Daily Archives: 13. April 2015

A heartfelt thank you!

"Two life-changing weeks" - "transcending the cultural and religious differences".

ReliXchange - the German-Egyptian youth exchange for Interreligious Dialogue was a great experience that will long remain fresh in our minds. In early December, the participants met again in Berlin and Cairo. It was a third meeting that followed the two main programme weeks, but for the first time the participants met separated by nations. The task was to look back, reflected own experiences, and rethink content and processes critically. The participants turned their focus into the future then, concentrating on how to share their personal experiences and findings by designing their own projects. And there was a brief reunion via video conference with the other half of the group on the other side of the Mediterranean on the neighbouring continent. In the very first hours of ReliXchange one insight had quickly emerged: there is only one ReliXchange group, not several. All belong together, regardless of whether German or Egyptians, woman or man, religious or not, Muslim, Sufi, Catholic, city- or country-dweller, Protestant, Christian Orthodox, Coptic or atheist. This sympathetic human unity was the greatest gift that we could get back for our effort as the organizing team in Berlin. My colleague Anja Gebel and I, Andreas Fricke, we will not forget this common energy of the young participants, their successes and the fun they had together. It was this gift that made us forget the hardships of the delayed project start, shifts, rescheduling and overtime hours - and it still motivates us to keep on working. We would like to thank sincerely all those involved: the German Foreign Office, the German Federation for Arts Education and Cultural Learning, Bread for the World, the German Embassy Cairo, the German Federal Office of Administration, Amin Saleh and Rap4Respect, mediale pfade.de Agency for Media Education, 1219 German Foundation for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue eV, the trainers Sara-Duana Meyer, Gihan Abouzeid, Giovanni Gino Santo, Islam El-Ghazouly, the team of the New Horizon Association for Social Development, Jade Nicole Zoghbi, Lucia Linares and Sara Samir Ashour, Sandra Spindler for the ReliXchange design, the volunteer staff Evin Kücükali, Mariam Korte, Caroline Bunge - and of course: all ReliXchange participants! With the success of ReliXchange in mind, we are looking forward to future projects of 14km eV, which will reduce the distance between North Africa and Europe even further. We already work intensively on some precise goals, and more exchange projects are planned. In order to realise as much of them successfully we ask for numerous donations. The more financial support we get, the easier we can organise our daily and mainly voluntary team work, and the more we can focus on content and bring more projects on the way succesfully. Thank you very much! The ReliXchange blog ends with two quotes from the original ReliXchange participants blogs. The blog team of the first of ten days highlighted the general expectations and hopes: "The participants did not expect less than to discover a new perspective on religion – maybe even on life!” Have these participants' expectations been fulfilled? The blog team of the last programme day describes how successful ReliXchange bridged the distance between North Africa and Europe: „All along the activities, we could assume that significant ties have been developed within the group transcending the cultural and religious differences. After two intense life-changing weeks of discovery and interaction, words fall short to express it, but there were hugs, tears, friendship, intensity, sadness and hope…“   Andreas Fricke, ReliXchange Project Coordinator, April 2015 Direct links to the original participants blogs: day 1 - day 2 - day 3 - day 4 - day 5- day 6 - day 7 - day 8 - day 9 - day 10 The ReliXchange project receives financial support by the German-Egyptian Transformation Partnership through the German Foreign Office, by funds of the Ecclesiastical Development Services through Bread for the World - Protestant Church Development Service and by the “International Youth Work” Programme of the German Federal Child and Youth Plan through BKJ.