A report by Malina Emmerink
It sounded like an academic speed dating event on an international and intercultural level and instantly made me curious: When Gesche Schifferdecker of the Max Weber Foundation asked me if I would like to join the Weber World Café on „Diversity – Limits and Opportunities“ to meet professionals from different fields of expertise and exchange ideas on the fascinating topic of “diversity”, I happily agreed to come to Göttingen for the event.
The international Weber World Café is organized biannually by the Max Weber Foundation and the Forum Transregionale Studien (Berlin) in changing locations. It brings together people from different countries, professions and ages to discuss a topic of broad public interest. The format is innovative and refreshing: Instead of well-known and often unproductive panel discussions, the participants are grouped around several tables. Each table is hosted by two experts from different academic fields who chair the discussion about a special aspect of the main topic. Every participant is encouraged to take an active part in the discussions and contribute with his or her specific views and perspectives. Each discussion round lasts for 25 minutes after which it is possible to change tables or stay for another, often very different session on the same topic. Paper table-cloths provide a great opportunity to take notes, to sum up important aspects of the discussion and to write down newly raised questions for the next group.
This late fall’s Weber World Café was organized in cooperation with the German Institute for Japanese Studies Tokyo (DIJ), the Diversity Research Institute of the Georg-August-University Göttingen and the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity. The subject-matter was highly topical and of great importance: During three hours we discussed many facets of the complex and at times diffuse concept of “diversity”. The organizers tackled the complexity of the phenomenon by organizing the discussion tables around seven very interesting subtopics: They focused on conflicts in multi-ethnic societies, intersectionality, gentrification, body modification, historic examples of diverse societies, the concept of “superdiversity”, and gender-neutral parenting. Experts from all over the globe were invited to host the tables and enriched the discussions with their expertise. Weiterlesen