Beyond the News

A MitOst Blog


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March for Europe – afterthoughts on imagination and European unity

An article by Kakha Kotashvili from Georgia on his experience at the Advocate Europe meeting in Rome, March 2017, which he attended in the frame of a MitOst20 shadow visit lottery for members. 

Old Piazza Di Spagna from a course book

From my school days I remember a picture of the Piazza Di Spagna (Square of Spain) in Rome, Italy, being in my geography course book. At the time, I thought this square was very beautiful with its nice, old buildings and flowers on stairs. I liked it so much that during the whole year I kept dreaming I would go there and see it in Rome, preferably with the girl I liked at the time. I had a kind of Roman holidays in my mind.

Time passed and I forgot this picture, this dream and this girl, too. I grew up, went to Europe many times and thus had a chance to go to Italy as well, but somehow didn’t have a strong wish to visit this country as most of my European journeys were and are still connected with Germany due to MitOst activities and my other work; so every chance to go to Italy was delayed. Suddenly I, who never won a lottery in my life, got a message that I was the lucky one who would go to Rome, attend an Advocate Europe seminar there and take part in the March for Europe event as MitOst member. It was a really big surprise which reminded me of my old dream I had already forgotten.

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Rom in mir – Shadow Visit beim March for Europe

Ein Beitrag von Maxim Filimonov, der im März 2017 im Rahmen der MitOst20-Lotterie für Mitglieder eine Hospitation zum Advocate Europe Workshop in Rom gewann.

Ich war noch nie in Rom, aber natürlich war Rom schon immer in mir – untrennbarer Bestandteil der phantastisch klingenden und einladenden Dreiheit “ParisBerlinRom” – für einen Jungen, der ein Städtchen im Ural bewohnte, ein absolut unerreichbares Phantom, dessen undeutliche Konturen man sich mit jedem Mal neu ausdenken kann. Aber wenn ich genauer überlege, was wusste ich über Rom? Die ewige Stadt, die bleibende Stätte der Päpste, das Kolosseum, der Filmklassiker “Roman Holiday”. Nun ja, nicht eben viel.

Viele Jahre sind vergangen, viele Länder und Städte durchreist, das Wort “Rom” ist schon leicht verwischt, hat seine unmittelbare sehnsuchtsvolle Unerreichbarkeit verloren, steht in einer nicht enden wollenden Reihe mit Namen anderer großer und staubiger Städte; die Lust sich dort wiederzufinden wurde so selten, dass sie im Endeffekt ganz verschwand. Es sah so aus, als ob Rom für mich eine Fata Morgana bleiben sollte, eine Phantasie aus der Kindheit. Doch dabei blieb es nicht! Das Mosaik des Lebenskaleidoskops fügte sich, und in der nächstfolgenden Lotterie (danke, MitOst!) zog eine Hand einen Zettel mit meinem Namen. Ich fahre nach Rom. Unglaublich!

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There is always a possibility to take action…

By Naila Ismayilova from Azerbaijan who attended the CitizensLab network meeting in Brussels as a winner of the “shadow visit lottery” for MitOst members.

Who is an active citizen? What kind of action should be taken in order to achieve significant change in a particular society? How can people from different fields of activity get together and join forces for a common future? I had lots of questions in my mind when I received an email from the CitizenLab team stating that I would be invited to attend the programme’s second network meeting in Brussels. 
I would like to highlight that this experience has a special place in my life, starting with the fact that it was the first time I ever won a lottery. I took it as a good sign, because in my culture we believe that the way you start a year it will continue all along.  Continue reading


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„Katalysator für lokale Akteure“ – der MitOst-Festival-Effekt in der Ukraine

Interview mit Alona Karavai, von Darius Polok

MitOst ist in Ivano-Frankivsk – der Gastgeberstadt des MitOst-Festivals 2015 – weiterhin engagiert und entwickelt als Partner von
Teple Misto einen „trans-sektoralen Lernort“ auf dem Gelände der ehemaligen Fabrik “Promprylad”. Anfang März 2017 besuchten im Rahmen einer Kooperation des Bosch Alumni Networks Kolleginnen und Kollegen aus Athen, Lissabon und London das Projekt und unterstützten Alona Karavai (MitOst) und Yuriy Fylyuk (Teple Misto) bei einer Diagnose der Örtlichkeit als zukünftiges nachhaltiges „Ökosystem“.

Darius Polok, Koordinator des Bosch Alumni Networks, kam bei dieser Gelegenheit mit Alona Karavai über die Wirkung des MitOst-Festivals vor zwei Jahren ins Gespräch.

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Berlin mayor Michael Müller meets social entrepreneurs in Moscow

Event summary by Peter Correll
Photos: Yuriy Fokin

During his first three-day visit to Moscow in mid-March, the governing mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller, wanted to refresh municipal ties with the twin city Moscow, but also explicitly wished to get in touch with civil society. On request of his office, MitOst and Impact Hub Moscow organised a Round Table with social start-up’s to which social entrepreneurs, politicians, independent experts as well as representatives of foundations and cooperations found their way. 

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Cycling in Moldova: a crazy idea or the only way to go?

The MitOst alumni project #BikesCrossBorders wants to foster cycling in Moldova. An article by initiator Julian Gröger about what it means to use a bike in Moldova.

When I was teaching at the ULIM University in Chisinau as a fellow of the Lectureship Programme of the Robert Bosch Stiftung (2007-2009), I used to come to work by bike. Many of my students were at least irritated, if not disappointed by this fact. They hoped that I would bring in modern elements from the promised West…and not cycling. In Moldova, cycling is still considered as something only poor village people use who cannot afford other means of transport. The bike arouses associations like dirty clothes, bad smell, alcohol, village road, mud and elderly people. In post-soviet societies, the bike, unfortunately, has an image problem: civilized people in modern towns and cities should at least go by trolley bus if not by car.
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The three grandmothers – or sharing “gifts” from the MitOst Festival

An article by Argyro Barata, FEAST Greece and CitizensLab member

When I attend a big international event, I always have in mind what the outcome of my participation will be. Will it inspire me? Will I be able to implement any new ideas back home? How could I spread the knowledge gained to my peers? And of course I had the same thoughts during the 14th International MitOst Festival in Tbilisi, Georgia, which I chose as one of my CitizensLab mobility grant hosts. The plethora of festival’s events drew my attention and my main focus was to explore successful examples of vibrant local communities, to understand the tactics around building them, and lastly to find new tools to empower them. Continue reading


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Das wandernde E von Ob_rhausen: Zugehörigkeiten neu denken

Von Johanna-Yasirra Kluhs

Seit vielen Jahren schon leuchtet über Oberhausen ein Leuchtschriftzug, direkt gegenüber vom Hauptbahnhof: „Oberhausen – Wiege der Ruhrindustrie“. Nur das E war schon eine kleine Ewigkeit außer Betrieb. Eine Lücke in der Selbstbenennung der Stadt, deren Entwicklung ohne Zuwanderung nicht denkbar wäre. In einem Projekt des Vereins kitev
 wurde die Neonleuchte kürzlich gemeinsam mit neuangekommenen Jugendlichen repariert – und auf Wanderung durch die Stadt geschickt.
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You can stop hiding now!

According to the author of this article, the “dissemination and exploitation of results” seems to be the Achilles heel of socio-cultural projects. How can great initiatives become more visible – and thus accessible – to a wider public?

An article by Magdalena Lapshin
Photos by Costanze Flamme, Magdalena Lapshin, Hawila and Head4Arts

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Urban Change Talk: “Bologna – a Laboratory for Urban Commons?”

In Bologna, a commons-friendly public administration is trying to do things differently and encourages the participatory and sustainable shaping of city spaces. How to include different sectors of society in joint projects and how to overcome obstacles in the process – these were some of the questions open for discussion during the “Urban Change Talk: Bologna – a Laboratory for Urban Commons?” which took place in January 2017 at Tazcafé Berlin.*

An event summary by Dr. Martin Schwegmann (MitOst /Actors of Urban Change)
Photos by Marcus Müller-Witte
16486959_1324755804252038_3672950169587482855_oGuests:
Prof. Christian Iaione (LabGov – LABoratorio per la GOVernance dei beni comuni, Rome)
Giovanni Ginocchini (Director of the URBAN CENTER BOLOGNA)
Marco Clausen (Prinzessinnengarten/Nachbarschaftsakademie, Berlin)
Dr. Mary Dellenbaugh (Urban Research Group “Urban Commons,” Humboldt Universität Berlin) Continue reading