Experience Germany´s Political Culture
The following interview was taken from our Second Newsletter (pdf, 2.62 MB)
The German Bundestag offers an International Parliamentary Scholarship Program for graduates from Central, Eastern or South Eastern Europe, France, Israel, North America or the Arab region and lasts for 5 months. Eight years ago, a special IPS Program for young graduates from the Arab region was introduced. This scholarship is a compact version of the original IPS Program and lasts four weeks. Participants get the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of the German parliamentary system and political decision-making processes.
One of our own Abdallah Nemer took part in the International Parliamentary Scholarship (IPS) Program for the Arab States of the German Bundestag in September 2018. Abdallah has been working with the DAAD since June 2017. For those who have tried to reach our office, you probably talked to Abdallah on the phone or received an email from him.
Why did you apply for the IPS Program?
I was always interested in the political system and democracy in Germany. I heard about the IPS Program through my work at the DAAD Office in Beirut and it struck my interest. At the same time, I met a couple IPS Alumni, who were very enthusiastic about the program. I applied and was accepted.
Can you tell us a bit more about your experience with the IPS Program?
I was really surprised about the structure of the Bundestag and the division between the different parties. I really liked the democratic style the Bundestag maintains: It is part of a democracy to accept also opinions of others that you disagree with. Seeing this in practice during parliamentary debates was a great experience. One of the ideas that stayed with me from my time at the Bundestag is that democracy is not rigid. It is constantly reformulated and contested and it is vital to engage to keep democracy evolving for the better. Furthermore, something that impressed me personally is the stressing of Article 1 of the German Grundgesetz: “Die Würde des Menschen ist unantastbar. Sie zu achten und zu schützen ist Verpflichtung aller staatlichen Gewalt” – “Human dignity shall be inviolable. To respect and protect it shall be the duty of all state authority”. Particularly in Lebanon, where debates often follow sectarian lines, I was amazed to see the strong conviction among Members of Parliament to act upon this principle and their belief that this applies to all humans, not just German citizens or members of one religious community. Furthermore, I really enjoyed the diversity of the Program that was organized for the scholarship holders, we visited several museums, talked to the German political foundations and learned about the history of the German Bundestag. Each one of us worked for one member of parliament for a week.
*All views expressed are Abdallah Nemer´s own*
For more information on the IPS Program visit the website of the German Bundestag
You can also find another interview with Abdallah Nemer on his experiences at the German Bundestag here (in German)