Beyond the News

A MitOst Blog

Leave a comment

Drawing strength from what we have in common: THK coordinator`s meeting in Oberhausen

By Mariana Gabunia

Lucky stories are all about being prepared to seize an opportunity and go for taking new steps – which is what I did when I participated in the MitOst lottery for a shadow visit to this year’s Theodor-Heuss-Kolleg coordinator’s meeting, announced in the frame of the 20th anniversary of MitOst.
The meeting was held in Oberhausen, 19-23 April 2017 – in an interesting post-industrial building with very friendly hosts from the German NGO kitev.
Around 70 people from different countries attended the meeting. What unites them? Continue reading


Leave a comment

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.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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. 

Continue reading

Leave a comment

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.
Continue reading

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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

Continue reading

Leave a comment

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
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

Leave a comment

Velociped Festival – or how to make a first step

Did you always want to organise something interesting and impactful? Do you have amazing ideas all the time and a burning desire to positively change your environment? But in the end, and out of different reasons, it rarely actually happens? This is how I and my friend Vlad felt half a year ago when we heard of an opportunity to get support from MitOst for a socially relevant project.
1-downhill-contestAn article by Mikalai Vincheuski, one of the organisers of the bicycle festival and MitOst member project “Velociped” that took place 20 to 21 August 2016 in Belarus 
Continue reading

Leave a comment

Sparkle in the eye

Whenever I start a training session, the first question I ask my participants is: what is your trigger? What brings you to the point of making or creating something? How do you start working on your ideas?


An article by Teona Dalakishvili, founder of Creative Development Center (Georgia) and member of the MitOst festival team 2016. The article was first published in MitOst Magazin #28
Continue reading