Originally published in a final reflections report on my experience as an Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung German Chancellor Fellow

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It was the second day of a week-long training seminar for European youth workers that I attended in the historic town of Weimar just a couple months into my BUKA year. I had opted into the training without a specific idea of what to expect after my project host mentioned it might be a nice opportunity to visit one of my host’s member organizations, a youth Bildungsstätte, and get to know a European youth work competence model, which was the focus of…


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Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

As I write this, Biden has clinched 279 electoral college votes compared to Trump’s 214. Trump and his allies refuse to concede the election, and we look forward to two runoff elections for Senate in Georgia that will decide the Senate majority.

But what I’m most worried about isn’t what happens in the next weeks or months to come, because what this election has reconfirmed, is that our society is fundamentally infected by the disease of partisanship and polarization.

The electoral maps that I’ve pored over in recent days, make this aboundingly clear. The country is divided into swaths of…


My Year of Self-Directed Learning

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Photo by Nikita Kachanovsky on Unsplash

Looking around the room, I could tell there were others who felt just as uncomfortable with the assignment just-described to us by the training facilitator as I did.

It went something along the lines of:

“You have two days to decide with the group of people you just met what you want to achieve (if you even want an outcome), what method you want to use, when to work, where to work, and what questions/topics you want to focus on.”

My brain responded something along the lines of:

“Uh, what?”

To be fair, I was…


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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

President Trump announced his plan last week for a “patriotic education” commission that would create a “pro-America curriculum” to combat the “twisted lies” and “child abuse” being taught in schools.

His plan comes in response to calls to better acknowledge the U.S.’ complex history of slavery and a system built on hundreds of years of systemic racism.

The name of the commission itself — the 1776 Commission — is a not-so-subtle reference to the New York Time’s Magazine 1619 Project that aims to “reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at…


How breaking out of our daily spaces helps us learn

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The main hall of the Agape Ecumenical Centre in Prali, Italy

Somehow as rejuvenating and rewarding as taking a long weekend can be, it also means I typically spend the shortened preceding week in a hurried rush to meet goals and deadlines so that I can truly disconnect when the time comes.

This was the case on a recent summer weekend as I sat extra-concentrated at my computer trying to type out some last minute emails before heading out for a long-weekend of camping. …


Opinion piece originally appeared in The Fulcrum, April 24, 2020

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Photo by Katja Greeson

There is consensus across party lines that our current civic education systems need improvement so that all Americans can develop the civic knowledge, skills and attitudes to participate effectively in democratic life.

In a report last month, the National Commission for Military, National, and Public Service emphasized civic education and service learning as a way to increase citizen participation, suggesting the federal government invest $450 million a year on such efforts. …


In the context of my German Chancellor Fellowship project on nonformal youth civic education in Germany and at the European level, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in 18 one-time online webinars and workshops and five multi-day events to include training courses, conferences, virtual exchange experiences and a BarCamp. Below, I offer my general reflections and 23 suggestions for developing online learning events based on my recent experiences and input from fellow participants.

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Group photo from the E+ Training Course, “Connect & Engage: Boosting the political participation of young migrants in Europe at local and regional level”, 26–30 May 2020

Although 99% of youth in Europe have used the internet, data shows that prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, only 25% of young people had used educational platforms…


Civics-related content that made me pause, grumble, think, or smile

May 7, 2020

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Photo by visuals on Unsplash

Pick #1 — Gen Z was fed up with the status quo. Coronavirus could affirm their beliefs.

I’m always fascinated by generational dynamics and how life course and historic events shape the characteristics of entire blocks of the population. This article discusses how Coronavirus will further emphasize the predominantly left-leaning political beliefs of the youngest generation of adults and rising adults, Gen Z.

Remarkably, despite heavier participation and outspoken activism than youth in generations before, the article points out that the predominant narrative on young people in the U.S. …


Civics-related content that made me pause, grumble, think, or smile

March 26, 2020

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Photo by Callum Shaw on Unsplash

Pick #1 — Hidden Brain’s The Rise of ‘Political Hobbyism’ in the United States

I listened to this NPR Hidden Brain interview with Eitan Hersh several weeks ago, but I’ve annoyingly brought it up in conversation multiple times now. We have an endless supply of breaking news to follow and many people are more informed and more vocal than ever, particularly via social media. But to label these political junkies as political is misleading, because it implies that they are taking action in some way. True politics is all about gaining power, but, instead, political hobbyists treat politics as basketball fans…


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Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

As a very-late 20s individual who has had a cell phone since I was 13 and access to a computer since before I can remember, I am embarrassed to admit that last week, on my first meeting of a new online course, I couldn’t figure out why my webcam wasn’t working…only to find out after 10 minutes it was because I had a sticker covering the camera.

Somehow the orange, fuzzy glow where my face should have been didn’t tip me off as I assumed it MUST have been my terrible WiFi connection.

As I, embarrassedly, peeled off the sticker…

Katja Greeson

Transatlanticist | Youth civic education & engagement | German Chancellor Fellow 2019/20

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