BWS goes digital: virtual Summer Festival of the Baden-Württemberg-STIPENDIUM.
Since our guests couldn’t visit the Summer Festival this year, the Summer Festival virtually visited them! About 250 scholarship holders, alumni and university administrators of the worldwide network of the Baden-Württemberg-STIPENDIUM celebrated with us the first virtual Summer Festival together on their desks, in their living rooms and on their balconies around the world on June 26, 2020.
The managing director of the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung, Christoph Dahl, opened the festival together with host Kimsy von Reischach who guided through the programme. Unlike the past Summer Festivals, the guests didn’t sit together open-air. The sun was shining nevertheless – at least in Stuttgart, where Kimsy and Mr. Dahl greeted the guests from the premises of the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung. Thanks to the cocktail recipes that were made available in advance, the guests were able to cool themselves down and create a real Summer Festival atmosphere from wherever they were watching.
While the day has just started for some of them, others stayed up longer than usual in order to take part in the Summer Festival. The guests participated from all over the world – South Africa, USA, Mexico, China, UK, Russia – the list goes on. Whoever couldn’t make it to the Summer Festival had the chance to send a personal video greeting beforehand which was shown in the beginning of the event.
Dr. Andreas Weber, Head of the Education Department, mentioned the massive impact of the corona pandemic on our everyday lives as well as the international exchange within the Baden-Württemberg-STIPENDIUM. He reassured that the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung will be standing with the scholarship holder in these difficult times. Virtual and digital event format will continue to be very relevant as long as personal exchange is not possible – with a view towards the future he is also looking forward to the times in which the Summer Festival and Annual Meeting can be celebrated together on-site again.
Alina Braun, who works as a host at SWR, started the programme with a keynote on fake news and conspiracy theories in times of Corona. In her job, she needs to distinguish and know the difference between right and wrong every day and she shared some helpful hints with the participants on how to deal with Fake News.
Afterwards, the guests were allocated to different virtual workshop rooms. They could choose from a wide range of workshops – there was something for everybody: The Upcycling and the Drawing Workshop allowed participants to become creative, whereas the Percussion Workshop rather challenged the sense of tact. The dance or body workout workshops were perfect for those who wanted to do sports and the travel workshop offered a great platform to exchange experiences and talk about traveling. It was also possible to learn the basics of any new language, discuss the role of digital media in our everyday lives and talk about climate change and sustainability projects at universities. The networking part has not suffered either and there was lively exchange in the lounge for regional chapter coordinators and university administrators.
Prof. Dr. Bernd Engler, chairman of the Association of Scholarship Holders and Friends of the Baden-Württemberg-STIPENDIUM and vice chairman Henrike Schön presented the offers of the association and talked about the activities of the Regional Chapters worldwide. Afterwards, the participants were randomly placed in several virtual escape rooms, where they had to answer questions and solve riddles together with people they had probably never met in their lives. In order to accomplish the challenge within the limited time, some of the guests ended up racing through their flats, searching for different items and holding plants, shoes, hearts, maps and many other things into their webcams.
After everyone had successfully found the way back to the main stage, the winners of the social media challenges, which were published in advance, were selected. Kimsy presented the results of the three challenges and the winners were chosen by vote by all participants of the event. Each of the lucky winners from Baden-Württemberg and Argentina can look forward to receiving a sustainable coffee mug and drinking chocolate from Baden-Württemberg.
The Summer Festival ended with international live music. The guests were able to celebrate the weekend with a cocktail and enjoy live music. Kids of Adelaide, did not only rock in the premises of the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung that was quickly converted to a concert stage, but they did also virtually rock the living rooms all over the world!
The Baden-Württemberg Stiftung
advocates a vital Baden-Württemberg with a high quality of life for all its residents. It helps pave the way for advanced technological progress, high quality education, and a responsible relationship with fellow human beings. The Baden-Württemberg Stiftung is one of the major foundations in Germany. It is the only foundation which exclusively and above party lines invests in the future of the state of Baden-Württemberg – and thus in the future of its citizens.