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Anti-Semitism- and Racism-critical Youth Work

Educators need our help. To provide that help, the Amadeu Antonio Foundation has established “ju:an – Project for Anti-Semitism- and Racism-Critical Youth Work.” To Network, Connect, and Support Healthy Discourse.

Contemporary and world-political events (the conflict in Gaza, anti-Semitic attacks, PEGIDA marches and other xenophobic demonstrations, etc.) are directly reflected in the daily work of youth organizations. In institutions serving children and adolescents, teachers and educators are regularly confronted with racist and anti-Semitic statements and actions, whether from coworkers, visitors, or even administrators. They are often unsure how best to respond – or whether to respond at all. Simultaneously, they may not know how to motivate their students and colleagues to confront xenophobic ideologies themselves.

Our multiregional pilot project is based on our experiences with its previous iteration: “Ju:an – Jugendarbeit gegen Antisemitismus und andere Ungleichwertigkeitideologien” (“Youth Work against Anti-Semitism and other Ideologies of Inequality”) which ran from 2010 to 2014. Experience with that project has shown that an understanding of anti-Semitism’s manifestations, as well as its function for discriminatory ideologies in general, is essential for successful pedagogical interventions. Indeed, our experts find the interactions between racism and anti-Semitism to be central to our work. This is because the connections between expressions of anti-Semitism and various types of racism – for example, the connection between anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim bigotry – has been examined neither in theoretical nor practical educational contexts. The question, however, remains: How can anti-Semitism in youth work be treated and confronted? Since 2015 Ju:an meets this need with counsel, education, and the strengthening of regional and national networks. We advise, coach and train individuals to implement sustainable anti-xenophobic, anti-racist youth work methods.

The project is supported by the National Ministry for Families, Seniors, Women and Children under the aegis of the program “Living Democracy.” It is also supported by the city government of Hannover and the Berlin Senate Committee for Work, Integration and Women.

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