In conversation with Gundula Büker

Gundula Büker accompanied the delegation trip to Burundi as a civil society representative./ Gundula Büker accompagné the voyage of the delegation to Burundi and also represents the civil society. (Photo: Pascal HABONIMANA/ Fondation Stamm)

En français ci-dessous.

In an interview with Gundula Büker, we talked about the first delegation trip to Burundi since 2014. As a representative of civil society in the areas of education and youth, she accompanied the delegation of State Secretary Rudi Hoogvliet.

SEZ: What role did you play in the delegation trip to Burundi in June 2023?

Gundula Büker: I am a board member of the Baden-Württemberg development policy umbrella organization (DEAB e.V.), represents the DEAB member organizations Steering for development cooperation (REZ) and work as a one-world specialist promoter for global learning at EPiZ Reutlingen. So I was part of the delegation trip as a civil society representative with the focus on education and youth.

SEZ: What inspiration do you take home from Burundi?

Gundula Büker: Burundi is an impressive, beautiful country with an incredible number of committed initiatives and people. The country has a difficult past, which still has a diverse impact on people's lives today. I was impressed by the resilience, motivation and energy with which people develop visions and ideas and work to ensure that the predominantly young Burundians have a good, peaceful future. I will take this commitment home with me as an example.

But I also noticed that in many places the German image of the partner country Burundi focuses more on flaws and problems and contradicts the image of how Burundians see their country and that they want to paint. The fact that our perspective is still so dominant shows how the partnership is shaped by colonial continuities. As participants on the trip to Baden-Württemberg, we have to take this with us and make ourselves aware of it so that the partnership enables real dialogue and successful cooperation.

The fact that an SEZ liaison office was opened in Bujumbura during the delegation trip is a huge opportunity to find good ways to support the local commitment in solidarity and to maintain good relationships and a cooperative dialogue with actors in Burundi. Especially in the areas of education and youth, I think that successful cooperation can only succeed if the SEZ colleagues continue to pursue their good work and expand and strengthen it with the new office. Because youth and education are extremely important areas in which the partnership is designed and developed.

What I definitely take with me from the trip is motivation to continue to work on educational work for all people here in Baden-Württemberg. So that we can paint a differentiated picture of our partner country and see the challenges and opportunities and use the partnership as an opportunity to find out differences and similarities, to really get to know each other and to consider how we as partners define global responsibility and our roles in it.

SEZ: Which moment of the delegation trip did you like the most?

Gundula Büker: I gained so many experiences and impressions on this short trip that were so impressive and valuable! I was particularly touched by the intercultural workshop with young Burundian artists at the beginning. They presented a performance they had created about Burundi with text, music and dance, which we then reflected on together. This led to an open exchange in which we talked primarily about the history and present of Burundi, Germany's role in it and our relationship to it. And of course I was very happy to meet Burundian initiatives and committed people. For example, at the stakeholders’ meeting in Bujumbura organized by the SEZ. During the workshop phase, I was able to exchange ideas with potential cooperation partners who are active in the field of education and in work for and with young people. Those were moments when I... the experience of real encounter and experienced a very enriching dialogue that gave me the feeling of getting to know the country and its people a little better and understanding which topics we could and should continue to work on together.

SEZ: What do you hope for the partnership between Burundi and Baden-Württemberg?

Gundula Büker: I hope that we succeed, this partnership becomes a real learning partnership to let become. For me, this means that we learn from each other by enabling a dialogue between Baden-Württembergers and Burundians and thus achieve a reflective, power-critical and discrimination-sensitive partnership. The concept of the much-vaunted “eye level” doesn’t apply to me. Rather, it should be about practicing and maintaining a conscious approach to the different conditions in both countries and looking together at what responsibility this implies for the other partner. In order for these encounters to take place, on the German side there are: Ministry of State especially the SEZ with its employees in Burundi and Baden-Württemberg, the Council for Development Cooperation (REZ), which advises the state government on the Burundi partnership and the Burundian diaspora of central importance in Baden-Württemberg.

I would also like the knowledge about the partnership and common topics to be more integrated into the educational landscapes and youth work of both regions. In Baden-Württemberg, the partnership should be included in the education plan and curricula and school partnerships and youth encounters as well as joint educational and exchange activities should be promoted - ideally, of course, for target groups beyond the areas of school and youth!

I am full of hope that with good ideas, sensitive actions and open ears and hearts, this partnership will continue to have good soil on which a lot of good things can grow!

En discussion with Gundula Büker

Dans un entretien avec Gundula Büker, nous avons parlé du premier voyage d'une délégation au Burundi published in 2014. En tant que représentante de la société civile pour les themes de l'éducation et de la youth, elle accompagné la délégation du secrétaire d 'Etat Rudi Hoogvliet.

SEZ: What role will you present during the delegation trip to Burundi in June 2023?

Gundula Büker: I am a member of the administration council of the association Baden-Württemberg Development Policy Association, DEAB e.V., I represent the organization members of DEAB from the Conseil pour la coopération au développement (Council for Development Cooperation - REZ) and I work in tant que Promotrice spécialisée for l'aprentissage global à l'EPiZ de Reutlingen. Lors de ce voyage, j'ai ainsi participé en tant que représentante de la société civile au voyage de la délégation pour les domaines de l'éducation et de la youth.

SEZ: Quelles sont les impulses que vous ramenez du Burundi?

Gundula Büker: The Burundi is a country that is impressive, magnifique, and has a beaucoup de gens engagés. Le pays porte les traces de son lourd passé, qui se répercute de variouss manières sur la current situation. J'ai été impressionnée par la résilience, la motivation et l'énergie avec lesquelles les gens développent des visions et des idées et travaillent pour que les Burundais, jeunes pour la plupart, se construct un avenir bon et pacifique.

J'ai également constaté that les continuités coloniales sont present en de nombreux endroits. The action of the conscience and the traitors, even though they are in Bade-Wurtemberg, means that the partenariat permette a véritable dialogue and a coopération réussie.

Afin de trouver de bons moyens de soutenir solidairement l'engagement sur place et de renforcer les bonnes relations et le dialogue partenarial avec les actors au Burundi, the new bureau de liaison de la SEZ à Bujumbura, ouvert pendant le voyage de la délégation, est d'une importance centrale. Because of the domains of education and youth, the coopérations fructueuses need to be reused by the collègues of the SEZ for good work and training, encouragés par le new bureau, peuvent l'étendre et le renforcer afin de bien organizer and accompagner le partenariat.

Ce que je retiens également de ce voyage, c'est le renforcement de mon engagement en faveur d'un travail de formation pour tous les habitants du Bade-Wurtemberg, qui permette de thunder une image différenciée de notre pays partenaire et de saisir l' occasion d'explorer les défis et les possibilités, les différences et les points communs des deux pays partenaires, d'aprendre à se connaître mutuellement et de poser des questions sur la responsabilité global et notre rôle dans ce contexte.

SEZ: What is the moment you travel from the delegation that you have plus apprécié?

Gundula Büker: J'ai vécu tellement d'expériences et d'impressions lors des nombreuses activités de ce court voyage, qui étaient toutes très impressionnantes et précieuses en soi. It is particulairement touchée in an intercultural studio with young Burundian artists at the début du voyage, au cours duquel ils ont présenté un spectacle qu'ils avaient élaboré avec du texte, de la musique et de la danse et ont ensuite réfléchi avec nous . Il en a résulté un espace ouvert, dans lequel il a surtout été question de l'histoire et du présent du Burundi, du rôle de l'Allemagne dans ce contexte et de notre rapport à celui-ci. En plus, j'ai été très heureuse de rencontrer des actors burundais, notamment lors de la réunion des actors organisée par la SEZ à Bujumbura. Lors d'une phase d'atelier, j'ai pu échanger avec des personnes qui s'engagent dans le domaine de l'education et dans le travail pour et avec les youngen. Ce sont des moments où j'ai eu le sentiment d'une vraie rencontre et d'un dialogue très enrichissant, qui m'a donné le sentiment de connaître un peu mieux le pays et ses habitants et de comprendre les thèmes sur lesquels nous pourrions and developers continuer à working ensemble.

SEZ: What are you saying about the partnership between Burundi and Bade-Wurtemberg?

Gundula Büker: Je souhaite que nous réussissions à faire de ce partenariat un véritable partenariat d’aprentissage. Pour moi, cela signifie rendre possible un dialogue entre les actors qui favorise une conception réfléchie, critique du pouvoir et sensitive aux discriminations du partenariat. The notion of excellence “at the height of the eyes” is so obvious, it is not pertinent to the eyes. Il devrait plutôt s'agir de pratiquer et d'entrittir une relation consciente avec les différentes des deux pays et de voir ensemble ce que cela signifie pour les responsabilités respectives des participants. You are in Germany, out of the ministère d'État, it is part of the SEZ and its collaborators in the different regions, the Council for the coopération au développementt (REZ) and the Burundian diaspora in Bade-Wurtemberg quiuent un rôle central dans l' organization de ces processus.

En plus, je souhaite que le partenariat et les thèmes qui y sont liés sums davantage partie des paysages éducatifs et des activités de jeunesse des deux régions. In Bade-Wurtemberg, this is a fair example of the initiative in the plan of formation and programs, the promotion of partenariats scolaires et des rencontres de younges ainsi que des activités communes de formation et d'échange – même pour des groupes cibles dépassant les domaines de l'école et de la youth!

Je suis pleine d'espoir qu'avec de good idées, une action sensitive et des oreilles et des cœurs ouverts, ce partenariat continuera à trouver un bon terrain sur lequel beaucoup de bonnes choses pourront pousser!

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