At the beginning of July a seminar has been held in a Centre providing superior academic programme to foreign students. This seminar has enabled students from the United States to become familiar with the vast topic of global challenges (i.e. climate change and sustainable development) but also the great transformation.
By showing some short videos, that have been done mostly by former students from KMGNE, the issue of climate change could be addressed and at the same time it was possible to establish a dialogue with the students. Indeed it is easier to make people understand and react with short stories. It was really interesting to see their reactions, some of them were already expected but some others were really surprising. According to the students, some videos wouldn’t have been suitable for the American audience because it was judged as too sensitive for example, or wouldn’t have worked if the people were not already familiar with the topic. Videos which were dealing with the topic of climate change in a positive or humorous way generally won unanimous support. They were judged as more effective. Once again it made me realize how communication is a powerful and really useful tool to spread a short message about a specific topic. The only thing is that you need to find the right way to do it to touch the audience.
It was also really astonishing to hear that a big part of the population still doesn’t believe that human activities have a (negative) impact on climate change. That’s how you realise that communication is something really important. They also discuss about the differences between German and American in terms of culture, habits, etc. Even if both societies are educated in a western style, it appears that they are both quite different. For instance, one of the student calls the American culture to mind. It is said to highlight the individual freedom more than other countries meaning that decisions, choices, goals, etc. are considered as an individual’s responsibility rather than as a group. In that way, as they might have different ideas it can be more difficult to gather people around the same topic because they are expected to follow and take into account their own decisions and goals.
We also talked about technology innovation, the role that it plays in society and how it has changed society for the last decades.
In the end, this discussion with the students was offering a wealth of information for both parts which reinforces the idea that interdisciplinarity as well as transdisciplinarity are more and more needed if we want to bring some changes in society.