WIKA-Workshop 2019 – speakers

Atelier 1: Cultural Cooperation and Shrinking Spaces
Atelier 2: Youth as Civil Society Actors
Atelier 3: Civil Society and Statehood


Atelier 1: Cultural Cooperation and Shrinking Spaces


Prof. Dr. Anette Zimmer
Professor of German and European Social Policy and Comparative Politics at and Director of the Institute of Political Science, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

Prof. Dr. Annette Zimmer is Full Professor of Social Policy and Comparative Politics at the Institute of Political Science at the University of Münster, Germany. She holds a doctoral degree in political science from the University of Heidelberg, and a lecturer degree in political science from the University of Kassel, Germany. She was affiliated with the Program on Nonprofit-Organizations at Yale University, USA, and served as the DAAD Visting Professor of German and European Studies at the Centre for International Studies of the University of Toronto, Canada, and as a Visiting Researcher at the American Centre for Contemporary Germany Studies in Washington, D.C.. Her teaching experience covers BA, Master and PhD-programs at universities in Germany (Kassel, Münster, Fankfurt), Canada (Toronto), the Netherlands (Twente), and France (Lille). Her research focuses on the topic of civil society – government relationships as well as on the role and function of non-profit organizations in selected policy fields. She was the President of the International Society for Third Sector Research (ISTR), and she currently serves as a Board Member of selected German grant making non-profit organizations.



If not for Democracy for What?

There used to be a close nexus between civil society studies and transformation research. Civil society was perceived as the driving force of democratization propelling association building, civic participation, and the further development of civic virtues. However, these times are gone. Today, civil society organizations, active in very different policy fields such as social services, health, leisure and sports, are thriving in many countries that do not qualify as democracies. Almost two decades ago, Thomas Carothers predicted “the end of the transition paradigm”. Nowadays, research on authoritarianism and populism has replaced studies on democratization and civic engagement. Although, it is hard to believe, foundations and other civic organizations are booming in non-democratic countries; and special funds, earmarked for the support of social groups, social enterprises and non-profit organizations are increasingly set-up in countries like Russia or China.

The lecture provides an overview of these current developments that are hardly in accordance with the classical assumptions of civil society or democratization studies. It will be outlined how civil society and its organizations are incorporated into governance arrangements of non-democratic countries. Also, it will be addressed how non-democratic regimes manage to get and keep these societal organizations under their control.


Kevin Mwachiro
LGBTQI*-Podcaster, Writer, Journalist and Activist in Kenya

Kevin Mwachiro is a writer, free-lance journalist, podcaster, and queer activist. His first book “Invisible: Stories From Kenya’s Queer Community” was published by the Goethe-Institut in Nairobi in 2014. It is a collection of stories, letters, and poems about the triumphs and challenges of living as LGBTQ in Kenya. He was also part of the editorial team that produced the Hivos supported journal “Boldly Queer“. Kevin Mwachiro wrote his first play as part of the Goethe-Institut’s “Six and the City” production. The play “Thrashed” was staged at PAWA254 in Nairobi. A multi-faceted artist, his poetry has appeared in the Pan-African LBGTI anthology “Walking The Tightrope“, and on the website www.thedreamingmachine.com. He is a co-founder of the “Out Film Festival (OFF)” which is the first LGBTI film festival in East Africa, and works in collaboration with the Gay Kenya Trust and the Goethe Institut Nairobi. Kevin Mwachiro produces a storytelling podcast, “Nipe Story (Tell Me a Story)” that gives a voice to short stories from Kenya and the continent. “As a child I loved listening to the spoken word. I would tune into a story-telling programme on radio and I enjoyed the way it took me to new worlds. I hope Nipe Story will help people create beautiful pictures in their heads.” He currently serves on the board of the LGBQ coalition “Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK)”.



Lights, Camera, & Action

The “Out Film Festival (OFF)” was the first LGBTQ film festival in East Africa. It began in 2011 and was hosted and supported by the Goethe-Institut Nairobi. This film festival became an almost annual event for Nairobi’s LGBT community in Kenya. OFF has grown and this can be seen from the numbers of attendants and the content of the festival, though it is still held within the Institut’s premises. Despite the socio-religious stigma and discrimination from society, the festival has been held publicly and freely, and has provided a safe space for the queer community. As a co-founder of the festival, Kevin Mwachiro discusses in his presentation why spaces like the OFF are avenues for cultural activism.


Dr. Rupert Graf Strachwitz
Board of Directors of Maecenata Foundation, Director of Maecenata Institute for Philanthropy and Civil Society

Ph.D. Rupert Graf Strachwitz, a political scientist and historian, has been the director of the Maecenata Institute for Philanthropy and Civil Society, an independent research and policy centre in Berlin since 1997, and the Executive Director of the Maecenata Foundation since 2010. Previous posts included serving at World Headquarters of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta in Rome and as regional director of the Order of Malta Relief Service in Bavaria. He was Vice-President of German Caritas, member of the German Federal Parliament Commission on Civic Action and the board of the Fondazione Cariplo, Milan, and chaired the European Policy Working Group of Europa Nostra. He has approx. 600 publications to his name, teaches regularly at universities, and lectures at home and abroad.



Revisiting the Civic Space

In 1989, the transition processes in Central and Eastern Europe was brought about through civic action. Personalities from the cultural sphere like Vaclav Havel became civic leaders, changed the course of history, and were hailed world-wide as heroes. Thirty years on, it is timely to revisit these events, given that civic action has become a permanent feature world-wide, and a universal culture of civic action has seemingly emerged and become part of the cultural frame of society, while attempts to crowd out the civic space and civil society have also become a global phenomenon. So, is this space shrinking? Is it just changing? Or is it in fact growing?

The lecture will reflect on the current state of the civic space in its global dimension and on the implications this may have on international cultural relations.


Atelier 2: Youth as Civil Society Actors


Michael Canares
Former Senior Researcher Manager at the World Wide Web Foundation (Project “Starting them Young: Advancing Data Literacy for Girls in Indonesia”, Goethe-Institut Indonesia, PASCH-Initiative, Open Data Labs Jakarta and World Wide Web Foundation)  

Michael Canares has proven expertise in designing and implementing action research projects on open data to promote transparency and accountability in governance, increase citizen participation in key issues affecting their lives, and improve the delivery of public services. In the last five years and up to now, he led the research and design of open data projects at World Wide Web Foundation’s Open Data Lab in Jakarta, and has advised several organizations on the use of data for development initiatives globally.

Michael Canares is currently a consultant to the Open Government Partnership on co-creation processes for governance reforms between government and civil society, the United Nations Development Program on local governance, and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on results measurement in Vanuatu. He is also working on different research projects with HIVOS Limited, more particularly on advancing people’s access to government information in the Philippines, and on the use of open contracting data in South Africa, Kenya, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

Michael Canares has a double degree in law and accountancy, and a master’s degree in business administration from different universities in the Philippines. He also holds an MSc in economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science.



Starting Them Young: The Role of Civil Society in Advancing Digital Literacy for Girls in Indonesia

Indonesia is not only one of the largest and most populous countries in the world, it is also the fastest growing country in terms of internet use. However, accessing, using, and benefitting from the web is not a privilege of everyone – women and marginalized sectors have been habitually left behind. The Jakarta Lab, an initiative of World Wide Web Foundation, in partnership with Goethe-Institut Indonesien, designed a project that aimed to build data and digital literacy of young girls, so they can participate in and benefit from the digital revolution. The project did this by working with civil society partners in designing a capacity building program targeted at using open data to create visualizations, data narratives, and other relevant products; identifying and building the capacity of high school students in understanding data, creating visualizations, and narratives to promote more relevant content in the web about women and girls and their rights; and provide a platform for conversation among gender advocates regarding the future of digital literacy in Indonesia, more especially for girls.

The presentation will focus on the role of civil society in advancing young girls’ ability to participate meaningfully in this information age and the necessary processes and foundational requirements in promoting digital literacy among young people to enable them to generate positive content, protect their online privacy, and participate actively in democratic governance. It will also highlight key lessons that may be taken into consideration by the German government as it drafts its cultural policy.


Burak Yusmak
Alumnus Young Mediterranean Voices Leadership  

Burak Yusmak obtained a BA in International Relations and an MA in International Studies and Diplomacy at the School of Oriental and African Studies. He was the co-founder of the Transnational Diplomacy Association at SOAS, University of London, where he organized conferences and roundtable meetings on campus. He initiated the “Diplomacy Dinners” with a thematic focus on gender and conflicting regions such as Japan, China, Taiwan, and South Asia, bringing youth and professionals together to create sustainable dialogue among future leaders through the use of diplomatic practices and creation of transnational alliances to prevent future conflicts in prospective regions fostered by common values and ideas. Furthermore, he was selected for the first “Young Mediterranean Voices Leadership” seminar organized by the Anna Lindh Foundation, MEDAC and Club de Madrid as a representative from Germany and is currently working as a consultant for International Affairs in Brussels. He is a practitioner of track II diplomacy and has given speeches at the United Nations, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in France.



Rethinking Diplomacy through Youth in Mediterranean Region

The presentation is focusing on the alternative role of diplomacy in empowering youth through cross-disciplinary partnerships among intergovernmental organizations with the Anna Lindh Foundation, NGOs, and the E5+5 countries in the Mediterranean region. It outlines the importance of youth in solving cross-border problems such as migration, radicalization, climate change, education and mobility on a horizontal platform to raise their voices in front of senior decision makers and diplomats. Indeed, for many years governments have used multilateral diplomacy to tackle problems through cooperation with an exclusion of the youth. The UN/Security Council Resolution 2250 (Youth, Peace and Security) is a unique decision considering youth as important actors which considers their role in various field in International Affairs. The “Young Mediterranean Voices Leadership” seminar is an unique example of the implementation of the UN/SCR 2250. In this regard Youth from the Mediterranean region had the opportunity to raise their policy recommendations at a high-level summit with 10 Foreign Ministers and HR/VP Federica Mogherini which marked a change for mainstream diplomatic practices which I framed as “multi-optional diplomacy”.


Atelier 3: Civil Society and Statehood

Prof Antonia

Jelnar Ahmad
Monitoring & Evaluation Manager at IMPACT – Civil Society Research and Development e.V.  

Jelnar Ahmad is the Research and M&E Manager at IMPACT e.V. (Previously Citizens for Syria). She has been working in the field of monitoring and evaluation for almost six years with several agencies and civil society organizations. Jelnar Ahmad joined IMPACT’s team in 2017, and worked on the Mapping of Syrian Civil Society project and a research on the impact of displacement on local communities in Northern Syria amongst other M&E and research projects. She is currently doing her MA in Science Studies at the Institute of Social Sciences at the Humboldt University zu Berlin, with a previous academic and professional background in the fields of pharmaceutical industries and marketing.



Changing Contexts and Trends in Syrian Civil Society

In the period between 2017 and 2018, the controlling powers in Syria have been shifting dramatically. These developments have changed the control map of Syria drasti¬cally compared to the situation in 2016, with direct and indirect effects on the humanitarian, social, political, and civic levels. Syrian civil society organiza¬tions operating in and outside Syria were affected by these changes.

This presentation is based on the “Changing contexts and trends in Syrian Civil Society” report, which sheds light on the status of Syrian CSOs in different areas of control based on the new geo-political lines formed as a result of the military developments. This report is based on data collated through a mapping of civil society organizations with active offices in Syria or neighboring coun¬tries conducted between August and November 2018.

Dr. Susann Worschech
Research Associate, Faculty of Cultural Studies, European Studies Institute, European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), Expert of ifa’s Research Programme “Culture and Foreign Policy”

Dr. Susann Worschech is Research Associate at the Faculty of Cultural Studies at European Studies Institute at European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder) and Expert of ifa’s Research Programme “Culture and Foreign Policy”. Her research focuses on civil society, civic activism, democratization, and europeanization, as well as on transformation in post-socialist societies in Europe. Her doctoral dissertation, “The 'making' of civil society: Donor strategies and actor networks of external democracy promotion in Ukraine“, was awarded the Klaus Mehnert Prize 2016 by the German Association for East European Studies (DGO). Susann Worschech has a long list of academic teaching and empirical research experiences, publications, and presentations at international conferences and congresses to her name. In June of 2019 she was awarded the State Academic Teaching Award 2019 by the State of Brandenburg for her empirical research seminar “Local Participation and urban development in border regions”.



Democratization Through the Backdoor: The Political Impact of ‘Non-political’ Culture Support

In recent studies on civil society, democratization and its support, political activism marks the focal point external supporters relate their activities to. Strong NGOs and ‘change agents’ have long been the most promising counterparts for external supporters of pluralism and democracy. However, the development of ‘divided civil societies’ in transition countries and the ambivalent role of NGO elites towards internal and external state administrations and agencies as well as to democratization in general has shifted the focus to other approaches of supporting civic actors. The presentation will analyze the role of the arts and culture sector in democratization processes and conceptualize the particular strategy of supporting democratization via non- or semi-political actors. Based on empirical data on the German-Ukrainian cooperation patterns in democracy and culture cooperation, the presentation underlines the often underestimated role of culture in democratic consolidation, but also its limitations.