Turning 2 into 3: Trilateral encounters as an expression of genuine diversity

When young people from Germany and France share their views and opinions with one another, intercultural learning is guaranteed. And if participants from another country join in, the learning effect is even greater. This is why the FGYO also funds encounters among adolescents and young adults from three countries. 

Intercultural benefits

Sensitivity for one's own self-perception and views of others, and a well-developed awareness of stereotypes and prejudices, are easier to question and reflect upon in programmes involving participants from three countries. Empirical studies show: If young people from three countries meet, the exchange is more intensive and has a more lasting impact. 

Preview Des jeunes provenant de plusieurs pays européens lors de la rencontre "Youth for peace"
Jugendliche aus verschiedenen Ländern in Europa bei der Begegnung „Youth for Peace“
© 2018 by Jennifer Sanchez/ vonZynski.com

European cooperation and vision

The FGYO supports ‘difference-based education’: Viable mutual understanding can only emerge through a grasp of cultural differences. This grasp forms the basis for sustainable dialogue on an equal footing that extends beyond the borders of Europe. 
The shift in perspective creates an opportunity for all participants to explore cultural and historically rooted similarities and differences in greater depth. The European idea and democracy itself are also made more tangible in trilateral encounters.


Strengthening civil society through peace education

The shift in perspective hones the critical view of historical events and socio-political developments. Trilateral encounters make it possible to situate these events and developments in a broader context. The intensive and educationally supervised exchange of viewpoints and perspectives forms a bulwark for crisis prevention and cross-border understanding among young people.

"Linguistic added value and historical benefit"

In trilateral encounters, a foreign language is often spoken. Young people recognise the added value of learning together and gain an awareness of their progress in the foreign language. The fear of making mistakes in the partner language diminishes, and all participants are provided with language assistance.

Anyone who becomes involved in an exchange of ideas with young people from other countries overcomes a one-sided interpretation of history. This interpretation is replaced by multi-perspectival explorations and appraisals. Franco-German reconciliation can serve as a role model of this and offer solutions to current conflicts.

Preview Image issue d'un atelier sur l'histoire européenne
Image issue d'un atelier sur l'histoire européenne
© 2018 by Jennifer Sanchez, vonZynski.com

Content and structure of trilateral projects

Target groups of trilateral projects

Trilateral encounters are designed to benefit all of the target groups of the FGYO. These might be school or extracurricular encounters for school pupils, university students, trainees, young professionals or job seekers.

Criteria for selection and financial support 

The FGYO can provide funding for trilateral encounters that meet the following conditions: 

  • The project comprises 1 encounter phase per country and thus a total of 3 encounter phases (principle of reciprocity).
  • Each encounter phase lasts between 4 and 21 days.
  • The project lasts between 1 and 3 years. 
  • A maximum of 70 people, including support staff, can participate in the project. 
  • There must be a balance in the number of participants drawn from young people from the 3 countries involved.
  • All of the countries participating in the project have equal rights and work together on the project concept.  
  • All (three) languages must be taken into account in the phases that involve participants’ physical attendance. 
Preview Echange entre jeunes de France, d'Allemagne et du Maroc
Echange entre jeunes de France, d'Allemagne et du Maroc
© abed e.V.


Trilateral exchanges must be of a project nature and pursue a thematic focus. They will deal with current social, geographic and/or foreign-policy issues, such as:

  • Future and history of Europe
  • Democracy and human rights
  • Political education and youth participation
  • Vocational training

The aim of each encounter is to impart intercultural skills along with curricular materials in political and peace education. This aim is served when the encounter employs methods in cultural education and the educational methodology of the encounter. The FGYO supports this process with educational materials and training courses.

Countries and regions

The trilateral encounters that the FGYO promotes mainly involve countries in the following regions:   

Preview carte-pays-trinationaux.png

In justified exceptions, the FGYO can sponsor encounters with more than three countries. The project must demonstrate special thematic added value, such as a historical reappraisal between two countries for which Franco-German cooperation can serve as a source of inspiration.

Regional cooperation between four countries on topics such as history, peace and remembrance work, identity and integration include, for example, Franco-German projects with Kosovo* and Serbia or with Israel and the Palestinian Territories. 

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in keeping with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.

Funding opportunities for trilateral projects

Application to the FGYO

An application for funding of trilateral projects can be submitted directly to the competent office of the FGYO using the appropriate form . If the first project phase is to be held in Germany, the German sponsor must submit the application; if the first phase of the encounter is to take place in France, the French sponsor must submit the application. For project phases in another country (besides Germany and France), the funding application can only be submitted by the German or French institution.

Funding through Special Funds

The German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs provide the FGYO with supplemental funding for the support of trilateral projects. The FGYO uses these Special Funds to facilitate encounters with the countries of Central and Eastern Europeof South-Eastern Europe and of the Maghreb.

These projects are pilot encounters with a focus on topics in foreign policy.

Preview Tableau d'informations des programmes de l'OFAJ
Tableau d'informations des programmes de l'OFAJ
© Pol Guillard