The Between Us center: library and gathering place
The Between Us center: library and gathering place

At the "Between Us" center in the German capital, refugees can meet and share their culture from home with local Germans. It offers Arabic poetry, Middle Eastern music and art exhibitions. It's an initiative by architecture students and asylum seekers.

One the one hand, the Between Us center is a library with Arabic books, on the other it's a meeting place open to refugees, migrants and German locals. It's located on the top floor of a 16-story refugee hostel in central Berlin and is equipped with original furniture designed by architecture students of the Technical University Berlin who teamed up with refugee students from Syria invited to take part in this project.

"There are almost no libraries with Arabic books or institutions for Arab culture here," said Muhannad Qaiconie, the 30-year old founder of the center said to AP.   "Still, Berlin is now a hotspot for Syrian authors, artists, and musicians and we want to give them a meeting place and a platform."

One aim of the project is also to foster intercultural understanding by inviting Germans to the place to learn about Arabic culture and art during regular poetry readings or concerts.

On the weekends, Syrian musicians are invited to play at the center. Recently, asylum seeker from Syria Nabil Arbaain performed music on the oud, a traditional Middle Eastern instrument, together with a German guitarist and a Syrian percussionist.

The center's library is open one day a week.

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