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Integration Council awards Integration Prize 2024

The Integration Council of the Federal City of Bonn awarded its Integration Prize at the Bonn Culture and Encounter Festival “Diversity!” on June 9, 2024 in front of the Old Town Hall. With this award, the Integration Council honours and recognizes the commitment of citizens or groups and organizations that are actively and sustainably committed to integration. The integration prize is endowed with 1,800 euros and is awarded annually.

Representatives of the two initiatives with Mayor Katja Dörner and Binnaz Öztoprak, Chairwoman of the Bonn Integration Council, (from left) on stage at the Culture and Encounter Festival.

From the twelve proposals and applications submitted this year, the jury unanimously decided to award the Integration Award of the Integration Council to the following two prizewinners in recognition of their special commitment: 

  • Project “Talkoot! Together at eye level” of the Ecumenical Refugee Aid in the north of Bonn
  • Project “Talkoot! Together at eye level” of the Ecumenical Refugee Aid in the north of Bonn

"Talkoot! Miteinander auf Augenhöhe"

In the ecumenical project “Talkoot! Together at eye level", companions combine support on the educational path of refugee children and young people with leisure activities and emotional care. The project is integrated into the parish of St. Thomas Morus and the Protestant Lukaskirchengemeinde and is led by full-time project coordinator Rita Bruners. Due to the large number of families with a history of flight and migration in the north of Bonn, the project mainly takes place there.

The project consists of a large group of volunteers, each of whom is tailored to the needs, learning behavior and interests of the respective child or young person. In addition to homework help and language support, the volunteers also offer leisure activities and emotional support for children and young people with a history of flight and migration in tandems. The companions act as reference persons and confidants for the young people as well as contact persons for the families. 

Initiative „Fußball verbindet“

FC Hertha Bonn 1918 offers a soccer club for refugee children at the initial reception facility (EAE) in Bonn's Ermelkeilkaserne barracks. Following a pilot phase, weekly training sessions for children aged between five and 15 have been held since May 2022. Around 500 girls and boys have taken part in the club so far. The club provides coaches for the club who are completing a voluntary social year in sport at Hertha Bonn. The soccer club presents the coaches with major challenges. In contrast to regular training sessions at the club, the girls and boys taking part in this group regularly change. They usually only spend between two and six weeks at the EAE.  In addition, the children generally do not speak German or English and are impaired due to their experiences as refugees.

To mark the two-year anniversary of the initiative, the association published a best-practice guide for a soccer club with refugee children in mid-May entitled “Football connects. Even without a common language." Youth coach Salim Mehdaoui developed the guide on how to successfully offer soccer training for children under the difficult conditions in a refugee facility. Picture cards are integrated into the guide. These have proven their worth in teaching the children rules non-verbally when no common language is spoken. 

“The ‘Football connects - even without a common language’ initiative overcomes linguistic and cultural barriers through non-verbal communication and represents a valuable change in the children's everyday lives,” says Stefan Walgenbach, member of the Integration Award jury.

“Projects show the special importance of volunteering”

Binnaz Öztoprak, Chairwoman of the Bonn Integration Council, explains: “This year, the Integration Council of the Federal City of Bonn is recognizing the special social commitment of the project 'Talkoot! Miteinander auf Augenhöhe' project and the initiative of FC Hertha Bonn 1918 for our coexistence in Bonn. On the one hand, the projects show the special importance of voluntary work in integration work in the local district and, on the other hand, underline the indispensable role of voluntary work for cohesion in our immigration society. I am delighted to present the Integration Award of the Integration Council to the two award winners in 2024 and would like to thank them for their tireless and exemplary commitment to integration in Bonn."


The jury is formed anew each year. It consists of seven people. The chairperson of the Integration Council, three members of the Integration Council and three Bonn citizens who are familiar with the topic of integration through their full-time or voluntary work. 

2024 jury members were: Binnaz Öztoprak, Chairwoman of the Integration Council, Oyun Ishdorj, Bern Weede and Dr. Katja Petereit as members of the Integration Council, Stefan Walgenbach, volunteer mentor and sponsor in the refugee sector, Dr. Philip Godecki-Safari, Project Manager BIM e.V., and Klaus Großkurth, City Elder.

Questions about the Integration Award of the Integration Council can be answered by the office of the Integration Council: Contact person is Raycho Penchev, phone: 0228 - 77 2694, e-mail  integrationsratbonnde. (opens in a new tab)