This summer, two of our Anne Frank Ambassadors from Notre Dame High School in Glasgow, took part in the Anne Frank Summer School.

-By Shannon & Malaika

I was a little disappointed that due to the coronavirus outbreak we weren’t able to attend the international summer school but I found the digital summer school to be just as interesting and interactive as I am sure it would have been face to face! We attended this ‘digital school’ for 4 days in July.

Our topic this year was dealing with polarisation within our own countries. At first, I was a little confused by this concept, but we talked about it at length and it applies to all of us, one way or another. We were given the opportunity to choose workshops which included how to plan and deliver our own workshops, how to create podcasts, and workshops about counter and alternative narrative training. I chose the counter and alternative narrative training as I wanted to find out more about it. These workshops gave me insight on how to effectively communicate a message to a diverse audience – an audience that might have quite different views. The workshops also gave me the confidence to do so! In the webinars, we were also given tasks and placed in smaller groups to discuss and take in the information we had learned. We were working through ‘Zoom’ so we were able to go to different ‘breakout rooms’ to have discussions with smaller groups which was great to be able to reflect and ask questions to each other.

At the end of each session we also had a group reflection where we discussed everything that took place in our lesson. I really enjoyed the digital school and I have a much better understanding of topics related to polarisation, populism and right‐wing populism. I am really looking forward to meeting the group face to face in future! I also loved working with other young people across the globe. It was amazing how so many diverse countries could unite by learning about how to tackle discrimination and despite speaking different first languages! We shared what hobbies interest us, what TV and films we enjoy and what we are all passionate about and I can’t wait to meet everyone again and hear all about their projects! Overall, the experience of talking to a person from halfway across the world with different cultures and ethnicities was something that I’ll always treasure and look back on with joy.

-By Shannon

I was delighted to be chosen to be a part of the Anne Frank Summer School and so excited to take part and meet everyone. We began the week talking about stereotypes and people’s views and how we would be planning to create a future project about tackling discrimination and prejudicial attitudes. Everyone looked so welcoming and friendly, it was great to meet people from other countries, which was very helpful. It made me feel less anxious for when we meet in the future.

My favourite part of the Counter and Alternative Narratives workshop was the react activities. The react activities would have a scenario displayed and you would be given time to think about how to react. One of the scenarios was that one of my distant cousins had contradicting views on homophobia. I enjoyed discussing this one with my team because it was really interesting to hear different ideas on how to tackle the situation in an appropriate way. All of the activities were amazing but this one stood out to me the most because they were such challenging scenarios that really made me think.

After the summer school, I had reflected on one of the biggest themes which was populism. (Populism is normally critical of political representation). Due to occurring events, I looked deeper into the history behind such wars and facts about countries that are struggling right now (for example Yemen). I also looked into facts about biased media and found out that “70% of the average person’s political views depend on the media they read.” This tells us that if someone regularly reads from a biased and prejudicial newspaper, they will turn out to be prejudicial and in the worst case, discriminative.

Overall, I had an amazing experience during the summer school as it opened my eyes on everyone’s opinions and perspectives whether it was negative or positive. The digital summer school helped me get an idea of who I will be meeting in the future and has mentally prepared me for the in‐person school in February!

-By Malaika