Instead of a ceremony at Berlin’s City Hall, the winners were honoured at a digital ceremony that was broadcast on the website of the German-Israeli Future Forum Foundation on 8 September.
In his video message to the winners and the viewers of the live stream, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas emphasised the importance of encounters and dialogue for the German-Israeli friendship:
The prizewinners are realising the dream of friendship between our countries. This friendship depends on encounters. This is why my colleague Gabi Ashkenasi and I agreed during my last visit to Israel in June to strengthen the German-Israeli youth exchange – and therefore also to support the development of a joint youth office.
Promoting the inclusion of minorities
Since 2018, the project Inclusion in German and Israeli Societies – challenges in social and youth has brought together around 140 young people for a dialogue on the issue of inclusion, for example of people with disabilities or those of different religions, as well as those who have experienced displacement or have different sexual orientations. This helped them to get to know not only the other country, but also their own country better. In 2021, the University of Bremen, Sapir College Sderot and the Bildungsstätte Brebeck education centre in Lower Saxony, which are implementing the project, plan to focus on the manifestations of poverty and the exclusion caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Exchange about environmental protection
The second project to be awarded, Environmental Educational Partnership between Israel and Germany, is being implemented by the environmental protection organisations Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel in cooperation with the German Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) as well as its own youth organisation Naturschutzjugend (NAJU). Since 2011, around 300 Germans and Israelis have been invited to attend ten-day exchange visits to both countries. On these visits, they learn about best practices, projects and new approaches to nature conservation. The key message of the project is that nature conservation is an international priority. The international exchange of best practices and ideas strengthens local and regional conservation and environmental protection projects.