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Nine projects extended, five initiatives designated for initial support, three focal points set: At their April 2024 meeting, our Board of Trustees approved a total of 14 projects. With the newly funded and continuing projects, the ZEIT STIFTUNG BUCERIUS has set its aims and focus on three main topics: continuing to strengthen democracy and solidarity, especially in eastern Germany; facilitating social debate; and creating equal opportunities and equal participation, such as in the areas of culture and education.

Strengthening democracy – Youth journalism, discussion forums, new alliances

One of the focal points of our current work to strengthen democracy is supporting citizens and organizations that are active in eastern Germany – and it is here where we launched the cooperative project ‘Zukunftswege Ost’ [Paths Forward in the East]. At the kickoff, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier praised the efforts of engaged citizens and local initiatives that are standing up for democracy. Committed people of all generations, but above all curious and enthusiastic young people in eastern Germany are also at the center of the youth journalism program ‘Salon5’. The youth project organized by CORRECTIV gives young people the opportunity to develop their own journalistic skills and create media content for their own target audience in various locations in Germany - now also in Chemnitz with our support. As part of the ‘Lausitz Festival’, the ‘Lausitz Laboratory’ invites experts from the disciplines of philosophy, sociology, literature, art, and theatre studies to the region of Lusatia for a three-day gathering examining the role of philosophy and art in society. With ‘Streit und Zuversicht’ [Argument and Optimism], we’ve launched a new forum for debate that is being brought to stages in Berlin and Halle. The events see us bring together experts and debating societies which discuss polarizing social topics such as right-wing extremism and raising children in a time of crisis.

We are also strengthening democracy and social cohesion with our ‘Stop Anti-Semitism’ project and are continuing to develop the associated online portal.

Fostering debate and supporting scholarship in Hamburg, Berlin, and around the globe

Other projects aim to promote democratic debate – a need clearly demonstrated by the wide range of pressing issues we currently face. Accordingly, we will also continue to sponsor existing formats, such as the ‘Bucerius Summer School on Global Governance’, a renowned program that has since 2001 been bringing together young leaders from all over the world to discuss critical global issues. But also new settings will create forums for discourse addressing current issues and topics that affect German society as a whole. The series ‘Forum Bellevue on the Transformation of Society’ with Federal President Steinmeier, held at Bellevue Palace, considers the transformation of society and has been renewed through 2026. Additionally, a new project of the Politics & Society division supports the Gesellschaft für Freiheitsrechte e.V. [Society for Civil Rights] in their efforts to help researchers use large digital platforms and search engines consistent with both the Digital Services Act (DSA) as well as their need to access scientific data. In this regard, the focus is on ensuring that researchers optimally navigate the new legal landscape despite the complex application procedures. In so doing we aim to reinforce the process of scientific exchange and participation in respect of information.

Working across generations instead of talking about them – Participation and equality of opportunity from the classroom to the stage

Who is actually involved in democracy and debates – and in our society? And, above all, what starting point are individuals afforded? These are the questions we address with projects thematically focused on equal opportunity and participation. In addition to flagship initiatives such as our mentoring program WEICHENSTELLUNG [Setting the Course], which reduces educational inequality through targeted support for children and teens in settings such as the transition from pre-school to primary school and in educational training, we create the necessary space for efforts which look to promote societal participation, particularly in the areas of art and culture. Here, for example, we are continuing the ‘SchauSpielRaum’ project at Hamburg’s Junges SchauSpielHaus, in which young people work together on stage to address topics of personal relevance, such as failure, self-image, dealing with menstruation, or life sandwiched in as a middle child. The latter of these topics will feature in the play ‘Sandwiches’, a first-time intergenerational production that can be seen in the SchauSpielRaum starting on 4 June.

Other projects strengthen the support extended internationally and nationally to talented young adults, as for example regards education journalism or other areas of academic research. The ‘Nina Grunenberg Fellowship’, initiated by the ZEIT STIFTUNG BUCERIUS, the Wübben Stiftung Bildung, and the Schöpflin Foundation, is currently offering a second cohort of fellows in-depth insight and training in the field education journalism – and now the program has been slated to receive renewed funding through 2026. Further, together with the Copernicus and GFPS associations, we provide academic scholarships to international students active in the sciences in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

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