Bild einer Frau, die sich Notizen macht
Bild einer Frau, die sich Notizen macht

University News

Political Interest in the INTERREG Project "Hope & Despair!"

Green Party Members from the State Parliament Visit Europa-Universität Flensburg

Catharina Nies and Nelly Waldeck, two state parliament representatives from the Alliance 90 / The Greens parliamentary faction, visited Europa-Universität Flensburg on March 12, 2024. The delegation, which included Falk Bednarski from the Flensburg Green Party's district executive committee, focused its interest on the German-Danish INTERREG project "Hope & Despair", which centers on the Second World War.

An important history education project for school students

"As a parliamentary group, we are currently looking at where Europe and the EU are funding projects in Schleswig-Holstein within our constituencies. And this one in particular is a very important history education project for school students, and a key project for the significance of democracy," explained MP Nelly Waldeck when discussing the interest of the Green parliamentary group.

Developing a contemporary and cross-border culture of remembrance

For the "Hope & Despair" project, which was launched in May 2023, institutions from the border region are developing concepts for a contemporary and cross-border culture of remembrance. The project is being led by the Design School Kolding and involves seven Danish and German museums and memorials as well as tourism organizations in addition to the Kiel University of Applied Sciences and Europa-Universität Flensburg. "We initiated this project because there is so much potential for exciting collaboration between German and Danish memorials and also between the different cultures of remembrance," says project manager Sune Gudiksen from Design Skole Kolding, outlining the aim of the project.

Bringing a key era for Flensburg to life through tourism

"For me, the interesting thing about this project is that it gives us the opportunity to use ideal storytelling to present a key era for Flensburg to our target groups in a sensitive way. This gives them an insight into very important events in Germany," emphasizes Gorm Kasper, Managing Director of Tourismus Agentur Flensburger Förde GmbH, which is a cooperation partner in the project.

Physical routes and virtual spaces

The current plan is to develop routes along various places of remembrance in the border region, for example by following the fates of individuals associated with those places. Because of its special significance in the end of World War II, Flensburg is also a point on the planned route. The idea is to use new digital media to make the sites virtually and directly accessible through various sensory experiences. The target audience includes school students as well as culturally interested international tourists from Scandinavia, the Netherlands, France and Poland.

Transnational culture of remembrance

The project faces two key challenges: first, to maintain the culture of remembrance and second, to create a transnational culture of remembrance. Different perspectives of Germany as a "perpetrator country" and Denmark as a "victim country" with respect to National Socialism and the Second World War will be taken into account. "We became a project partner because we have a strong understanding of interculturality and are academically engaged with transnational and digital remembrance cultures," explains Prof. Dr. Hedwig Wagner, Professor of European Media Studies.

Institutionally stabilizing the culture of remembrance in the long term

"The hope is that something like this will never happen again," said state parliament member Catharina Nies, following the project presentation.  "Cross-border projects like 'Hope & Despair' are enormously important in this regard - firstly to keep the culture of remembrance alive, but also to institutionally stabilize and expand this culture of remembrance in a sustainable way."

A representative project for EUF

Prof. Dr. Iulia Patrut, EUF Vice President for Research and Knowledge Transfer, and Prof. Dr. Ulrich Glassmann, EUF Vice President for European and International Affairs, described the "Hope & Despair" project as representative for the university. "It crosses borders, stands for an open concept of Europe, and is based at the Interdisciplinary Center for European Studies, ICES," noted Professor Patrut. Professor Glassmann emphasized how much the university's border location has contributed to its international orientation.