Tandem Amwaj group in Berlin
Tandem Amwaj group in Berlin

Tandem Amwaj Chronicles: From Sofia to Berlin

In this story, we share the latest learnings from two Tandem Amwaj meetings that took place in Bulgaria and Germany this year. The text is based on the written inputs from all partners, in a form of individual online diaries. Tandem Amwaj Partners: zusa (Germany), Al-Badil (Tunisia), Collective Routes (Egypt), MuseoLab (Lebanon), Think Tanger (Morocco).

Our latest addition to the Tandem family – Tandem Amwaj – had two meetings this year, where all 5 partner organisations gathered. In chilly February, we came together in Sofia, Bulgaria, and later in the year we reunited in a sunny Berlin, Germany. These meetings provided a platform for partners, first and foremost, to meet each other and start building trust, to kick-off the regional partnership and shape it together.

In this article, we explore the impressions and insights of the partners, highlighting the challenges they face, the valuable experiences they gained, and the questions that continue to drive our Tandem Amwaj journey further.


The Sofia meeting was a moment of discovery in terms of the overall project structure and timeline, the impact and essence of each organisation and people in the room as human beings. For Tandem Amwaj partners, this meeting was a wellspring of inspiration, enabling them to collectively tackle shared challenges. – we realised that we are all in this together, in its good and difficult parts.

In Sofia, we met not only to talk about the Tandem Amwaj – the partners consortium joined a bigger gathering that took place at the same time. Over 50 members of the Tandem family joined the Tandem Regions Networking meeting. The core group of the Regions programme shared their valuable insights and learnings from the past two years of working together. They also invited Tandem alumni and friends to collaborate on developing the next steps. You can read more about that meeting in our other story.

What we all brought home from this meeting was a sense of belonging to a group, a shared purpose and a certain level of clarity for the next months. On the other hand, we left with a taste of disappointment due to a limited funding opportunities, which implied that an element of mobility in the Tandem Amwaj programme had to be minimised. Nevertheless, we collectively acknowledged the realities of the situation, which represented a significant step forward in embracing them.

Td Amwaj in Sofia
Together with Farah Makki in Sofia, Bulgaria


Spring and summer passed quickly – partners had monthly online meetings to discuss the progress made and simply to stay in touch. Local activities had kicked off marking the start of the Impact Experiments in Mediterranean partnering countries. However, we were all very much looking forward to the next physical gathering in Berlin. In early September, we finally came together again to share our excitements and concerns. Our primary focus was delving deeper into missed opportunities for aligning visions and planning for the future.

Partners had many questions about the objectives of the AGILE workflow and the necessary steps to implement their plans. To address this, we once again had the guidance of Farah Makki, who navigated us through the AGILE indicators. The full-day workshop was a great opportunity for each partner organisation to spot their learning goals, and for the whole group to map the existence expertise in the room. After the mapping exercise, the partner consortium agreed to bring it to the upcoming online meetings, and look for future opportunities to meet physically for deeper exchange.

After hours of intense conversations and reflections, partners felt grateful for the opportunity to meet in person and deeper discussions. Some partners noted that they were diverging in different directions, with the weight of insufficient funding hanging over them. This made planning and dreaming difficult.

For Think Tanger, the Berlin meeting was a moment of gathering with peers and introducing new team member, Yassine, to the group. We were also fortunate to have Celine from Museolab join us, bringing fresh energy and insights from the academic world. The zusa team, which hosted and facilitated the meeting, expanded with the addition of Jotham and Silvana, enriching the shared conversation

While in February we crashed the Tandem Regions Networking meeting, this time it was the All-Around Culture Ecosystems Academy that some of us had a pleasure to attend as well, once we wrapped up our own two days workshop. The Ecosystems Academy was a great opportunity to learn more about horizontal management and working in teams, and to network with 50 other cultural managers from the MENA region.


The Berlin meeting was a valuable opportunity for zusa, a backbone organisation within the Tandem Amwaj. They emphasised the safe(r) and open atmosphere, allowing partners to communicate openly and authentically. For zusa, the future of Tandem Amwaj involves bringing the findings of AGILE indicators to the forefront, facilitating exchange conversations, and focusing on the most relevant growth and learning paths for each organisation.

All in all, the Tandem Amwaj meetings in Sofia and Berlin served as vital opportunities for partners to connect, share their experiences, and work towards common goals. Despite the challenges encountered along our journey, we managed to adapt, align visions, and explore future collaborations. The journey continues, marked by questions, shared experiences, and the determination to make a meaningful impact in respective organisations and communities.