Visual: © KIgA e.V.

ENCATE 2022: Safe Spaces Difficult Conversations

The past year was filled with many memorable moments for ENCATE, but one stands out above the rest: A piece of feedback from our Current Forms of Antisemitism certificate course.

Everyone says they want to create a safe space, but you went ahead and created it.

That comment touched us deeply because that is precisely what we strive towards.  ENCATE provides a platform for educators, activists, and policymakers to engage in an open and fruitful conversation about countering antisemitism. However, to achieve a learning environment, we firmly believe that difficult conversations about controversial topics should be conducted in good faith and with respect.

Due to polarized debates, it is not always easy to hold critical discussions with various perspectives nowadays. Nonetheless, ENCATE engaged in open-spirited conversations last year, such as at the first EU Civil Society Forum for Combating Antisemitism in Brussels. ENCATE Co-Iniatitor Emrah Gürsel, also one of the Co-Directors at KIgA, took part in a panel discussion titled “Fighting Antisemitism as Part of the Fight Against all Forms of Racism and Discrimination.” 

Just as in Brussels, the topic of intersectionality across different struggles continues to occupy our attention. During the past year, we spent a lot of time learning about intersectionality and applying it to our work. Some examples include organizing a Warsaw coalition-building workshop with ODIHR in May and a Budapest network meeting in November focused on intersectionality. In Budapest, we discussed intersections of antisemitism with anti-Roma racism and queerphobia.

In addition, we are currently drafting guidelines to support us in adopting an intersectional approach to our work.  In 2022, our network continued to grow. We are pleased to welcome the Never Again Association from Poland, devoted to ending discrimination in all its forms, and the Jewish Museum of Greece, with its educational programs and exhibitions.

Our Lunch Talks last year were to the point, accessible and informative. We had some fascinating talks: a self-guided tour app and screenings of excellent animated films; we shared valuable educational materials and discussed hate speech in different contexts. Finally, we concluded the year with a film about migration and exile, produced by CDEC Foundation, also an ENCATE member. A Tea in Samarkand is a touchingly beautiful conversation about the different facets of migration; longing, being torn between homes, carrying pieces of a different world, and fitting in.    

Throughout 2023, we will continue to foster honest and productive exchanges, to stay critical yet open, forge new connections and strengthen existing ones. Our thirst for learning and growing with and from one another is never quenched, and we are developing new and creative ideas to match.

Avital Lutzky
Education Expert at KIgA e.V.

In 2022, ENCATE activities were primarily supported by the German Foreign Office.