Teaching materials “Neighbors Become Friends”

Free materials and teaching suggestions around youth contacts in Central Europe after 1989

Tools & Papers
Schools
Democracy, Education, Europe, Intercultural Competences, Peacebuilding, School, Youth
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Development

2009

The effects of the Cold War are still felt today

Many years have passed since the fall of the Iron Curtain, and this hostile border, built after the end of the Second World War, fortified with watchtowers and barbed wire, runs right through Europe. Young people born after 1989 can hardly imagine this frightening dividing line between countries that had been neighbors for centuries marked by a common history. Yet the Cold War, of which this barricade was an expression, has left barriers in the minds of people on both sides that need to be overcome – but how?

Motivating young people to help shape Europe

For the most part, young people have no idea that the disappearance of the Iron Curtain has had, and still has, an enormous impact on the development towards a new Europe. A development has thus been set in motion that has made our continent – for the first time in history – a democratic one. Democracy opens up comprehensive participation rights for young citizens. It is therefore important to entice young people to participate in shaping their country, their region and ultimately Europe

Target group

teachers

By engaging with peers from neighboring countries, young people can find similar points of view, identify common interests and develop projects to implement them in the region.

Christine Kisser

Authors

Barbara Helm
Gertraud Steininger
Ana Ionescu
Barbara Solberger
Julia Valenta

Using the curiosity of young people

In general, young people are curious about the language, culture, traditions, customs and history of other countries. Youth contacts make use of this curiosity. They help those interested to form partnerships that show them the richness and diversity of European cultures, but also their many similarities. By interacting with peers from neighboring countries, young people can find similar points of view, identify common interests and develop projects to implement them in the region. In doing so, they will experience that their concerns are more likely to be effective if they have been identified in joint coordination and in an awareness of mutually complementary strengths.

Through joint action, what has been achieved can overcome barriers and turn neighbors into friends.

Christine Kisser

Contents

The booklet was originally conceived as accompanying material for the exhibition “Neighbors become friends – youth contacts in Central Europe after 1989”. However, it contains numerous teaching suggestions and information on the topic of youth exchange and growing together after the Cold War, which can also be used without visiting the exhibition.

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