On February 5 the ten continuing students who traveled to Berlin December 6-15 as part of the Guttman Global Ambassadors (GGA) Program gave a presentation about their experiences. The College’s pilot international travel initiative was a successful collaboration with Gangway, a Berlin-based government organization that provides detached street work in at-risk neighborhoods, served as hosts to the visiting Guttman contingent. Gangway is committed to fostering anti-violence, anti-hate crime, and exit interventions with young people who are susceptible to gang conflict and ethno-nationalist and right-wing extremist violence.
The trip’s itinerary included visits to the Berlin Wall and Brandenburg Gate, Sachsenhausen concentration camp memorial and museum, the Checkpoint Charlie Museum, and the oldest neighborhood in Berlin. Additional activities featured performance experiences at Open Mic events throughout the city, urban arts workshops, a cross-cultural potluck dinner, recording cross-cultural, multi-lingual spoken word pieces in a recording studio in Kreuzberg, a cultural exchange workshop in Dahlem outside of central Berlin with a German high school, and visiting an abandoned school being used as a central locale for refugees protesting for housing rights.
Interspersed throughout the week were lectures in the field with Gangway social workers on issues such as paradigms of service for marginalized groups throughout Berlin, working with homeless populations, dealing with legalized prostitution, how the city honors the atrocities of WWII, and human rights issues for immigrants in Berlin. Guttman students collaborated with Gangway members on three group projects: fashion (tote bags, t-shirts), street graffiti art at an abandoned warehouse, and studio recordings of rap music and spoken word. “Fusion” was the theme for these projects as it related to the collaboration between the American and German groups. “Students were provided opportunities to sight-see and work together to analyze the world around them with just the right balance among education, culture, and the arts,” commented Katie Wilson.
The Ambassadors captured their travel experiences and observations through an exciting video created and produced by Guttman student Gulinoz Javadova and a slide show featuring memorable moments. During the trip, entries to a daily eJournal and photos were posted to the GGA’s ePortfolio page to enable the College community to follow the trip’s progress. The Guttman Global Ambassadors will now prepare for a visit from the Gangway group April 19-28. The cross-cultural collective will have the opportunity to pick up where they left off to share ideas, concepts, and outcomes in classes, workshops, and at an Open Mic event.