Review: Berlin needs you (but why?)

Why is immigration important? The debate takes many angles. There's the demographic argument, that developed countries with low birth rates and aging populations need bodies to maintain the replacement rate. There's the globalization take, that the movement of people in all forms is increasingly inevitable and contributes to global competitiveness and 21st century skills. The moral or even religious spin, emphasizing human dignity, charity, an obligation for prosperous nations to help those more needy. But few arguments are as pervasive as the economic one... [Read More!]

Lens: With Wings, Roots, and Sweaty Hands

"Punctual. Exact. Productive. Closed off. Careful. Inflexible. Humorless." And some "Goethe" and "Einstein" thrown in for good measure. Was this really all a group of seemingly well-educated professionals had to say about German identity? No wonder the facilitator had started to draw sad faces on the list... [Read More!]

Multiculturalism, Diversity, and the Big City

With my back to them at the street-side café I felt like a judge on "The Voice", straining my neck for any hint of where they were from or what they looked like, resisting the urge to swirl around and start dancing on my chair. Truth be told my ears had perked up as soon as the trio plopped down at the table behind me, switching between topics like gentrification in Kreuzberg and the cultural difference between Kaffee and "coffee" as quickly as they were switching between German and English... [Read More!]

Rave: Why Remembering the Holocaust is Good for Immigrants

In 2005, Germany officially became an immigration country with the establishment of its federal office for migration. The question - who are the Germans anyway? - has become increasingly important in deciding what to impart to these newcomers set to stay. Expats are good at constructing Germanness for the Germans themselves, often leaving out the Holocaust in such a description of 'German identity', however. Today's Germany - an immigration country - is a republic built on tragic events like the Holocaust, just as France is a country built on colonialism. Everything has a context, and it is this context that immigrants to Germany should learn to understand for the sake of a more complete country - a civic society which respects differences and celebrates them... [Read More!]

Rave: Education Per Square (Kilo)Meter

After all this talk about Nazis, N-Words, and negative stereotypes, I think it's time we had some good news around here, don't you?

Enter Ein Quadratkilometer Bildung, or "Square Kilometer Education".

Quadratkilometer Bildung (QKB) is an educational development and learning platform that addresses education on a regional basis, with a focus on disadvantaged populations. They call it "closing gaps". I call it common sense... [Read More!]