16 Feburary 2021

Goethe-Institut Launches a Europe-Wide Conversation about Solidarity

How about solidarity instead of populism? The Goethe-Instituts in Europe in partnership with NewKinco invite one and all to take part in SoliDialogues on 19 and 20 March 2021, a Europe-wide conversation about solidarity and new forms of cohesion. The idea is to bring together small groups of up to six people – who’ve never met before – in virtual dialogue rooms, where they will listen to and be heard by one another. If you’d like to take part, sign up now on our project website solidialogues.one

Current developments such as climate change, the spread of populist movements and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic pose formidable challenges to European cohesion in the present day and age. In response, calls for more solidarity and community building have been growing louder. But how can inclusive solidarity serve as an antidote to populism?

This is a core question of SoliDialogues, an open conversation in which the Goethe-Instituts in Europe invite one and all to take part on 19 and 20 March 2021. Across two days, perfect strangers from all over Europe – and beyond – will be meeting up, virtually, in small groups of not more than six to delve into this question from various angles and perspectives. When signing up, the participants themselves indicate which facet of the question they wish to discuss in their virtual dialogue room. The topics of discussion are deliberately not set beforehand, but may address questions like: How can we practise solidarity in times of lockdown and social distancing? How might post-Brexit relations look between the UK and the EU? How can we guarantee free speech and artistic freedom? What role do art and culture play in bridging social divides?

The object of the SoliDialogues is to enable a wide range of different opinions and even conflicting standpoints to be heard – regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, neurodiversity, political philosophy, ethnicity, nationality or religion. Based on the "dialogue.one" method, the discussions are primarily about listening to one another rather than engaging in a verbal slugfest. There are set rules to ensure that participants don’t interrupt one another, and safeguard freedom of speech. In this manner, the dialogues provide a safe space for collective reflection, open-ended questions and active listening. The discussions will be held in English, and streamed on the SoliDialogues website as well as the Goethe-Institut’s YouTube channel for anyone interested in listening in.

Anyone who is interested in taking part in a group discussion, can sign up until the end of February on the project website.

SoliDialogues is an initiative of the Goethe-Instituts in Europe in partnership with NewKinco.