What is the linking point between the migration in the city of El Paso in the US-American Southwest, the first democratic government in South Africa, and the recent challenges with the European Union spreading eastwards? At first sight one may think these regions are enormously distant from each other being situated in very different “corners” of the world. The second sight brings enlightenment: All the regions have to cope with a tremendous structural change. Students and lecturers of all these three regions came together in July 2007 with the first American-African-European Summer School in the Saxon town of Chemnitz, Germany.
The American group of nine people was representing the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). The six members from South Africa were representing the University of Kwazulu-Natal in Durban (UKZN). The group of students was completed by seven Germans representing the Chemnitz University of Technology (CUT).
All the activities that were executed in the Summer School, the lectures, the seminars and most of all the business game about reorganizing a globally acting organization have been great opportunities for all participants to train and to experience their own intercultural communication as well as to gain intercultural competence. The business game was extraordinary dynamic and exciting due to the different international influences involved in the game.
Field trips to the Volkswagen Engineworks plant in Chemnitz, the Industy Museum of Saxony, the Inner-German Museum in Mödlareuth, as well as to the cities of Dresden, including a visit of the Saxon parliament, or trips to Berlin or Leipzig gave the guests from abroad the opportunity to dive into Saxon or German culture and especially history. But not only official parts were important. Private activities together with Chemnitz students, such as eating out, going to dance parties, or making trips together were a big part of the whole event, as well.
For about one year the scientific members of the department of Innovation Research and Sustainable Resource Management prepared and organized the whole Summer School. Thanks to them! It is planned to have future Summer Schools in revolving places: El Paso, Durban, Chemnitz. The very next American-African-European Summer School is planned for September 2008 in El Paso, Texas.