Greifswald International Students Festival 2012

FACE to FACE - Paving the Way for a Non-Violent Society

We are the students' association Greifswald International Students Festival (GrIStuF) e.V. from Greifswald, Germany. In June 2012 we will host our sixth international student's festival bringing together students from all over the world to discuss and to work on global issues. The motto of the event will be "Face to Face - paving the way for a non-violent society".

Violence is present all over the world differing in its form and its intensity. At this, its dimension ranges from psychological violence in the communication between each other up to physical violence in international conflicts. We consider a Face-to-Face dialog to be the best way to provide new impulses for a non-violent society.

About 100 to 150 students from all over the world will attend this festival and within the next weeks we will distribute the invitation letters!



You can find the official programbook of GrIStuF 2012 here (17 MB).

Sunday, June 17th, 2012 Tuesday, June 19th, 2012
First Talk Klaus Wahl "Sources of violence" Wolfgang Form "Rape as a warcrime - Historical
Second Talk  Hans Joachim Heintze "Violent human rights violations and International Law: The case study of Syria"  Bernhard Gesch "Recipe for peace"


Here you can find the descriptions of our 8 Workshops, every single one is reflecting about a different piece of the puzzle of violence:

The aim of our workshop is to reflect upon violence on the level of communication and to explain and convey the tools of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) based on the work of Marshall B. Rosenberg. Nonviolent Communication is a way to learn how to take efficiently from our inborn source of empathy. It is a language of feelings and needs, which helps us to come in an insightful contact with us and ? of course ? with others. It is also an attitude that allows us to look behind a ?no!?and find the other persons feelings and needs, instead of judging him or her as non-compliant or self-centred, which is the most important step to an insightful contact with yourself and with other persons. In this workshop we will explore the empathic elements within the communication between human beings. This empathic contact is the ground on which conflicts can be solved nonviolent. We will also identify non-empathic elements in the language and the communication, which easily lead to violence against others and against oneself. In addition to NVC we will pick decision-making by consensus as a central theme. This method complements the NVC, which is basically a process between two persons, with nonviolent communicating in groups. It also will be much space for individual expieriences with violence in communication.

Teamer: Justus, Phillip and Rike

"Explosions Kill Dozens in Damascus", "At least 80 Dead in Norway Shooting" - It's headlines like these that dominate the the media. Facing these events journalists become witnesses and chroniclers of violence. The protrayal of violence by the media is a measure of its societal acceptance and the threshold it can reach. Depending on how mass media present an event they are able to influence the perception of it by their target group and thus exert far reaching influence on both the individual and the public opinion. Therefore, the workshop will be concerned with two major aspects of the relation between media and violence. On the one hand we will take a look at how violence is covered and reflected in the media. In addition, we will also examine in which ways the media influence and shape the public discourse. To what extent do the media become actors of violence instead of just playing the role of the witness?

 Teamer:  Ole, Johannes, Katrin, Simon, Felix

A recent survey (by "Forsa", 10-14 Nov 2011) among parents in Germany shows that 4 out of 10 still use "spanking" as a disciplinary measure for children. This happens despite the fact that physical violence in education is forbidden by law since the year 2000. 

Sweden, in comparison, passed a similar law as early as 1979 and a recent survey shows that only 14% of the Swedish population has ever made use of corporal punishment in education. Nevertheless, there are countries in the EU, as for example France, who are still not willing to issue a general statement against violence in education.

 This workshop wants to give you the opportunity to get in contact with people from various parts of the world. We will try to focus entirely on the topic of violence in education: How do we define violence in education? Where does it happen? Who suffers from it? Why do people make use of violence? Furthermore, we will deal with measures of prevention and intervention.

The emphasis will be laid on violence in educational institutions because domestic violence against children is hard to cover.

We will try to find a way to work creatively, hoping to raise people's awareness for this topic.

Teamer: Jan, Franziska

The workshop "The Part of the Victim - Helping Others and Defending Yourself" aims at illuminating different types of victimisation and their multifaceted appearances: physical violence as well as psychological abuse, either concerning single persons or a whole group of victims. Based on a de-escalation training session conducted by an experienced member of the police force we will look at how and why one becomes a victim. Furthermore, we will acquire methods and skills to protect oneself and to help others. By means of short role plays participants will gain insight on the process of victimisation and on the relevance and effect of their own behaviour. Emphasis will furthermore be laid on social-psychological aspects of domestic violence and on questions of victim support: What happens after the incidence? what about psychological and legal assistance? how can the effectiveness of victim aid be secured? Our objective is to raise the participants' awareness for the subject in general, to convey the underlying mechanisms and subsequently familiarise everyone with practical and relevant means suitable for daily use against victimisation.

Teamer: Marie and Donata

Resistance is an important and up-to-date topic in many countries: to resist oppression through state repression in totalitarian dictatorships or other forms of government. But why do people resist? What is their motivation? And how do they resist? What is the starting point of resistance? Those are some of the question we would like to work on in the workshop. Different forms of resistance like active and passive, armed and non-violent resistance are considered and discussed. In the context of the festivals main topic we would like to develop alternative ways and new forms of creative non-violent protests.

Teamer: Katharina, Tonka, Hans- Henning, Jim

"No Man beats a Woman "- How to found a Shelter for battered women and their children

Male violence against women in all social classes still plays a decisive role in most cultures. The discrimination and oppression of women is still a daily reality on all continents and since 1995 it is a violation of the Human Rights and Gender Equality. Women's shelters provide refuge for women who are severely affected by violence. Sometimes they are the last haven and offer the chance for a new beginning.

This very practically oriented workshop illustrates the status and the development of women's shelters worldwide. This development includes strengthening of the shelter residents and working on political strategies against male violence in families. Secondly, it deals with the principle and objective of shelters for battered women.

With the professional support of people that work in women's shelters in Greifswald, Luebeck and other places we plan to develop a guidebook for the creation of a women's shelter under different conditions. Through this process the participants are empowered to take first steps to establishing a shelter for battered women in their own countries and thereby curb violence against women.

Teamer: Anke Kock and Franziska

Economic resource conflicts have always been the root and reason of violent conflicts. At the same time resources are used to support and finance these. The mechanisms of the exploitation of resources lie at the origin of the poverty of huge parts of the population in many countries. Can this poverty be seen as an important trigger for violence? In this workshop different conflicts around natural resources are looked at. With examples we will discuss ways out of poverty and violence. Through an experimental game the resource conflicts that oftentimes result from inequalities of distribution will be illustrated in order to identify the difficulties but also the possibilities in such conflicts. This role play can also be documented as a film to make the results of the group accessible to a larger audience during the festival but also afterwards at the participants' respective universities.

Teamer: Andi, Renée, Laura, Kirsten

Religions have influenced human life for thousands of years and for just as long religions have played a part in conflicts.

The workshop will give the opportunity to engage oneself with one's own religion as well as religious and spiritual identity. The participants are welcome, or even challenged to ask questions about their own beliefs and of course other religions.

First we want to ask and give a little insight into how our way of thinking works, how we use clichés and categorize people, but still how many facets the personality of every single person contains.

We try to engage the theme of conflict analytically. By analyzing the terms "motive", "point of view", as well as "stages of escalation" we try to understand and make use of these.

We wish to create an atmosphere where everybody can experience their own identity in a new way, where an encounter is welcome and, last but not least, religious diversity is experienced as an enrichment.

Teamer: Klara, Georg and Katharina


Here you can find all the culture events of the festival week, where you can meet all the people from the other workshops and from Greifswald!

Offical Opening

After long weeks of planning and preparing it's finally happening!  We would like to welcome you, the international students who have travelled from all over the world to Greifswald and celebrate the start of the sixth Greifswald International Students Festival. In the Official Opening the GrIStuF Team would like to introduce themselves, the city of Greifswald and the topic of this year's festival -?Face to Face?. We invited representatives from the university and othe guests to greet you and the Tango-Duo Bernd and Doreen to perform an expressive Dance to accompany and enrich the event.

The evening will continue outside in the court of the University where dinner is served for all of us while the jazz duo Klara and Hans-Henning take care of the musical entertainment and amusement. Last but not least the music of four Ukuleles, played by the swedish band Ukå4 accompany us while we have the time and space to get to know each other in a relaxed atmosphere and prepare ourselves for an exciting and eventful festival week. 

When: saturday, 16th June 2012, 5p.m., followed by dinner
Where: Assembly Hall of the University, Domstr.11

Welcome Evening

The evening will continue outside in the court of the University where dinner is served for all of us while the jazz duo Klara and Hans-Henning take care of the musical entertainment and amusement. Last but not least the music of four Ukuleles, played by the swedish band Ukå4 accompany us while we have the time and space to get to know each other in a relaxed atmosphere and prepare ourselves for an exciting and eventful festival week.

Running Dinner

Running Dinner and Running-Dinner Party

Have you ever had ONE meal in THREE different places? No? Then it's time to join one of the most funny events in Greifswald: The Running-Dinner!

How does it work?

Make up teams of two or three (maybe your hosts and you), choose a location where you want to cook, then register at and get going!

After registering you get an email saying what dish you are supposed to cook and where and with whom you are going to have the other two.

The great dinner starts on June, 19th at 6pm with a starter; main course is at 8pm desert at 10pm.

Running Dinner Party:

As every year the fun is not over when dinner is finished. Running Dinner Party is waiting for you!

Starting at 11pm Dubstep artists from Berlin get the party going and make you loose the calories put on over the last hours! After that DJ Pixie and his Balkan Beats will get you moving!

Location: the halls close to the station (behind the TV-club)

Meeting of the Continents

On the 31st of May we invite you to an event where different cultures meet and inspire each other; unique sounds and performances fill the stage and its surroundings. On this evening you as participants from all over the world get the chance to create an event, to represent your cultures as well as to get to know more about the other ones. All the songs, dances, spontaneous performances and emotions are not to be missed!

Participants willing to perform should register at the InfoPoint till the 21st of May. Performances shouldn't be longer than 10 minutes.

Fête de la Musique

The 21st of June is the longest day of the year. All over the world people take this event to turn their town into a big party with lots of music and joy for everyone. So do we in Greifswald. We are going to celebrate the Fête de la Musique with all of you and all the people of town. There will be a big stage down at the harbor. But also all around town there will be music. So take along smiling faces, a good mood und perhaps some instruments so you can join in. The Fête de la Musique will also be the big event that ends the GrISTuF 2012. Let's celebrate the great time we have been sharing!

Here you can find a little movie to get an impression!

FAQs GrIStuF 2012

Q&A concerning the application process

  1. Minimum age and status as student
    In order to attend GrIStuF 2012 you have to be at least 18 years old. In addition to this you have to be student of an approved university. Unfortunately other applications cannot be regarded.

  2. Application
    The application phase will start November the 8th, 2011. From then on, more information concerning the application process and the related database can be found under

  3. Fairness and honesty
    For sure we will not check if your data are correct and the essays are written by you. We just hope and believe that you are fair towards all the other applicants.

  4. What happens after the application?
    After the application deadline (January the 15th, 2012) every submitted essay will be evaluated by the GrIStuF staff. This may take a while, so don't worry if you do not get an immediate answer. You will be contacted as soon as we have checked all applications. If you have been chosen to participate in GrIStuF 2012, you will receive an official invitation. Thereafter you should plan your journey and apply for visa (if necessary). Please contact us, if you are not able to come, in order to give other people the chance to take part in GrIStuF 2012.

Q&A concerning the participation

  1. What about university obligations?
    You will get a written invitation, which can be used to confirm that you are officially invited to GrIStuF 2012. We hope this document will help you in order to get exempted from your university obligations.

  2. Visa processing
    'Do I really need visa?' is the first question you have to answer. If you are citizen of the European Union (EU) you will not need one. The same applies for people who already have a visa for the Schengen area. Also some non-EU countries allow a visa-free access to Germany. A detailed visa list of all countries is given at the website of the Federal Foreign Office.

    We are trying to do our best to assist you in getting your visa (only if you need one). In that we cooperate with the Federal Foreign Office of Germany and the embassies in your countries. We will send a list of all invited participants to the respective embassy. If you are invited you will get a letter from us with the official invitation and further documents. We have to send it via post mail, because it has to be original. Please check which documents and papers you need to apply for the visa - you will find the necessary information on the German Embassy's website of your country. We will provide you with
    • a copy of a board member's id-card (the person who's signing your invitation)
    • the official invitation letter (including letter of commitment)
    • a copy of a board member's id-card (the person who's signing your invitation)
    • verification of third party health and accident insurance
    • proof of GrIStuF e. V. being a registered non-profit association
    • letter of the patron of the festival.

  3. What do I have to pay for (participation, accommodation, food, travel, visa, solidary donation)?
    Participation: The participation in GrIStuF 2012 is free of charge for you. There will be also no entrance fees for activities and parties organised by our team. At this point we would like to thank our financial supporters.
    Accommodation: During the festival time you will live for free with a student or a family in Greifswald. You will meet your host during the check-in procedure. This proven concept will enable the direct contact between the international participants and the local inhabitants.
    Food: Basic food like breakfast, lunch and dinner will be organised for you for free. For any other food or drink, however, you will need your own money.
    Insurance: We will provide all participants with free health-, accident- and third party-insurance as well as legal protection.
    Travel: You will have to pay for your tickets to and from Greifswald, which may include plane, train, bus or ferry. Try to find someone, like a local sponsor in your country who may give you a financial support.
    Visa: Unfortunately the visa for the participants of GrIStuF 2012 is not free of charge in general. In some cases the visa fees will be reduced or even remitted completely. These exceptions can be found here. Our advice: When you are applying for the visa take your official invitation letter with you and ask the embassy, if they can make an exception in your case, because you are a student and you are visiting an international student conference (a cultural and educational event of a non-profit organization).
    Solidary donation: We would like to enable some financially weak students to attend GrIStuF 2014 by travel grants. For this reason we are asking you kindly to support us by a solidary donation (only in the case you are able to give). Unfortunately, we are testing this concept for the first time. Hence, we are not able to support the participants of GrIStuF 2012.

  4. How much money should I take with me and how do I get Euros?
    In particular, this depends on what you want to buy. Participation, accommodation, basic meals and festival events are free of charge for you, but you might want to buy souvenirs, additional food and drinks or anything else during your stay. At this point we would like to mention that the level of prices is (quite) high in Germany. To give you an idea: A plain roll is about 0.30 Euros, a coffee to go is about 0.50 - 1.50 Euros, 100 gram of (my favourite) chocolates are about 0.80 Euros and a half-litre of beer in a students bar is about 1.50 - 2.50 Euros.
    In order to get Euros, you can exchange your money in any bank in Greifswald. However, due to the schedule of the festival events, you probably won't have much time to do this. We would also like to warn you that some banks do not accept the currencies of some countries. The US dollar is probably the most advisable and convenient foreign currency to carry and to exchange if you do not carry any Euros. You have to keep in mind, that banks will charge you for this exchange (so you'd better exchange all the foreign currency you think you'll need for your stay in just one transaction, or better yet, get together with some other participants, pool your money together and exchange it in just one transaction, to save on the bank's commission). We should also warn you that exchange centres such as the ones you find in airports and train stations charge a higher commission than regular banks do.
    You might avoid all these commissions, if you use your bank card or your credit card to withdraw money. Master Card and Visa are widely accepted in Germany to withdraw money directly from the automatic teller machines (ATM) 24 hours a day (if you withdraw money in Germany, the ATM gives it to you in Euros no matter what currency the account is in).

  5. What to pack for the GrIStuF 2012?
    In June the Greifswald weather can range between warm-sunny (swimming) weather and sometimes cold-rainy. You should keep this in mind while packing your clothes. The best would be to check the weather forecast a few days in advance to your journey in order to get a rough orientation.
    passport (do you need visa?)
    your tickets
    money for your personal expenses
    medication you might need

    sleeping bag
    special food and drinks from your country, especially if you plan to take part in the Running Dinner (please have a look on the website of the custom office for food import restrictions)
    national items like a traditional costume or a musical instrument for the event 'meeting of the continents' (see below)

  6. Why bring national items like a traditional costume or a musical instrument?
    We will celebrate cultural diversity by an event called 'meeting of the continents'. There we would like you to represent your home country by performing a traditional dance, singing a song or any other thing you'd like to show within 5 to 10 minutes.

  7. How do I get to Greifswald?
    We expect your arrival in Greifswald on Friday, June 15th or Saturday, June 16th. If you will arrive exceptionally earlier, please contact us a few days in advance so that we are able to make some arrangements for you. On Saturday, June 16th, at about 5 o'clock p.m. the program will start.
    As Greifswald is located at the coast of the Baltic sea in the north east of Germany, the nearest international airports are in Rostock, Berlin and Hamburg. Berlin and Rostock would be the best options, since the train connections to Greifswald are better than from other German airports. The nearest ferry port is in Rostock.
    Wherever you arrive in Germany, the train is the best option in order to get to Greifswald. Therefore you always have to look for the next train station of German Railways ('Deutsche Bahn'; DB). You can buy a ticket at the DB office ('Reisecenter') or at the related ticket automats. For more information you can also visit the website of DB here. Please do not hesitate to ask the staff at the information centres of the airport and/or of the train station, if you need more information.
    You will be picked up directly from the central train station of Greifswald and you will be accompanied to the check-in at the info point. Please make sure, that you get off at the train station that is simply called 'Greifswald' and not at the station called 'Greifswald Sued'!
    If you have got any questions or problems, you will always reach us via phone (the phone number will be published later) during the whole festival time!

  8. Is it possible to get in contact with other participants in advance?
    If you have got a facebook account, you can join the 'GrIStuF 2012 participants' group and look for other participants. Hopefully there will be also a forum on the GrIStuF website.

  9. Contact to the GrIStuF team
    If you have got any further question, please do not hesitate to write an e-mail to the following address: help_me[at]! During the whole festival time the info point will be opened 24 hours a day (the phone number will be published later).

Review: MoritzTV on GrIStuF 2012


Klick here to download and print the full-sized, high-resolution poster of the GrIStuF 2012. Print it and spread the word!

You can find the programbook here.

Hosts Wanted!

You are interested in hosting one or more participants of GrIStuF 2014? For direct registration as host in our database, please follow this link.

Thank You!

At this point the participants and the GrIStuF e.V. would like to thank the sponsors of the international students festival 2012:

Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung
Norddeutsche Stiftung für Umwelt und Entwicklung
Stiftung Nord-Süd-Brücken
Studierendenschaft der Universität Greifswald
Studentenwerk Greifswald
Kulturamt der Universitäts- und Hansestadt Greifswald
Stiftung der Sparkasse Vorpommern für Wissenschaft, Kultur, Sport und Gesellschaft