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Projects with refugees
The refugee crisis is one of the chief challenges of our times. The Goethe-Institut plays a part in the integration of refugees in Germany and, in cooperation with partners, has also been organizing various cultural and educational programmes in the regions of origin, for example in Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan, in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon and in a number of cities in Turkey, since 2013. The different projects are presented in reports and interviews here.
Workshop “Alltag im Exil”, Berlin 2016, Photo: Bernhard Ludewig © Goethe-Institut

Architectures of Arrival: Berlin networks and technical architectural language

To many refugee architects Germany has now become their second homeland. In the temporary Berlin project space “Goethe-Institut Damaskus im Exil”, German and Syrian experts from this professional field met to discover what is needed for a positive arrival experience.More ...
The children in the temporary housing are looking forward to the upcoming film screening | Photo: Andrea Kueppers

Cinemanya – Film cases deployed for refugee children and teens

The Goethe-Institut’s CINEMANYA film cases have been in use across Germany for media education work with refugee children and teens since 2015. In the year 2016 alone, they reached over 10,000 youngsters. A visit to a film screening at the initial reception facility of the German Red Cross in Hamburg offers insights into the work of the volunteers.More ...
My Book – My Teacher delivers picture and reading books to children at community centres and refugee accommodations all over Lebanon. | Photo: Mwafak Maklad

Transporting Literature: “My Book – My Teacher”

Awakening a love of reading: in January and February 2017, the project “My Book – My Teacher” by the Goethe-Institut Lebanon in cooperation with Orienthelfer e.V. distributed 33,000 free books to children in Lebanon affected by displacement.More ...

“Tell Me Your Story” – A project of the Goethe-Institut Istanbul in cooperation with young Syrian refugees

With story-telling techniques, with photography and in interviews, young Syrian refugees tell stories of their time before, during and after the escape from Syria to Turkey. These stories often show evidence of an absurd reality of life, between fragile normality and banal brutality. The stories and testimonies will feature permanently on the website of the Goethe-Institut Turkey.More ...
The German-Arabic children’s book series “Einfach lesen!” accompanies kids as they become accustomed to their new surroundings. | Photo: Jasmin Zikry

“Einfach Lesen!” – Arrival in Arabic and German

Friendly trams and wandering frogs: the Goethe-Institut is using children’s books in German and Arabic to make it easier for young refugees and their parents to come into contact with the foreign language and a foreign country. A visit to a refugee shelter in Berlin shows how well the “Einfach lesen!” project is being received.More ...
Picture gallery with all of the authors in the supplement: Galsan Tschinag, Luiz Ruffato, Rasha Omran, Leonidas Donskis, Alexander Kluge und Eva Illouz | Photos: Wilma Brüggemann, Tadeu Vilani, Xenia Nikolskaya, Šarūnas Mažeika, Markus Kirchgessner, Cordula Flegel

Where to? 21 questions on flight and migration

The new issue of the cultural magazine “das goethe” just appeared. It’s all about refuge and migration plus a questionnaire answered by internationally renowned intellectuals in more than forty countries. Read here about what moves Alexander Kluge.More ...
Goethe-Institut Damascus | Photo: Björn Luley / Goethe-Institut

Goethe-Institut Damascus | In Exile

As a symbolic place, a temporary space is being created in Berlin for art and culture, for cooperation and dialogue between Syrian artists in Berlin: the Goethe-Institut Damascus | In Exile.More ...
Photo: Felix Rettberg

On the future of vocational integration: The language biographies and linguistic skills of refugees

A collaborative effort by the Institut für Deutsche Sprache Mannheim and the Goethe-Institut.More ...
Florencia Young and Marula Di Como | © Migrantas

No Limits? Overcoming the Grey Areas

More than sixty million people around the world are fleeing from war, persecution and poverty. Many who start out full of hope do not reach their destinations. They are halted by political, geographical and economic borders. What do these borders look like? How dissimilar or perhaps how similar are the local circumstances in different places in the world? What can art contribute to global discourse? The event NO LIMITS? by the Goethe-Institut and the Münchner Kammerspiele seeks out new structure of solidarity in a changing world, live and simultaneously via videoconferencing in Munich, Mexico City and Istanbul. Among the participants are the artists’ collective Migrantas with Marula Di Como and Florencia Young from Mexico City. Using pictograms, the two artists want to give refugees and immigrants who were forced to leave their homelands a voice in the public space.More ...
A concert at a refugee camp in Istanbul 2015 | Credit: Enis Yücel

Annual Report 2015/2016: Focus on Refugees

Migration and the plight of refugees are focal topics of the Goethe-Institut. Nothing dominated the last year like the global refugee situation. For this reason, the latest Annual Report being released today focuses on it. For World Refugee Day, this article provides insights into the Goethe-Institut’s commitment to refugees – both in Germany and in their regions of origin.More ...
The new phrasebook is available in print and as a PDF at | Phto: Cordula Flegel

Phrasebook for Refugees: First Steps, First Words

Language is essential, which is why the Goethe-Institut created a phrasebook especially for Arabic-speaking refugees. The booklet is meant to help newcomers when taking their first steps in Germany. The friendly title is “Willkommen!”More ...
“Ankommen” is an app made to help refugees starting out in Germany. | Photo: Kay Nietfeld © picture alliance / dpa

New App: Arriving In Germany

Newly arrived refugees in Germany are faced by many challenges including cultural and linguistic hurdles. A new app called “Ankommen” (Arrival) was created to help them successfully navigate their first weeks in Germany.More ...
Gustav Wallgren, Shuntaro Soeda and Zorba Khalil are excited about the film cases that were put together for refugee kids. | Photo: Bernhard Ludewig

Cinemanya – A Film Case For Refugees

The presentation of a film case for refugee children and teens is a cinematic experience: The Goethe-Institut introduced its Cinemanya project at the ASTOR Film Lounge in Berlin and gave young people the opportunity to talk with secretary-general Johannes Ebert.More ...
Photo: Bettina Siegwart

Digital Help for Language Volunteers

Webinars for volunteer refugee language guides produced by the Goethe-Institut offer tips and tricks for teaching a foreign language even under difficult circumstances. Now the seminar recordings are also available online.More ...
Photo: Mirko Lux

Munich Literature Festival: Engaging in dialogue with refugees through literature

Between 18 November and 6 December, the Munich Literature Festival with forum:autoren curated by Albert Ostermaier will show how dedicated and political literature can contribute to engaging in dialogue with refugees. Every refugee, every expatriate brings their story with them. Literature can translate destinies, build bridges of understanding and express fears.More ...
Volunteer language guides in the Goethe-Institut Göttingen; Photo: Pepe Egger

First Aid in German – volunteer language guides in Göttingen

Volunteer language guides are crucial to the integration of refugees. That’s why the Goethe-Institut offers free weekend courses that teach the basics of teaching German as a second language. This is a report from such a course in Göttingen.More ...
from left to right: Yamen Hussein, Klaus-Dieter Lehmann, Amira El-Ahl, Basma El Husseiny, Albert Ostermaier; Photo: Mirko Lux

Cultural Aid, Not Events

A Goethe-Institut panel discussion at the Frankfurt Book Fair explores the question of what art and culture have to offer in light of flight and displacement.More ...
Refugees arriving in Germany: Making productive use of waiting times (Photo:

Refugee crisis – Language is the Key

Art against war: is that really naïve? No, for although art may not be a panacea, without it would mean giving up on the people. What the Goethe-Institut can actually do for refugees both in Germany and in the camps in Turkey, in Jordan and Lebanon.More ...
Travelling puppets: performance of Paradise Mastaz by the Hajusom ensemble | Photo: Lutz Saure

Kammerspiele Transforming into Welcome Theatre

The Münchner Kammerspiele are devoting their attention to the issues of refugees, arrival and asylum with the Open Border Congress; the theatre is transforming into the Munich Welcome Theatre. Dance and theatre projects and films for and with refugees supported by the Goethe-Institut are also involved.More ...
Syrian refugee children at a theatre workshop organized by Action for Hope | Photo: Goethe-Institut Libanon

Cultural aid to Refugees – the Lost Diary

Talking is therapeutic. No matter if the stories are expressed in film, theatre or music – they need to be told. The Goethe-Institut and the aid organization Action for Hope are therefore administering cultural first aid in the refugee camps of the Middle East.More ...
After shaky first steps, practice helps the youngsters gain self-confidence (Photo: Enis Yücel)

In the Refugee Camp, in Istanbul: Art is Everywhere

How does the Goethe-Institut in Istanbul work with millions of Syrians are fleeing from war and violence in their homeland? We spoke with the director of the institute, Christian Lüffe.More ...

On the run: A debate between Aman Sethi and Georg Diez

What are the problems and consequences for Central European nations in the face of the influx of humanity? How wide ranging is the migration? For how long and for whom should the European nations open their borders? Indian journalist Aman Sethi and German journalist Georg Diez will attempt to answer some of the questions by way of a regular exchange on the Goethe-Institut India's website.

Learning app “City of Words” in Arabic

Play “City of Words” in Arabic! Starting today, the learning app is available for download from the app store in the Arabic language. It will help you deal especially with everyday situations in German.