First Speak Up! Lab: Fake News and Hate Speech – a Challenge for Society

Fake news and hate speech remain pressing issues in East Belgium. Therefore, the Institute for Civic Education and the  Speak Up! network, which emerged from an alliance of the same name, organized conferences in Eupen and Lontzen in October 2021 and 2022. These conferences provided an opportunity for people from East Belgium to engage in informal discussions with academics and practitioners from both local and international contexts.

The Speak Up! Lab

In addition to organizing a third conference this year, we are introducing a program specifically designed for young individuals aged between 18 and approximately 30 years: the Speak Up! Lab. Starting with an introductory zoom meeting at the end of September / beginning of October (we’ll set up a doodle for all accepted participants) we set the path for our Winter/Summer School.

We will follow up with a podcast seminar in October / November (we’ll set up a doodle for all accepted participants), where the Lab participants will gain insights into podcast production. The main focus of the Speak Up! Lab is to collaboratively develop a podcast series centered around the themes of handling fake news and hate speech.

During and after the meeting, you will also get to know the first interviewees for the podcasts, the presenters at the Speak Up! online conference, taking place from October 6th to 8th, 2023. During this conference, individuals from around the world will provide fascinating insights into their work on how to address fake news and hate speech through brief presentations, likely in German or English. Please note that we will not be able to provide simultaneous translations.

Following the online conference, the participants of the Speak Up! Lab will start with the podcast production within small groups. Depending on their location, groups can choose to meet either online or in person. Each group will have a designated contact person from the Speak Up! network.

In spring 2024, all participants of the Speak Up! Lab will come together for a few days in East Belgium to present initial work outcomes from their respective groups and engage in further discussions on the topics of fake news and hate speech with individuals from Eupen and its surroundings.

Who can apply for the Speak Up! Lab ?

young individuals from East Belgium or the Euregio region, and the remaining 20 allocated for young people from around the world. It is important to note that participants should be 18 years old by spring of 2024.
We believe in fostering a diverse and inclusive environment, bringing together participants with varied backgrounds and perspectives. By allocating a portion of the spots to local participants, we aim to ensure representation and engagement from the East Belgian community and the wider Euregio region. Simultaneously, we welcome young individuals from different countries and cultures to contribute their unique insights and experiences to the Lab.
This balance of local and global participation will enrich the learning experience, facilitating cross-cultural dialogue and fostering a global network of individuals dedicated to combating fake news and hate speech.

Lab logistics

There will be no participation fee.

During the in-person meeting in Eupen in spring 2024, we will take care of providing meals for you. If you do not reside in East Belgium, we will also arrange accommodation for you. However, please note that you will be responsible for covering your travel expenses. Therefore, we are committed to helping you explore external funding opportunities and providing the necessary documentation to strengthen your applications.  If you require assistance in this regard, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are more than happy to support you throughout the process.

How to apply

To apply for the Speak Up! Lab, please submit your motivation letter and CV by July 31, 2023 via e-mail (sabrina.kirschner[at]ahs-ostbelgien[dot]be) to Sabrina Kirschner, who is organizing the Lab.

In your motivation letter, explain why you wish to participate in the Lab.

If you have any previous experience with podcasts or other media, feel free to mention it. This will help us place you in an appropriate working group based on your prior knowledge.

Please also mention your language skills in your CV, especially German skills.

By August 7, 2023, at the latest, you will be notified of the outcome of the application process. We look forward to receiving your application.


If you have any further questions or need additional information regarding the application process or the Speak Up! Lab, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here to assist you and provide any necessary clarification. Please feel free to contact Sabrina Kirschner via email sabrina.kirschner[at]ahs-ostbelgien[dot]be or reach out on Instagram via our IDP and Speak Up accounts. Additionally, for more detailed information in the FAQ section, please visit our website.