by Serra Morgil
A major study analysing speeches of leaders from 40 countries over two decades shows a surge in populism. This reveals how hot the issue of populism is nowadays. It was unthinkable that such a hot topic was not discussed during IstKon where bright and critical thinkers meet. In the third day of IstKon’s academic days, we discussed what populism is, what the reasons behind its resurgence are and how to tackle the alarming rise of populist movements around the world.
Panel discussion on populism
The day started with a presentation about populism by the IstKon academic team in order to prepare the participants for the panel discussion. Then, IstKon hosted very important guests in order to discuss “Populists in European Parliaments- much ado about nothing? The case of the AFD in Germany”. The panel discussion started with questions to the guests which are related to their field. Patricia Calca (University Institute if Lisboa – Legislation and Populism), Martha Dudzinski (SWANS-Initiative, Berlin – Gender and Populism), Dieter Löffler (Südkurier – Media and Populism), Gökay Sofuoglu (President of the Turkish Community in Germany – Minorities and Populism) answered these questions very neutrally and wittily. Having an overview provided by first-hand experienced people was really helpful for everybody and enabled an insight into the topic. Later, all participants had the chance to ask questions, especially the questions about the Turks living in Germany and their influence on German politics were remarkable.
Sports and fun in and around Konstanz
Later that day it was time to spend time in Konstanz´s magnificent nature, lake and city centre. Several activities were organized for IstKoners like Canoeing, a Bike Tour, Board Games, Swimming, Volleyball and Chill in the City Centre. Luckily, the weather that day was beautiful and sunny but unfortunately not enough sunny for swimming. Of course, this did not stop some of our friends to swim, or at least they tried to take a dip.
Iftar at the Mosque in Konstanz
In the evening, we met in front of the Konstanz Mosque for breaking the fast (Iftar). Of course, not all of us were fasting but this event was very precious for intercultural dialogue and building bridges between two cultures. Because religious rituals and mosques are also a part of the Turkish culture. And it was wonderful to see that the IstKon people, even though they are from different countries and religions, behaved in a very respectful manner. A very kind woman welcomed us and told us the history of the mosque as well as some basic information about Islam. All girls covered their heads with a scarf in order to show their respect and we all visited the house of prayer together. Later on, we stood in line to get our meals. Volunteers cook there every evening for those who break the fast in the mosque. During the dinner, they asked us whether we liked the meal or needed something even though they did not have to. Dinner was composed of very basic traditional Turkish meals like chickpea meal, bulgur pilaf, salad and revani dessert. Naturally, we had also plenty of time to socialise while enjoying our meals.