Constanze „Conni“ Schwaerzer-Dutta worked with almost 100 organizations and about 2000 people in the last ten years to dismantle bias and discrimination, to appreciate diversity and to develop inclusive attitudes and practices. Her name is pronounced something like “Constanze Shwertzer-Dutta”, so feel free to call her Conni or Ms. Dutta.
She trains the examiners for the final exams in vocational training of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI, in German IHK) Berlin in cross-cultural communication, equal opportunity and inclusion. She worked with the Case Management Trainers of the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) to uncover their unconscious or implicit biases. She gave a lecture for executives of the administration of the German Federal Parliament (Deutscher Bundestag) about teamwork between people with and without disabilities. She gave Anti-Bias-Trainings with a focus on gender for international activists in English language. She facilitated participatory planning workshops in Spanish language. She regularly teaches seminars für university teachers, administrative staff and students. She had the chance to work with wonderful colleagues such as Karun Dutta, Lorena Mercado and Dr. Prasad Reddy.
Growing up as a single mother’s daughter in a conservative environment, Conni was sensitized to exclusionary norms and structures early on. At the same time she began to feel her unearned privilege as a white German from a financially secure family in comparison to many of her friends and within in society as a whole. This led her to political and social activities in antiracist and feminist movements. With Respect Berlin she gained her first experiences in self-organized and interactive educational work. During her studies in Political Science she was fascinated by the work of Black Feminists. Their criticism of the racism and classism of white middle class womens’ movements gave her the knowledge and tools to better understand different forms of oppression in their structural and everyday manifestations and to examine her own role in them.
In her final thesis (Diplomarbeit, equals Master’s Thesis) she returned to her childhood experience and questioned norms and exclusions in family policies and family sociology. Years later she is now especially happy to share this knowledge and criticism and put it into practice as a part of Berlin’s newly founded Reproductive Justice Network.
Conni later became part of a transnational German-Indian blended family. Counseling international students and undocumented workers, she discovered her talent for counseling, but she also discovered her own lacks in experience and therefore competence due to her privileged position. The educational work with the Anti-Bias-Approach, which came to Germany from South Africa in the 1990s, enabled her to better live up to the claims and expectations she had for society and herself. She has come a long way in transforming power in responsibility, know-it-all-attitude in empathy and her own experiences of being discriminated against in capacities to act. After participating in several facilitator trainings, together with Karun Dutta she developed the training course on transcultural counseling which she had wished for as a counselor. Since 2011 she is working self-employed as a trainer, facilitator and counselor or coach. In the pandemic times since 2020 she started writing regularly and 2022 her first book “Liebe mit Köpfchen. Beziehungstipps einer Autist*in für neurodiverse Paare” (Love with brains. Relationship advice from an autistic person for neurodiverse couples) came out.
As a trainer Conni distinguishes herself by a clear responsibility to the content of her work – anti-bias and anti-discrimination. While being process-oriented to suit participants’ need, she never loses her focus on desired and realistic outcomes. Her training style is formed by her expert knowledge about topics such as gender, family and migration, her experience in self-organized workshops and in large-group facilitation since 2003 and her joy of hosting people and groups in private and professionally. She plans events in detail, facilitates and counsels in a structured way, chooses active and effective, but never overwhelming, methods and teaches scientific findings with ease and passion.
Conni considers her neurodivergence, which she discovered later in life, an advantage in this sense. Like many fellow autists she has a great passion for learning things, especially when they don’t come to her naturally, a passion which she transmits to her participants. She can look where others prefer to turn away and speak about topics loaded with fear sensitively but without shyness.
She can manage group processes consciously precisely because she doesn’t get carried away by groups’ unconscious processes. Navigating and translating between autistic and neurotypical worlds is an additional layer of experience, which helps Conni to understand the diversity and complexity of human thoughts and feelings and to develop capacities to deal with this diversity in a constructive and empowering way.
Conni wants every participant to leave her trainings empowered and conscious of their responsibility, their resources and the power and solidarity we can draw from our less pleasant experiences and our deprivileged identities.
Expertise and Identities
Topics which Conni knows about and likes to work on
from different perspectives
- diversity, stereotypes, prejudice, implicit bias, anti-bias, anti-discrimination
- transcultural or multicultural counseling, anti-oppressive practice in counseling
- reproductive justice
from a partially discriminated perspective
- gender, sexism
- familism, diversity in and discrimination of family and relationship forms
- neurodiversity, neurodiscrimination, ableism
from a privileged perspective
- transcultural communication
If you want to know more about my experiences and identities and how they relate to my work, feel free to ask me.
Training and Certification
- Diploma in Political Science (equals today’s Master Degree), Free University of Berlin, Germany
- Facilitator, trained in Technology of Participation at the Instituto de Asuntos Culturales, Madrid, Spain
- Basic Counselor of Positive Psychotherapie (with a focus on family and couple counseling), trained and certified at the International Academy for Positive and Transcultural Psychotherapie, Wiesbaden, Germany
- Couple Counselor for Neurodiverse Couples, trained and certified by The Asperger / Autism Network (AANE) in Watertown und New York City, USA
- “Barrier Scout” (enabled to do on-site accessibility assessments of buildings and spaces), trained and certified by Sozialheld*innen, Berlin
- “Liebe mit Köpfchen: Beziehungstipps einer Autist*in für neurodiverse Paare”. 2022
- Unlearning Discrimination: experiences with the anti-bias approach in adult-education in Germany. In: Jungwirth, Ingrid; Bauschke-Urban, Carola (Hg.): Gender and Diversity Studies. European Perspectives. 2019 open access here
A detailed CV is available on request.