Eduardo Felisberto Buanaissa is a research associate at Giessen University. He is writing his doctoral thesis, which is funded by the DAAD, on education policy in Mozambique. From 2014 to 2018 he was Advisor for Politics, Economics and Development Cooperation at the German Embassy in Maputo.
"I’ve always been very interested in politics. One of my most important tasks at the German Embassy in Maputo was to keep in touch with initiatives relating to civil society. That was one of my reasons for immediately accepting the invitation to the EU Ideas Lab. I find the basic concept very important: that democrats in civil society should not react to pressure from right-wing populists with counter-pressure. The question is how to involve as many people as possible in the dialogue to advance democratic development via good arguments.
Purely digital workshops can be very exhausting. But the EU Ideas Lab was so interesting that I never felt tired over the whole two and a half days! The atmosphere was very comfortable right from the start. I even exchanged mobile phone contacts with some of the other alumni on the opening evening. Our first workshop on ‘Anti-racist work in schools under pressure’ developed into a very lively and complex discussion. So many ideas and opinions were exchanged that we didn’t want to stop when the time was up! Fortunately, the organisers were very flexible. The technicians spontaneously arranged extra time for us so that we could continue our discussion. Our subtopic dealt with the question of teachers’ and school administrators’ motivation to become more committed to combating racism. My working group and I developed the idea of explicitly making the Basic Law the base for rules of conduct in schools. This could increase the binding nature of these rules.
I also found the workshop on ‘Higher education institutions under pressure’ to be captivating. I wasn’t previously aware of the extent to which the situation at Hungarian higher education institutions has recently deteriorated. I’ve therefore read more about this topic since the event. We really need to strengthen solidarity among academics in Europe. Our idea of an academic network was rated best in the concluding discussion, so we’ll continue to work on it in the coming months. I’m really looking forward to it!"
‘We’re reclaiming our country’, is a battle cry of modern right-wing populism in Europe. What would happen if right-wing populists were to form a government? And what can democratic civil society do to oppose that? DAAD alumni from Germany, Austria and Hungary addressed these issues in an online EU Ideas Lab.