About Zerophobia

Welcome to Zerophobia

The term “Zerophobia” has been coined by a group of students in the University of Debrecen, Hungary, participating in EdVenture Partners’ (EVP) P2P: Challenging Extremism international student project. The coinage resonates with “xenophobia,” the fear of the “other,” aiming to provide a positive and constructive alternative to its negative and destructive potentials. We believe that most people are open to narratives which run counter to political indoctrination or personal prejudice. Therefore, our team’s main goal is to challenge entrenched, unreflected, and unfounded xenophobia through personal encounters, whereby local people will have the opportunity to meet foreigners from all around the world, with whom they can share their stories, not exclusively through the medium of language.

We work together with members of the large international student community in Debrecen, with whom we  organize events and collective projects with a twofold aim:

(1) to involve the ever-growing international student community in various forms of cooperation with Hungarian students as well as local associations to create a truly open-minded international environment where the emphasis is on growth, progress, and solidarity.

(2) to make the larger native population of Debrecen in particular and Hungary in general more open and more receptive to people coming from distant lands and cultures different from their own. We are trying to establish an environment where no one is labeled or stigmatized by their nationality, ethnicity, or religion. Our team hopes that during the encounters, people will be able to see for themselves that we share more similarities than differences with each other.

One of the ways in which this website aims to contribute to achieving this goal is by calling attention and sensitizing people to the harmful and destructive nature of Fake News, which to a great extent is to be blamed for many of the extant preconceptions, misunderstandings, and hatred surrounding the notion of cultural otherness.  For this reason, we encourage everyone to join us in our myth-busting efforts and submit popular beliefs which are blatantly false or outright manipulative along with their refutation based on reliable sources.

We also seek to implement our community-building endeavors by organizing regular programs and events.

One of our regular programs, Words Break Bones, (developed by Dr. Anna Szilágyi) focuses on fair and constructive communication, which we deliver in the form of workshops for teenagers in local high schools. The sessions are delivered by a pair of university students, one international, one Hungarian. In this way, teenagers are given the opportunity to meet, communicate, and interact with people from distant cultures, and at the same time learn about the powerful role language plays in constructing otherness

Another one of our programs which we hope to make regular are the Zerophobia Concerts, which aim to serve both as introducing orhcestral music to younger audiences and as a collective space for intercultural encounters.

We hope to welcome you in our programs and events.

Thank you very much for visiting our website.