With the year 2024, the current funding period from our sponsor Demokratie Leben! comes to an end. But of course, things will continue afterwards – and what that will look like was presented at a program conference with high-profile speakers and around 1000 participants at the Congress Hall at Alexanderplatz.

What's special: As an artistic act, we also had a performance in front of the packed dome hall, between a speech on democracy by Federal Minister Lisa Paus and the announcement of the new funding program. Iryna Omelyanchuk, Rojin Namer, Shahzamir Hataki, and Bahadȋn Akhan read texts about home, escape, life, and writing in Germany. The German versions of Iryna's and Bahadȋn's texts were recited by Olaf Heuser, who produces the foreign podcast of Spiegel. The night before, Shahzamir had practiced for a long time to be able to recite his moving poem "I will always be the Kanake" in German himself: "If I learned your language, you said 'Kanake'. / If I went to school, went to university, you said 'Kanake'. / 'Don't rejoice too soon, this is our school.' / [...] If I grow up here, / fight for this country / and die for this country, / I still remain the Kanake."

We would like to thank the BMFSFJ for the invitation and Shelly Kupferberg for the moderation. Thomas Heppener, head of the Democracy Promotion department, had a special surprise for us: After the reading, he presented us with a signed anthology by the exiled author Anna Seghers. Many thanks for that!