The following introduction to our programme makes it clear that there are two parts to it: on the one hand we have already written down a great many details and ideas, but on the other hand we want to make it possible for the participants and our guests to have a great deal of influence on the content and progress of the conference.
We hope that the wide range of freedoms and flexibility remains visible behind our extensive planning. We have fixed a few organisational details, because the participants (particularly those taking part in the public conference - Part B) must know where they are. For that purpose we will be gradually giving out more and more detail. However, particularly during part A, but also throughout the conference, there will be sufficient free spaces for spontaneous ideas.

Suggestions for improving or adding to the contents or the organisation are of course now welcome.

General Information

Dates: Saturday July 30th until Sunday August 7th (the last week of the holidays in Berlin)

Place: Berlin (see Conference site)

Number of participants:
A - School Conference: about 300 participants from many different countries
B - Public Meeting: an additional 200 participants, mostly from Germany

Conference languages: German and English
(Translators wanted, if possible simultaneous translators)

School students and recent leavers

The IDEC in Berlin should be marked by the significant participation of young people who are still at, or have recently left democratic schools. We are counting on these young people to report on their good experiences - but also where appropriate to declare their dissatisfactions. It was clear at the IDEC in Albany, USA, as well as in Bhubaneshwar, India, that young people want to have more influence during the conference.

Students and recent leavers are the most perceptive critics. That is why the most important suggestions are likely to come from them.

At the same time we are convinced that students can offer the best evidence that democratic schools do work.

That is why the help of students and recent leavers will enable us to reach the main objectives of the IDEC as effectively as possible: to improve the work of democratic schools, and to broadcast it to the rest of society.

Last but not least the IDEC itself must be fun! We hope that current students will help us to make the most of this.

Timetable for the week

→ detailed programme

Themes and Key Issues

We want to make sure that as many questions and problems as possible, including of course the most important ones, are explored at the IDEC. On this point we are not making any fundamental distinction between parts A and B. Our responsibility as hosts will be to clarify basic questions and above all to explain them to the participants in Part B (the public conference). Nevertheless in part A we will take particular care to make sure that there is enough time left over for the spontaneous suggestions which will not arise until the conference is running.

As well as a few lectures, we are expecting above all to profit from discussions in small groups. We will have enough rooms available for that. If you would like to make a particular statement or offer a prepared contribution for a discussion, please contact us at

→ Themes and Key Issues

Workshops and presentations Part B (Humboldt-University)

→ scheduled workshops and presentations during the public conference (part B)

Workshops and presentations Part A (FEZ)

→ complete list of all proposals for workshops and presentations in the scools conference (part A)

Presentation by Democratic Schools: Poster Session

We are asking democratic schools and other organisations that are willing (as they ought to be!) to introduce themselves generally and report on their work, to make a one metre square poster.. This poster should be brought to the conference, as complete as possible and rolled up for easy transport. We intend to display them during the Schools Conference (Part A). In that way all participants will have enough time to find out about each other. We will then set up a so-called Poster-session, lasting about two hours. During this time the exhibitors should stand by their displays and give information about their schools to interested people. In this way we will have more time for discussions of particular topics. This will enable many more people to take part in the exchange of information than would be possible if all the schools introduced themselves individually, one after the other.

In addition to this these displays can be rolled up and taken to Part B, the public conference, so that the people who come to that can also get an overview. Without posters or displays that would hardly be possible in the short time available.

Programme of cultural events

School visits

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday participants at the IDEC can visit German schools. Unfortunately the school holidays in Berlin coincide with the conference, so that it will not be possible to get an impression of an ordinary school day. Nevertheless there will be teachers there and they will talk about their schools.

After the IDEC is over we want to help participants, particularly participants from abroad, to visit other educational projects in Germany. Before and after the conference there are people who are looking forward to hosting participants from the conference and inviting them to other parts of Germany.

Berlin is a big and fascinating city. For that reason there will also be sight-seeing tours for those who are interested. We have prepared a tourist corner, with a bright array of flyers from museums, exhibitions and other places to visit. Every evening we will reserve about thirty tickets for a play, opera or concert.

A historical expedition is important to us: we are planning a visit to the memorial at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp on the Monday.

Art workshop

In the art workshop there will be facilities for painting, crafts, printing and making toys. There will also be a sound workshop, where instruments will be made out of simple materials. The sound workshop is not just a sweetener alongside the IDEC for just relaxing, just playing or just being creative; it will also stimulate you to (auszuloten - take chances? ) and try out democratic processes in art. Attention will be drawn to the cultural characteristics of the instruments and the spiritual dimensions of the music. Discussions may also ensue, for example on such themes as "Unconventional reflections on writing and the culture of writing", or "Oral culture and sound". You can also have a good exchange of views while doing craftwork together!


In the FEZ there is a lot of space. You can play table tennis, volleyball, football and everything else. There is also a swimming lake.

Films and Books

If you know of, or even own, appropriate films and books, please bring them with you. There will be a cinema with an LCD projector. We also want to have a bookstall, which will be particularly useful to the visitors to the Humboldt University in Berlin who will be able to lay in stocks of relevant material.


In accordance with tradition there will once again be an auction this year. It will take place on Saturday evening and it would be great if you would bring items to contribute.

Final party

The farewell - after a hopefully enriching conference - we can celebrate together at a final party on Saturday evening, where your ideas, your music and all your talents will be in request. The open stage will give everyone the opportunity to give a short performance (zum Besten zu geben??). Bring instruments with you, so that we can have a jam session together! The instruments people have made in the workshop may find a place here. And for later background music of the party it would be great to play a variegated mixture from your favourite CDs and Cassettes, so please bring them with you!