The 2017 Shimon-Peres-Prize was awarded to two German-Israeli cooperation projects that achieved sustainable results benefiting both societies in two very different fields with relevance for the future:

Microfy, Israel & Migration Hub, Germany

The Berlin-based NGO Migration Hub and the Israeli organization Microfy facilitated this expert exchange, which enabled stakeholders from 19 different institutions for refugees and asylum seekers to share experiences and develop concepts for social entrepreneurial solutions. During two trips to Berlin and Tel Aviv the participants were introduced to a number of initiatives that work for migrants in the two cities, with the aim of learning from each other and building cross-national networks. Emphasis was put on providing education and information in a manner suitable to the target group as well as on the question of successful integration into the labour market. A central part was played by the refugees themselves, whose input and qualification for self-help were primary concerns of the project.

Regarding the impact of the project, Shana Krakowski, one of the project leaders, said: “The challenges that lay before us are great and judging from current events will only grow stronger. The connections that were created by this exchange have created a human web that can work together to face these challenges.”

As a matter of fact, the project did not end with the exchange trips: New collaborations carry on what the exchange set into motion.

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Yasmeen Godder Company, Israel & Monica Gillette, Germany

The prize was awarded to two choreographers from the interdisciplinary project Disorder/Ha-fra-ah, which brought together dancers, scientists and people with Parkinson’s disease to work on the topic of movement. The project was a cooperation between the University of Freiburg, the Freiburg Theatre and the Yasmeen Godder Company, based on the idea that experiencing dance and movement together would bring fresh insights and a new awareness of life, regardless of age, field of expertise or level of knowledge. The process-based project enabled the participants to challenge methods and tools and to rethink established notions of sickness and “patients”. At the same time, research findings were incorporated into scientific papers and articles and inspired new choreographies.

“We wanted to open our artistic bubble and our sources of knowledge to other populations and realities, creating new forms of exchange and placing emphasis on well-being, creativity and joy through its communal experience,” the prize winners described the cooperation.

In addition to its interdisciplinary approach, the project distinguishes itself through its impact beyond the project period. Currently, the participants are offering dance classes for Parkinson’s patients and other interested parties in Germany and in Israel with great success, carrying on the central idea of the project.

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Jury Chooses Projects Confronting Challenges in our Societies
Both cooperation projects stand out in the manner in which they tackled current challenges. Their results had effects far beyond the projects themselves.