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Migration & Identity

Conversations through experience


In Germany, nearly every 4th person has an immigration background. "Essentially, we are already a land of immigration," those were the words of chancellor Merkel in 2015. But still there are a lot of conversations about who is allowed to be German and who is not.


As a company, ThoughtWorks not only bases its success on its diverse workforce, but also we are committed to becoming aware of our own privilege and striving to see the world from the perspective of the oppressed, the powerless, and the invisible.


With this event series, we want to raise awareness, help to decrease discrimination, and to sensitize people without migration backgrounds to the challenges faced by people with migration backgrounds here in Germany. We are inviting speakers to share their voices and experiences in support of these goals. We hope to challenge our cosmopolitan (oftentimes color-blind) worldview that blocks us from gaining a real understanding of challenges experienced by the various vibrant communities inside of this country.

"Social Justice isn't just about doing work for good causes. It's also about looking at our core work and asking how it can benefit society."


Martin Fowler, Chief Scientist at ThoughtWorks

Upcoming Online Events:


There are currently no events planned.

Past Events:

20th February 2020:

Migration & Identity with Gesa Dreckmann and Christoph Hassler


Growing up with Caribbean roots in Herzogtum Lauenburg in Schleswig-Holstein, the “Dorfperle“ Gesa Dreckmann shares her experiences as a comedian on stage and as an author in her book "La Dorfe Vita" - with an ease that makes even stoic Northern Germans smile.

In a conversation with Christoph Hassler, who had a similar experience, we want to find out what it's like to grow up as an Afro-German on the country side, far away from urban multiculturalism.

Listen to the different stories born of similar circumstances and start a discussion with us.

28th July 2020:

Migration & Identity with Tuğba Yalçınkaya and İrem Aydın


Migration from Turkey to Germany has a long history; starting with the first migration flow of the “guest workers” in the early 1960s up to the latest “New Wave” migration. These migration flows have created different diaspora communities in Germany. Within the framework of the event we will have a closer look at Turkey diaspora by focusing on questions as e.g.:

How did Turkey diaspora shape itself in recent years and how do these flows differ themselves from each other and why? How does political polarization in Turkey affect diaspora in Germany and the position of Germany in between?

While dealing with these issues İrem Aydın, as part of the “New Wave” migration, and Tuğba Yalçınkaya, as part of the 3rd generation of “guest workers”, will give insights into their personal perspectives on how they perceive themselves and how social encounters and confrontations shape their identities.


The talk was a joint event of ThoughtWorks and Maviblau!

Check out more information about Maviblau here: http://www.maviblau.com/


10th September 2020:

Migration & Identity with Peter Donatus


The conversation revolved around the intersections between environmentalism, climate change, colonialism and migration with a focus on the relationship between Africa and Europe. We talked about connections between the Fridays for Future / Extinction Rebellion and the BLM movements and critically discussed the role of big businesses in each. The event was moderated by Christoph Hassler.

Meet our Speakers:

Peter Donatus

Peter Donatus is a Nigerian born freelance journalist and human rights activist. He has dedicated the last 30 years to environmental activism against the environmental damages caused by oil production in the Niger Delta in Nigeria.

Christoph Hassler

Christoph Hassler

Christoph Hassler is a UX Consultant and Lead for Social and Economic Justice at Thoughtworks, working in the field of design since the early 2000s, active in the struggle against racism and capitalist exploitation since the 90s. Thinking a lot about the future of work and the role technology might take to free or condemn society.

Tuğba Yalçınkaya

Tuğba Yalçınkaya

Tuğba Yalçınkaya received her MA in Migration and Diversity with a focus on Turkey at Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel and Sabanci University in Istanbul. She is the co-founder of the German-Turkish cultural platform Maviblau where she promotes dialogue between both countries in the fields of education, arts and culture. Furthermore, her interests include racism, anti-discrimination and post-migrant societies. Besides, she is the project coordinator of the programme “Blickwechsel:

Contemporary Turkey studies” at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

İrem Aydın

İrem Aydın

İrem Aydın studied Spanish Language and Literature at Istanbul University and attended the Master Program in Theater Creation at University Carlos III de Madrid in Spain. She wrote and directed plays such as Above the Ground Under the Clouds, TürkLand (an adaptation of Dilşad Budak’s autobiographic novel), and Golem at independent theater in İstanbul called Entropi Sahne where she worked as artistic director. She participated in festivals such as the MOT International Theater Festival, the International Forum at Theatertreffen, and the Interplay Young Playwrights Festival. She produces performative and poetic works trying to focus upon and to understand the tragedy of her age and generation. Her works mostly deal with the topics “migration,” “digitalization,” and “traumatic experiences.” Currently she lives and works in Berlin.

Gesa Dreckmann

Gesa Dreckmann

Who actually says that a Northern German girl from the plains always has to be blonde and blue-eyed, dreaming of finding love with a farmer in the stable on the stool? "Such pigeonhole thinking can’t be camouflaged by any amount of cowhide", thought Schleswig-Holstein’s Gesa Dreckmann, who doesn't fit into any pigeonhole at all: Her father is a Northern German blockhead, her mother a Haitian hydrangea. What a combination, stronger than any countryside Cola-grain concoction! But how does a Caribbean pearl in the 1960s find herself in a coffee house with 500 inhabitants north of Hamburg and marry into a liquor dynasty? Love transcends all boundaries! And humour of course - Gesa Dreckmann, the youngest (and darkest, as she says) of three colourful Dreckmann kids, knows this too well.

Code of Conduct


A primary goal of ThoughtWorks’ events is to be inclusive to a diverse group of people from all walks of life. Therefore, we are dedicated to providing a friendly, safe and welcoming environment for all, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, appearance, disability, marital status, socioeconomic status, and religion (or lack thereof).


Our code of conduct outlines our expectations for all those who participate in our events, as well as the consequences for unacceptable behaviour.

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