20 May, 2021
We are excited to announce the first My City Talks event, organized by the university city of Marburg, Germany. Our new, hyperlocal format was created to help people fight polarisation in their city, and bring local government and journalists into conversation with citizens about issues that affect their day-to-day lives.
Marburg spricht launched on May 17th by the city of Marburg, in cooperation with the Oberhessische Press and several local nonprofits and community groups. Marburg Mayor, Dr. Thomas Spies initiated the event.
“Mutual respect and listening without prejudice are guardrails of political opinion-forming. If we strengthen dialog, we also strengthen democratic togetherness in our city,” he says.
To sign up, Marburgers will answer several controversial questions and then be paired with someone who thinks differently from them. On July 4th, 2021, the conversation pairs will meet for a one-on-one conversation at a local venue, in their own neighborhood, or have a video call.
My Country Talks started as a national format with hyper-local results. In the original My Country Talks events, participants were matched with a conversation partner within a certain radius of them, with the idea that pairs could arrange to meet at a local park or coffee shop. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, all events have moved online, which allows participants to truly expand out of their filter bubble and meet someone in a completely different context.
Still, we recognize the importance of local politics and have observed how local movements can permeate into national politics. We have received a growing interest from municipal and administrations to bring a My Country Talks event to the local level and help fight growing polarisation in their cities. We are therefore very excited for the launch of this new format, and its potential for impact at the local level.
You can learn more about Marburg spricht at marburgspricht.de