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Migration and Home Affairs

Integration at Eye Level – Discourse on Values by Refugees for Refugees

  • Germany
Target Audience
  • Youth/pupils/students
  • Educators/academics
  • Local community organisations/NGOs
key themes association
  • Islamist extremism
  • Training
  • 2021


The project was developed and implemented by the Brandenburg Institute for Society and Security (BIGS), a non-profit research institute associated with Potsdam University.

The European Foundation for Democracy (EFD), Brussels, Belgium, was a cooperation partner, and the project was essentially supported by pedagogical experts from Hiwarat e.V. (“Dialogue” in Arabic) and the Syrian Feminist Lobby e.V.

Type of Organisation: NGO

Project description

In the context of the influx of refugees from the Middle East to Germany in 2015 and 2016 and against the background of Islamist terror attacks across the EU, a number of projects were developed and implemented by civil society organisations (CSOs) with the support of government funding.

Due to corresponding reports from refugee shelters, the below project was designed to build resilience against existing recruiting efforts of Islamist organisations in Germany. The role of culture and values is often underestimated in their importance for a successful integration, which refers here to being a supporter of the key tenants of Germany’s liberal democracy and becoming an empowered member of society.

The project ‘Integration auf Augenhöhe’ (Integration at eye level) was co-created with former refugees and migrants who joined the team as trainers and was aimed at addressing the following questions: How can refugees find their place in German society? Where and how can they openly discuss the various challenges they face? How can the risk be reduced that frustrated/traumatised newcomers become susceptible to existing recruiting efforts of Islamist organisations in Germany (primary/secondary prevention)?

During the course of the project, an innovative dialogue space (safe space) was created in which intercultural coexistence based on values could be addressed comprehensively and practically. Already-integrated refugees, who wanted to play an active role in helping others to integrate, were trained in 4-month courses to become cultural mediators who promote liberal democracy and thereby help to prevent radicalisation in different newcomer communities.

Project summary (in English)


Final project report (in German) includes key components like training modules.

Contact details


Brandenburg Institute for Society and Security (BIGS),
Dianastr. 46, 14482
Potsdam, Germany

Contact person: Alexander Ritzmann
alexander [dot] ritzmannatgmail [dot] com (Email) | Website

Read the full practice

4 JULY 2022
Integration at Eye Level – Discourse on Values by Refugees for Refugees