Social Conscience against Social Contradiction

It’s already 11 pm.
                     Ok, let’s wrap this up, says Zeynep.
                     That’s enough. I am tired.
Aynur smiles.
                     We need to finish tonight, she says, looking at Zeynep on the screen.

                     Can’t we just cancel it? asks Zeynep.
But we put in so much work already. We did the content for social media, we contacted different institutions and started announcements for the event. Not this conversation again.
                  Yes, you always want to quit right before the end of the project, thinking it’s not worth it. But once we finish you look back and you’re glad you pulled through.


Water is pouring from the tap. You fill your bottle. Close the tap. It is getting dark outside and you switch on the lights in the kitchen and the living room. You turn on the kettle for some tea while checking your phone: four new notifications, three on WhatsApp, one on TikTok. You remember the tote bag with groceries at the entrance. You get them and start preparing dinner.

Growing up in developed countries, day-to-day life is smooth: water, heating (though that is a big question in 2022), education, jobs, entertainment, health, transport, and travel. All of that is easily accessible for many of us, though, some still struggle. In general, however, life is comfortable here. Maybe too comfortable and often taken for granted, which can be seen in the diminishing interest in politics, society, or lack of responsibility by the younger generation. We think.

Over the past two decades, incredible young people have caught attention globally for their activism and work, like Greta Thunberg, Amanda Gorman, Luisa Neubauer, or Aminata Touré. But how and why did these young women develop a social, political or environmental conscience? How come these women keep to their work despite serious challenges and intense media attention waiting for them to make a “wrong” move?

It’s 2008. A 23-year old woman stands for election to the city council, but fails to get elected. She doesn’t give up on her aim to “build a society where every child can become anything and every person can live and grow in dignity.” Four years later, she again stood for election and this time she was successful. In the years following, she rose to become the world’s youngest prime minister. Her name: Sanna Marin.

But what drove Marin’s determination to have a more equal society in a country that is world-leading in equality both economically and socially? What made her not give up pursuing a political mandate? Her answer in 2020: “I’m in politics because I thought that the older generation wasn’t doing enough about the big issues of the future. I needed to act. I couldn’t just think, ‘It’s somebody else’s job’.” ”

Fast forward to 2022: A video circulates over all media platforms showing the young Finnish prime minister dancing with her friends apparently at a private event. The debate that followed showed and stressed that even in acclaimed equal societies, it doesn’t mean there’s nothing left to accomplish when it comes to equality. Maybe not materially, but morally.

The debates and comments on social media after the leaked private video showed there is still an immense gap between several groups, for instance between men and women. Otherwise, how is it possible that one politician is being judged by countless of her colleagues for doing the same as her male companions?

On a daily basis, women exhaustingly fight to break out of double standards and stereotypes created within societies. Double standards means the preferring or rejection of people on the basis of their gender, ethnicity, sexuality or other uncontrollable distinctions in which none are relevant or justifiable factors for this discrimination. In other words: your actions are being valued differently because of something you have almost no control over.

Double standards are seen in dozens of areas: the workplace, in politics and even at school. If a student with a migration background is acting poorly, mostly it is blamed on her cultural background while the mistakes of a native student are caused only by the playfulness of the child. Until recently, this multifaceted double standard that treats and judges actions of people according to their gender or ethnicity is common in our current society. Why does nobody talk about it, if it’s such a substantial issue?

If a lion is born in the zoo, is being fed the same meat every day and taken care of by the same people repeatedly, do you think he would recognize that the cage is not his original habitat? He may assume that something feels off due to his natural instincts. But if he never saw the savanna, never felt its wind on his skin nor spent his time hunting for a gazelle or a zebra, do you believe he would understand that there is something “wrong” with his life?

For centuries, people have lived and breathed with double standards. It is not until someone, somewhere tells us to break out of the circle, tells us that there is something not okay with our situation that we recognize these issues. Sanna Marin’s debate showed us clearly the unequal treatment – not financially but socially. Now, for our future generations we need to change and stop enduring unfair treatment and judgment.

Unfortunately, reality is not as simple as acknowledging that a lion does not belong in a cage. In our society there are still people who don’t understand or who simply don’t know that the way they are treated is unfair. And those who know or at least have a feel for unrightful treatment, often don’t realize how to defend themselves.

That is why we have been socially and politically active for the past couple of years. Not only because it is our responsibility but also our duty as citizens in the 21st century to create a society in which diversity is lived and not only talked about. Because diversity is not having a bunch of people who look different, diversity is giving everyone the same rights as well as the same justice and judgment. It might be tiring but it is worth it.

Until we break out of this cage of double standards we will not give up.

About the authors:

Aynur Durak, raised in Berlin, Germany, is a multilingual student of intercultural communications with a focus on diversity and equality in the workplace. As a Fulbright alumna, who participated in the Fulbright Diversity Initiative at Trinity University in San Antonio (TX) in 2019, she is the author of several publications, such as her debut poetry book: the universe in me. Currently, she is working as a Content Creator at Fulbright Germany while furthering her education in journalism and communication, to provide a larger range of topics such as race and racism in Western media. Purchase the universe in me or flowers of mercury on Amazon.

Aynur Durak

Zeynep Alraqeb is the Extended Board member for Diversity Alumni.

Zeynep Alraqeb speaks at a conference.

Apply now for the Mulert Award 2023!

Applications for the 2023 Mulert Award are now open. Please apply here via a quick and short online form. Application deadline is February 28, 2023. The winner of the award will be announced in a festive award ceremony in May 2023 in Germany.

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Fulbright Scholarship: Make it your way! – Webinar am 28. Juli 2022 von 18.30 – 19.15 

“Das ist nur etwas für Einser Kandidat:innen”
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Leider mussten viele Studierende oder Schüler oft diesen Satz von Lehrer:innen oder Professor:innen hören. In vielen Fällen hat dies junge ambitionierte Menschen oft im weiteren Leben davon abgehalten sich für Stipendien zu bewerben. Wir wollen das ändern und junge Menschen mit guten Leistungen und sozialem Engagement dazu aufrufen sich für das Fulbright Stipendium zu bewerben.

Fulbright ermöglicht es jungen Menschen in den USA zu leben und an einer amerikanischen Universität zu studieren. Das Stipendium ermöglicht Studierenden einen einmaligen spannenden, lehrreichen und unvergesslichen kulturellen Austausch.

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Thank you for your interest in our Mentoring Program. This year’s matching is already completed and no further submissions will be accepted. Please reach out to if you have questions regarding your submission or to be updated on future programs we are planning.

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Wir als Fulbright Alumni e.V. starten in diesem Jahr erstmalig das „Fulbright Alumni e.V. Mentoring Program for US Grantees 2021“. Wir suchen Fulbright Alumni in Deutschland, die Interesse haben ab Oktober 2021 für bis zu ein Jahr als persönliche Mentor*innen neu in Deutschland ankommende Fulbright US Grantees zu unterstützen.

Die Idee ist es, den US Grantees (den Mentees) die Ankunft, das Einleben und den Aufenthalt in Deutschland zu erleichtern und zu bereichern. Primär soll dabei der kulturelle Austausch und das persönliche Mentoring/Coaching im Vordergrund stehen. Durch deine Position als Mentor*in erhält dein Mentee einen persönlicheren Einblick in die deutsche Kultur, Lebens-, und Arbeitsweise, als es ihm/ihr alleingestellt möglich ist. Dies kann vielfältig gestaltet werden und liegt in deinem Ermessen. Möglich wäre beispielsweise ein Einblick in die deutsche Lebensweise bei einem gemeinsamen Essen, ein Städtetrip in deiner Stadt oder ein Besuch bei dir auf der Arbeit oder im lokalen Verein. Wir als Mentoring Team stehen dir dabei stets mit Tipps und Tricks zur Seite.

Das Mentoring Programm ermöglicht dir genau wie deinem Mentee einen persönlichen, deutsch-amerikanischen Austausch und die Entwicklung einer Freundschaft nach Übersee. Du wirst die Möglichkeit haben, dein Englisch und deine Leadership/Mentoring Skills zu verbessern und den Fulbright Spirit ein wenig wie damals bei deinem Aufenthalt in den USA aufleben zu lassen. Dein US Grantee wird von der deutschen Aufgeschlossenheit begeistert sein!

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Das Programm startet mit einem Mentee/Mentor*in Kick-Off Event, an dem deine Teilnahme erforderlich ist. Es handelt sich dabei um ein Online-Event, bei dem sich die Mentor*innen und Mentees gegenseitig kennenlernen sollen. Die gematchten Paare treffen sich jeweils lokal (z.B. bei*m Mentor*in vor Ort), wählen sich gemeinsam ein und verbringen im Anschluss Zeit miteinander. Der Termin ist für Mitte/Ende Oktober 2021 angesetzt und soll ca. 1-2 Stunden dauern. Der FAeV unterstützt nach vorheriger Absprache finanziell bei den Reisekosten für das Kick-off Event.

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FRANKly: Call for Articles

Dear FAeV members,

We are happy to announce the 2021 Call for Articles for our annual journal, FRANKly! This year’s topic is „Daring (New) Beginnings”. We are eagerly awaiting your articles and thoughts on the topic, due by August 15, 2021.

For submissions, questions or further information please do not hesitate to contact FRANKly editor, Jana Frey (

Best wishes,

Jana Frey and Sarah Martin
FRANKly Editor and VP Communications

Here is the official FRANKly call for articles for 2021