / Nature and the Environment/ Sustainability
• Faizanulhaq Faizan (Afghanistan) of the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Badakhshan will be at Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences in Freising from October/November.
• Malika Farmonbekova (Tadjikistan) of the NGO “Nature Protection Team” will be taking part in her CrossCulture Programme (CCP) with the Michael Succow Foundation for the Protection of Nature in Greifswald from July to September.
• Viktoria Golinko (Kyrgyzstan) of the Kyrgyz Beekeepers Association in Bishkek will work at the Institute for Crop Science and Resource Conservation (INRES) at the University of Bonn from July to September.
• Ulan Amanturov (Kyrgyzstan), expert at the Center for Energy Efficient Building Central Asia (CEEBA)
• Guzal Matniyazova (Uzbekistan), Chairman of the Khorezm Rural Advisory Support Service (KRASS), the NGO for rural development in Urgench
• Fatemeh Bahri (Iran) will be completing her internship starting in August at the Integrated School of Ocean Sciences (ISOS), a central structure of the Cluster of Excellence for research on “The Future Ocean“ at the Christian Albrechts University in Kiel

Media/ Journalism
• Christoph Scheuermann (Germany) is an editor at Spiegel magazine and is currently working as a CCP scholarship holder for the Daily Star Lebanon in Beirut.
• Mayada Madkour (Egypt) of the Middle East Broadcasting Center in Cairo is taking her internship with ikono TV in Berlin. She will begin her internship in July.
• Dmitry Samokvalov (Kyrgyzstan) of Radiomost will work from 20 June to 6 August at the independent radio station Radio Dreyeckland in Freiburg.
• Stefanie Jung (Germany) is an editor at KiKa. She plans to complete her CCP with Borneo Films in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in October (http://borneofilms.com/).
• Imran Ahmed (Pakistan), employed with Pakistan’s largest television corporation, Geo TV

Art and Culture
• Ibrahim Hawamdeh (Jordan) of the Children’s Museum Jordan will begin his CCP at the Labyrinth Children’s Museum Berlin in September.
• Berit Schuck is an artist. She will complete her CCP in mid-July at Ashkal Alwan, the Lebanese association for plastic arts in Beirut.
• Ruchsaram Dzhasybaeva (Kazakhstan), academic assistant at the cultural education centre of the Central State Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Almaty.
• Andari, Dima (Indonesia) works at the Goethe Institut in Jakarta
• Eckstein, Katrin (Germany) works at the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Kiel and will complete an internship at the Al-Balad Theater, Amman, Jordan, starting in September.

Politics/ Human Rights/ Development Cooperation
• Aichettou Abdallahi (Mauritania) of the human rights organisation “SOS.Esclaves” starts her internship with the Society for Threatened Peoples in Göttingen at the end of July.
• Mohammad Najwan Halimi (Malaysia) is a business advisor to Selangor’s state government. From mid-October, he will be completing his CCP with Angelika Graf and Thomas Gambke, Members of the German Bundestag.
• Rula Asad (Syria) is a freelance journalist and project initiator. She will start her CCP in September with AMICA, a Freiburg-based charity that helps women in crisis regions.
• Samijon Nodirov (Tajikistan) is a lawyer and will be working for three months starting in August at the non-university Munich Institute for Eastern European Law in Regensburg.
• Ghanishaheen, Palwasha (Afghanistan), is a member of staff for human resources for GDPDM/IARCS in Kabul – a commission in charge of independent administrative reform and the civil service.
• Al-Hadrami, Ahad (Yemen), is an assistant and project coordinator at the Political Development Forum in Sanaía

Early Learning / Integrated Education/ Schools and Training
• Faisal Saleh (Palestine) from the Yafa Cultural Center in Balata Refugee Camp in Nablus will complete his CCP from mid-September at RAA Leipzig, an association for intercultural work, youth welfare and schools.
• Hiba Al Khatib (Saudi Arabia) is a social worker at the Rana Abu Shami Est. (Lollipop Day Care Center) in Jeddah. She will complete her CCP at the EKT-Sonnenblümchen e.V. nursery in Berlin.
• Olessya Bogun (Kazakhstan) of the Sarsen Amanzholov East Kazakhstan State University in Ust-Kamenogorsk will complete her CCP with the ASIIN e.V., a Düsseldorf-based accreditation agency for degree programmes. She will be in Germany from 15 July to 20 September.
• Eredjepov Seydali (Uzbekistan) of MTTA, the Academy for Medical Technical Training in Tashkent, will be working for the Helios Clinic Müllheim for three months starting in September,
• El-Soussi (Lebanon), will take an internship with institutions including Qantara.de. In his home country, he works in the cultural field at the German Dialogue Centre.
• Reda Rhoulam (Morocco), teacher at the Ecole Cherafat in Bab. Taza is taking a six-week traineeship at the Carl Legien School in Berlin-Neukölln, starting in mid-August
• Anastasia Frolova (Kyrgyzstan), teacher in an integrated kindergarten near Karakol, will complete an internship in an integrated institution in Dresden from September to December.

Reports by scholarship-holders on their impressions and further information on CrossCulture traineeships, to which will soon be added a complete list of all the 2011 interns can be found online at:

The brochure “CrossCulture Internships. Impressions of the First Year” may be downloaded free of charge as a PDF.

About ifa
The Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations – ifa) is an organisation operating world-wide to promote artistic exchange and dialogue between civil societies and to provide information about foreign cultural policy. ifa is the oldest German institution for international cultural and educational exchange. It is funded by the Federal Foreign Office, the State of Baden-Württemberg and the State Capital of Stuttgart.

Information on the CrossCulture Programme
Sandra Takács, Project Manager CrossCulture Internships, tel. 0711-22 25 143, e-mail: takacs( at )ifa.de

Press contact ifa:
Jonas Moosmüller, telephone: 0711-22 25 105, fax 0711-22 25 131, e-mail: moosmueller( at )ifa.de, www.ifa.de

  Source: IFA Press Release




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