Connect: Today I Learned

Since the beginning of August, Jonathan & Yara Makkonen have been organizing the local project “Connect” on a weekly basis. Connect encourages cross-cultural dialogue on the community level with the hope of contributing to world peace. Our activities are held on Friday evenings in Giessen, and consist of four rotating programs.

“Game On!” is an evening to have fun and make friends. It is an exciting game night with organized games and surprises!

“TIL” (Today I Learned) is a talk or a training session about various topics like sports, lifestyle or science from different speakers.

“Story Telling” is a night for sharing and conversation. 7 people each get to tell a 7 minute story (relating to a predetermined theme) which can be a very empowering experience. Story telling is an opportunity that allows attendants to connect with each other on a deeper level.

“Music Night” is where we open our stage for musicians (and other talents) to perform in front of an audience at our UPF center!

Last Friday we had our 2nd Today I Learned (TIL) event. In the beginning our new friend Ali Can, who is currently leading the UNICEF college initiative and recently joined our Youth UPF team, presented a poetic text about integration, which he composed himself. Being from a Turkish background, he gave a heartfelt (and comical) insight about prejudices against foreigners in our country.

The main speaker was Savas Demirci who gave a presentation to us about the NG-Cup that he organized and initiated in his hometown, Niedergirmes. The area of Niedergirmes is known to be a dangerous area where gangs from various backgrounds tend to meet and make the streets insecure. His idea was to change the violent image of the town by holding a peaceful football tournament.

Savas has the ambitious vision to improve the violent culture and bad attitude about the town by bringing football players together of different nationalities for good fun and competition on the field. At TIL, he shared all the challenges he faced over the last 5 years organizing the NG-Cup, along with the successes he accomplished.

Our new Youth UPF Germany is slowly expanding and we are excited to put new ideas into practice in order to change our culture for peace. Connect is a good way to bring people together from different ages, ethnicities and backgrounds for sharing, learning and fun! Let’s all stay connected!

by Benedikta Becker

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