Mellem Education found a new partnership with IYNF, International Young Nature Friends. This organization, dedicated to raising awareness about environmental issues among youth, held a training to discuss and reflect on a slightly different area – the area of Refugees in Europe. Tali was hired as one of the trainers, implementing Betzavta as well as other methods to challenge and support participants through this complex topic. The training took place on the beautiful Balaton lake in Hungary, and participants came from Germany, Portugal, Albania, UK, Poland, Czech Republic, Russia, Armenia, Hungary, Italy and Latvia. June 19-24, 2017.
Another successful Betzavta seminar took place in Krzyzowa, Poland, in partnership with the Kreisau Initiative in Germany. This Erasmus+ training course brought together participants from Germany and the Balkan region, including Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia and Bosnia, as well as an intercultural mix from Germany. The 5-day long Betzavta course included many reflections about intercultural communication, group dynamics, and how to resolve interpersonal conflicts, using a needs-based approach and the practice of reflection on process through Betzavta. A fruitful and intensive week! May 13-20, 2017.
Mellem Education is a partner for a European project called Restorative Circles, using the method of the restorative circle and the talking piece to hold a conversation between people that are pro-EU and EU-skeptics. This project, funded by Europe for Citizens, takes place over 6 weekends throughout 6 months, in 5 countries – Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary and Italy. Trainers from these countries have all been trained in the Restorative Circle and have held a series of circles in different cities in their countries. Visit our website circlespaceurope.org for more info.
Now in its fourth year, Salaam Shalom Passover celebrated the Jewish holiday of Pesach/Passover on April 9 with an inter-faith, intercultural group of people from all over the world. 40 people originally from different parts of the world (including US, Israel, Sudan, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Germany, Sweden, Czech, Hungary, Denmark) celebrated Passover together in a creative way, including interactive activities about Freedom, and asking questions. There was some singing, eating, drinking, explaining, discussing and generally an evening to share and learn from one another. See the video here. And photos by Marissa Klug here and by Jacob Holdt here.
Another round of FSJ (Freiwillig Soziales Jahr) trainings took place in Werneuchen, a small town near Berlin. Every year, these German volunteers get together for further training and development, and one of the options they choose is a Betzavta training. This round consisted of two weeks, with two different groups, who experienced the depth of the Betzavta training and questioned and challenged themselves and their own awareness. This is the fourth year that Tali has facilitated these trainings, and they get better every year! Mar.6-10 & 13-17, 2017.
Erasmus+ funded a project through Mellem Education but held in Aghveran, near Yerevan in Armenia. The project “Democracy in Europe: Patterns of Inclusion and Exclusion” used the Betzavta method to look at ongoing issues of exclusion and inclusion in society but through the dynamics of the society of the small group. This precious and intense week provided the space for a deep exploration into what makes us who we are, through our past experiences and our group belonging. The Betzavta method opened the door for participants to sit together in circle, share their experiences and get to know themselves through each other. Participants were from Armenia, Georgia, Romania, Germany, Denmark, Belarus, Ukraine, UK and Spain. Oct.29-Nov.5, 2016.
Mellem Education had a chance to work with the Kreisau Initiative to hold two Betzavta trainings with the same group – one in Trebnitz near Berlin in June and one in Tbilisi, Georgia in October. The first was an introduction to the Betzavta methodology and the second allowed every participant to facilitate a Betzavta workshop and get feedback and support. A very unique opportunity and good experience for all! June 12-17 in Trebnitz, Germany and Oct 21-27, 2016 in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Salaam Shalom hits Copenhagen with a year long partnership, funded by Erasmus+, to develop Jewish-Muslim relations across Europe and stand together in union. This partnership includes facilitating a variety of Salaam Shalom activities in Germany, France, Sweden and Denmark. Mellem Education, the host partner and applicant, had several meetings with inter-faith groups and initiatives and put together a series of events throughout the academic year of 2015-2016. This included an inter-faith Passover dinner, hosted by the Trampoline House, a community center for refugees and asylum seekers. Later on, there was also an international Salaam Shalom seminar for 5 days in Copenhagen, including all the partners and Salaam Shalom youth workers around Europe. Learn more about this project by visiting www.salaamshalom.dk. September 2015-September 2016.
Theory and practice came together in a collaboration called “Youth Work as a School of Democracy – Democracy Education revisited”, which included a Betzavta component, facilitated by Tali Padan, as well as a more theoretical investigation into democratic toolkits, formed out of the experience of the participants in their NGO activities. The group involved participants from all over Europe, including Italy, Greece, Georgia, Ukraine, Germany, Russia, Denmark, Romania, Belarus and Moldova. March 12-20, 2016.
Tali Padan led two consecutive Betzavta trainings for young volunteers in Germany’s FSJ program (Freiwillig Soziales Jahr). These were two week-long sessions, with two different groups, who together examined how they work together, impact each other, and delve into deeper questions and conversations, including “does everyone have equal access to happiness?”, arising from a conversation about freedom and equality. This investigation was very thought-provoking and participants how impacted they were by this week. February 22-26 and March 7-11, 2016.
A training course organised by EFIL brought together volunteers and staff of AFS exchange programmes in seminar called Shaping Identities – Shaping Societies. This seminar explored what our identity is made of, and how attachment to any type of identity might play a divisive role in our societies. Tali Padan was there to support the seminar with some activities from the Betzavta methodology, as well as some other activities to explore and reflect on our own tolerance and acceptance. Participants were very grateful for the new approach and saw the potential use in their own work. One participant wrote an article about Tali, which can be found here. Jan.25-31, 2016.