Education Minister Grant Hendrik Tonne today, Wednesday (December 8th, 2021) honored six schools and school projects with the Lower Saxony Student Peace Prize, the Civil Courage Prize and a special prize for the state’s birthday.
With the Student Peace Prize and the Civil Courage Prize, the state honors school projects that promote peaceful coexistence between people of different origins, languages, cultures and religions, international understanding, intercultural dialogue, the prevention of violence, coming to terms with the reign of terror as well as the dismantling of prejudices and action serve for moral courage. The event-related special price 2020/2021 dealt – in keeping with the state anniversary – with the topic “We in Lower Saxony. 75 years of Lower Saxony “.
“The increasing polarization of society, misanthropic attitudes that reach far into the middle of society, the increase in hatred or man-made climate change and its already dramatic consequences, pose great challenges for us as a society and require our decisive action,” he says Minister of Education Tonne presented today’s award and emphasized: “We need answers and reactions to these challenges and that is exactly why I am so happy about the projects that have been awarded today by students who are doing just that in an exemplary manner. They send a very clear signal against exclusion, hatred and discrimination and are committed to good and solidarity with one another in schools and beyond. “
Since 1993, the Ministry of Culture has regularly invited all schools in the state to apply for the Student Peace Prize. All school types and grades, the entire school, individual grades or classes, working groups, learning groups of all kinds and also individual students can take part. All forms of representation are welcome, ie texts, films, plays or music, works of art, posters or digital products can be submitted.
The 1st prize in the Student Peace Prize (1,500 €) goes to the Osterholz-Scharmbeck vocational schools for their project “A memorial for the Muna”. As early as 2015, pupils from BBS Osterholz-Scharmbeck developed a place of remembrance after visiting the air ammunition facility (Muna) Lübberstedt. In doing so, they remember “in an exemplary manner the slave laborers who had to work and live in Lübberstedt under inhumane conditions,” said Tonne. The jury was particularly impressed by the fact that the place of remembrance, as a reminder for the future, is not only a fixed part of school life (e.g. for scenic readings), but that it encourages the discussion of history and the commemoration of the dark times of the Forced labor keeps awake.
With the 2nd prize in the Student Peace Prize (€ 1,250) the Ulrichsgymnasium in Norden is awarded. With its project “You are not alone”, the school deals with the question of how a school can live diversity and send a decisive signal against racism and exclusion. Over time, the committed students have developed various projects and formats for a “school without racism – school with courage” – including a song they have composed themselves. In their assessment, the jury was impressed by the diversity of the project, which had succeeded in activating the school community against racism, exclusion and discrimination as well as for good cooperation.
The 3rd prize in the student peace prize The Carl-Friedrich-Gauß-Schule Hemmingen (KGS) will receive (€ 1,000) for their project “Celebrate Diversity – Identity Constructions”. Under this title, a group of students, together with students from their long-standing Polish partner grammar school in Wrocław, dealt with the question of participation and exclusion of Europe’s largest ethnic minority, the Sinti and Roma. Discussions on this topic resulted in a documentary, among other things. The jury was particularly impressed by how intensively the students dealt with the important issue of dealing with the Sinti and Roma minority, with the forms and modes of action of discrimination and exclusion.
With a week of action, the Bad Zwischenahn-Edewecht high school has decided for this year’s Civil courage price qualified. Shocked by the racist attack on February 19, 2020 in Hanau, a group of ten pupils from grades 12 and 13 formed in February 2020, who carried out a schoolyard campaign against racism the following autumn to send a clear signal against hatred, To put exclusion and racism. The school made it clear, “We at our school stand together and personally against racism – ducking away in the face of racism is and must not be a solution for us,” said Tonne during the award ceremony.
This year’s Special award “We in Lower Saxony. 75 years of Lower Saxony “ goes to the Alexanderschule Wallenhorst. According to the jury, with their project “From unicycle to tandem”, the secondary school succeeded not only in looking at its own history, the Holocaust and the Nazi regime, but also in dealing with racism and exclusion continuously and over a long period of time to be integrated into school life and thus to make an important contribution to the culture of remembrance and against forgetting. The outcome in the school year 2008/2009 was the establishment of the working group “School without Racism – School with Courage” – as well as discussions with the then student Geronimo Franz. As a young Sinto, he was one of the first to tell his personal story – namely that of exclusion and persecution his grandfather’s during the Nazi era – was the subject of the class. Since then, the school has been working in tandem with the Sinti cultural association “Maro Dromm Sui Generis” on the subject of group-related misanthropy.
In addition to a certificate and a cash prize from the Ministry of Culture, the award-winning schools also receive material prizes from the Westermann publishing group, which has supported the Student Peace Prize since it was first awarded. The members of the expert jury this year were: Dr. Gabriele Andretta (President of the Lower Saxony State Parliament), Prof. Dr. Dirk Lange (Director of the Institute for Didactics of Democracy Leibnitz University of Hanover), Dr. Elke Gryglewski (Head of the Lower Saxony Memorials Foundation), Ulrika Engler (Director of the Lower Saxony State Center for Political Education), Inga Niehaus (Head of Department for Political Education / Europe and International Affairs at the NLQ) and Kara-Arietta Lissy (teacher at the Werner-von-Siemens- Bad Harzburg high school).
40 applications were received for the 2020/2021 award round.