School partnerships for peace?

In the last few months, two new, interesting publications have appeared on the subject of school partnerships. Luise Steinwachs from Berlin Postkolonial analyzes in the study “Personal Encounters in School Partnerships” which influence South-North student exchanges have on the identity development of students in Germany. In doing so, it comes to the following conclusions, among others:

1. personal encounters in the context of school partnerships can reinforce prejudices and stereotypes.
2. in a large part of the school partnerships that participated in the survey, the developmental embedding of the partnership is not sufficient to see through global contexts. Therefore, simplified explanatory patterns are resorted to.
3. the period of personal encounters of about three weeks is not sufficient to actually dare to take steps in uncertainty and incomprehension. The explanatory patterns of the young people serve primarily to reassure themselves and little irritation is allowed.

Another bilingual German-Spanish publication of KATE contains interviews with different actors of school partnerships. The brochure stands out positively due to a large number of power-critical questions. Rather than sticking to the classic tone of intercultural communication, Claudia Schilling of the ENSA program, for example, addresses issues such as privilege, unequal partnerships, and the question of defining power. In a world of school partnerships, which is often more of a world of school sponsorships, where helping and development are two common motives, this is a new language. However, it should be noted here that, especially in the ENSA program, these new perspectives have been or are accompanied by protracted discussions, exclusions, and reproductions of racism.