Project: Winning mediators of integration for young adult refugees in the Schwalm-Eder District

The primary goal of this project was to provide refugees of the Schwalm-Eder District with the opportunity to participate in local clubs and groups. More broadly, however, the project aimed to achieve similar opportunities for all local residents with a migrant background. Based on the demographics, the focal points for the project were established as Homberg, Schalmstadt, as well as the regions of Fritzlar and Wabern. To spread awareness of the project, information flyers were sent to relevant clubs in the area, and a press release regarding the project was published. Through talks held in the shared accommodation at Schwalmstadt, Homberg and Homberg-Wernswig, we were able to establish the social needs and problems of the project’s target group. Winning the attention of clubs for this project was difficult, however, with many giving no response to our initial contact. Altogether, we received a response from 31 clubs, and with the majority of these clubs (20) we were able to set up meetings. During these individual meetings, we established the following as possible areas and strategies for club involvement in the project: personal visits to advertise at refugees’ shared accommodation and in integration courses; creating flyers; establishing a car pool; and, finally, reducing membership prices for refugees. The results of the meetings with the clubs were summarized in a flyer and were sent to all clubs initially contacted. Over the course of the project, however, it became clear that an intensive cooperation with only a few reasonably priced clubs would be much more effective than attempting maintain contact with a larger number of clubs. The implementation of small, local projects with the cooperation of our partner clubs, as well as the establishment of direct contact between refugees and the clubs, is to be the primary focus of further projects.

Blue Berets in Vain: A Critical Appraisal of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Eritrea and Ethiopia

Researcher: Dr. Daniel R. Mekonnen
Funder: Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Between 1998 and 2000 Eritrea and Ethiopia fought a devastating border conflict which remains largely unresolved in spite of two major peace agreement signed by the two governments in June and December of 2000, and in spite of the deployment of a large UN peacekeeping mission (UNMEE) from December 2000 up to July 2008 in the borders of the two nations. The two countries are part of the Horn of Africa, a region described by experts as the most conflicted corner of the world since the end of the Second World War. As a result, peace and security are among the major preoccupations of the region. As a region bedevilled by perilous cycles of conflict, the Horn of Africa has also been the centre of academic debate on peace and security studies for many years. It is widely expected that this reality will remain unchanged at least for the next few years. As a result, continued engagement of peace and security studies focusing on this region has particular relevance in terms of adoption of fresh innovative ideas aimed at proposing practical recommendations for real life problems.
On the other, there seems to be a dearth of academic work on lessons that can be gleaned from the failure of UNMEE, particularly as regards practical considerations for lasting peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia. This research intends to narrow the gap by critically analysing the failure of the UN-led peace process and by proposing innovative practical considerations for a lasting peace between the two countries. From a broader academic perspective, the research also contributes to the on-going debate on the role of the UN in the maintenance of international peace and security via its Chapter VII powers of the UN Charter.

Daniel Mekonnen as visiting researcher at the FIBW

As of April 1st, 2012 Daniel Mekonnen will work at the FIBW as a visiting researcher. He obtained his LLD from the University of the Free State (2008). He has worked in a number of European universities as a post-doctoral researcher and lecturer. Recently, he was a Bank of Ireland Fellow at the Irish Centre for Human Rights (National University of Ireland, Galway). He is a recipient of a Georg Forster Post-Doctoral Fellowship awarded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Alexander von Humbold Foundation

"This is our daily life..."

Bombs against peace – the perversion of a culture of violence

From April 15. – April 16., the first international conference on the subject of “Violence” was held in Iraq. Aim was to bring academics and representatives of civil-social institutions to a table and to initiate a dialogue about the violence existing in the Iraq, under inclusion of international experts and the students to achieve a possibly wide use orientation. The conference bore the title "From Violence to Non-Violence: Analysis, Dialogue and Societal Participation in Kirkuk", a total of 15 foreign guests took part and 64 Iraqi professors from all land parts were present with their own articles.

During the course of the conference a car bomb was lit. More information here…

Integration of Refugees in the Schwalm-Eder District

Kilometres through the desert, for days in a small boat, on foot over borders – the means of reaching Europe is different for every refugee. Likewise, the reasons and situations leading to escape differ amongst refugees. For the most part, it is war, hunger and poverty that drive these refugees to risk everything. Arriving in Germany, their newly-found liberty is, however, accompanied by a series of new challenges. The refugee's status is uncertain, the fear of deportation ever-present. Because refugees have no rights to political and social co-operation, they remain a fringe group in society. In addition, traumatic experiences have often been an aspect of escape and hinder refugees from successfully establishing themselves socially. Young adult refugees lack the self-assurance to simply be capable of approaching others. In their homelands, social activities such as sports, music, crafts and active exchange of ideas played an integral role in the lives of these youth.

In response to this issue, we have decided to uncover new municipal integration potentials and, moreover, have brought to life the project „Extraction of integration mediators for young adult refugees in the Schwalm Eder Area“.

The project is carried out by the Felsberger Institute for Education and Science (inc. FIBW), and by the initiative ‘Violence does not go!’, and it is promoted by the federal program ‘Tolerance - competence strengthen promoted.’ The aim of the project is to win sensitization and motivation, means of integration for young adult refugees in the Schwalm Eder District.

The project will include interactive workshops, among other events, intended to assist with the process of integration (term till December, 2013). If you would like to receive more information about the project and workshops, you can contact Alexander Kliewer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .