Email message from Anne Stalfort:
Anne Stalfort´s professional background is fundraising and PR. During the last 15 years she worked for several European and international exchange programs run by the DAAD, the Robert Bosch Foundation and Humanity in Action. She is very much looking forward to work with the members of the current DARE- Project. In a network of ambitious individuals who are also interested in making sure that Democracy and Human Rights Education becomes a vital part of adult learning in Europe.
Dear DARE members, dear friends and colleagues,
This General Assembly following the ordinary one last June in Sofia for me personally is a special event. It is the farewell from my professional life. And that is why some personal remarks are allowed.
It has been a long life of building international cooperation; 32 years, starting with partnerships in Poland, Israel, the former Soviet Union, later Russia and the Baltic countries, Spain, and projects with the UK, France and Italy. Later on Mongolia joined, leaving behind the European borders and Palestine, the other side of the Israel coin. All partnerships, all projects focused on topics of education for democracy and human rights (which - by the way - was a specific challenge with the partners behind the Iron Curtain!). Democracy and human rights education has been the centre of my work. So it was a symbolic act for me to start the still existing trialogue between German, Israeli and Palestinian women on Human Rights Day 1998. The project Women Engendering Peace and Democracy survived a second Intifada and the last Lebanon war in 2005, not to speak of daily li
fe obstacles between occupied and occupiers, which prevented communication for long periods.
Where has been the place of DARE in my professional life? Monday again is Human Rights Day. This time the date does not mark the starting point of a women's network from one of the most dangerous conflict areas of the world. This time we have a European network with a young history, but hopefully with a great future. For the first time DARE initiated Synchronized Action Days in order to make visible encouraging examples of human rights education all over Europe.
As you all know, the DARE network was founded in August 2002, more than 5 years ago now. When AdB invited to this first meeting a long discussion in our organisation had taken place already. In the German organisational context it did not go without saying to take the responsibility for a Europe-wide network of NGOs active in the field of education for democracy and human rights. But Europe-wide there must have been a need and similar ideas. Otherwise the positive reaction to this invitation to one of the most distant areas of Germany in the middle of a forest would have not been as successful as it was. A Council of Europe project on education for democratic citizenship and human rights had already been in place since 1997 - a top-down initiative, focusing on school education. The new network DARE was to be a bottom- up project. It would link grass-root initiatives and encourage them. It would give them a voice and look for allies both in the academic field and in politics. I should like to remind you of the two main objectives we described in our first paper:
1. NGOs for democracy and human rights education tend to work without adequate resources and in isolation. They are therefore inhibited in their access to information, to potential European partners and to effective lobbying;
2. NGOs for democracy and human rights education are closely interrelated, but still have the tendency to treat both fields separately.
The new DARE network wanted to focus on both - and wanted to achieve the establishment of both as twin fields of education and Europe-wide as a core obligation of any education.
Where do we stand now after five years of cooperation and communication? According to our treasurer's exact figures DARE has 38 members in 23 countries. We have the pleasure to welcome three new members this year, from the UK, from Poland and from Germany. We organized 12 seminars and conferences open for all DARE members and - the conferences - for professionals in EDC/HRE, stakeholders and policy makers. In two continuous groups we worked on strategies for democracy and human rights education in Europe and we made DARE and the work of its members visible through two publications.
DARE was invited to join a working group of the European Commission, transferred information to the CoE (some of our members are national coordinators in the CoE-Project), were invited to give recommendations and be part of the evaluations of the European Year of Citizenship through Education in 2005. DARE became partner in a European project of the Danish University of Education on education for democratic citizenship in LLL which will be finished with the end of this year.
This sums up only the most obvious activities. Much more has been done through the members themselves. Each member has contributed a lot to the existence of DARE by their commitment, their loyalty, their professional input, their additional work. Above all it is due to them that in a way DARE is on solid ground now. This is no reason to be satisfied. It is a challenge to check any possibility to grow, to foster our dialogue, to improve our work.
Wim - as you know, one of the founding fathers and editor of e-DARE - recently wrote that networking is not an end in itself. How true! In the years I have been coordinator of the Grundtvig-project and chairwomen of the network, it has been for me personally the most encouraging support to know and to experience with each meeting that we share a similar vision. We see education for democracy and human rights not as the necessary lyrics for successful proposals or lip service for project management - but as the substantial part of professional self-understanding, a directive for daily work. This generates in my eyes standards (benchmarks) for the inner life of an organization. Procedures have to follow democratically organised decisions; decisions have to be transparent and understandable; a process of communication has to be organised which includes all and does not ignore anybody.
I can tell you that this belonged to the most difficult tasks I felt I had to handle. Networking is not an end in itself - to come back to this truth - but networking needs communication, communication, communication. And communication needs time and personal presence. I am convinced that the stability of the network also in the very difficult times last year was an outcome of years of building trust by communication. When we could not count any more on further funding from the European Commission it turned out that we had the energies to continue. Trust does not mean harmony. Communication includes critical interfering and conflicts on different perspectives. But in the end we should know that there is reliability and commitment for similar goals. I want to mention at this point a person who has been a centre of communication during the last years, always encouraging, listening, going for
ward, giving critical support thus being an important authority within DARE. Katrin (Wolf). She contributed a lot to the creation of an identity within the network and I regret that she left - in a way DARE was her baby as it was mine. She sends her regards and - of course - crosses fingers for a great future for DARE.
I also thank my colleagues from the board who supported and inspired me in good and in difficult times. Let me mention Margot (Brown) and Frank (Elbers). Both are leaving the board.
Margot inspired and often structured our work with her brilliant educational expertise, her international experience, her soft and convincing way to bring us always back to the elementary needs and standards of human rights education.
Frank was our global player with links in human rights education all over the world. He was the heart of electronic communication within the network, created, designed the website and was in charge of it. This has been the most visible of his contributions to the growth of DARE, but, of course, not the only one. The ICT- training on HRE/ EDC in Budapest, DARE's first open conference in Soesterberg, stocktaking the UN-decade of Human Rights Education, the gender input in Vilnius: they all gave evidence of his comprehensive understanding and his commitment for democracy and human rights education.
And as I am leaving together with them I stop looking back and want to take up the last keyword: DARE's future.
To start with the material basis: all main activities for the next three years will be funded by the Grundtvig project. Georg (Pirker) will coordinate the project in close cooperation with the 15 partner organizations. The backbone of all activities will be the work of the continuous groups focusing substantial questions and problems of EDC and HRE, on the level of contents, on the level of organisation, on the level of advocacy, political impact and visibility. When writing the proposal I had in mind the different speeds of network and project. Therefore this time it is also possible for DARE members who are not involved in the project to join a group of their interest. By the way: we need this support. Each member who joins helps to improve the professional outcome. This is the invitation to get involved in the Grundtvig project which is the fundamental material basis for our activities.
At the same time there will be a clearer separation between DARE project and DARE network. One of the missing points in the last years was the lack of common projects. Our members have so much in common. They have the advantage of knowing one another. So common projects should be one of the easier exercises we have to manage - to the benefit of each member and of the network. I refer again to the synchronized action days. With the support of the project they are a wonderful opportunity to publish good practice examples all over Europe, to raise awareness for them also on national level and to strengthen education for democracy and human rights as a field of education.
We have an outstanding task: we educate and this always is an investment in the future. A united Europe as a project has to be matched against its contribution to civilisation. Wars and armed conflicts are not far history. Monsieur Juncker once said: Who has doubts about the need for a united Europe should visit a war cemetery. Europe is built on armed conflicts.
Education for Democracy and Human Rights is the heart of prevention. We have to teach and to live the respect of every human being, equal rights and opportunities, non-discrimination. The growth of a European identity is only possible on this basis, not as an abstract credo but as an ongoing challenge for each of us. I know, we are only few and although we have been growing DARE still is a low voice for a great vision. Let me end with an idea of the German philosopher Hegel who spoke of the impotence of the imperative in comparison to the power of dreams. Without the dream of a more just, more civilised, more respectful, more tolerant society we lose our goals and block our energies. I got to know you as persons with dreams. We shared an important time, communicating our dreams and bringing them into action. This is an experience for which I am grateful.
So I say farewell with a mourning and a laughing eye, as we say in German. Mourning because I shall move from the centre to the edge, but laughing because I am sure that DARE is a vivid network and a committed, responsible community which will grow and convince by its way of working and acting.
Thank you for all the solidarity and friendship during the last years.
Hannelore Chiout, Arbeitskreis deutscher Bildungsstätten (AdB) (Germany)
The Goethe Institute Sarajevo (www.goethe.de/sarajevo) organised an in-service training weekend for German language teachers in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Amongst four parallel training seminars, one dealt with the question: How can democratic competencies be strengthened in German lessons? The seminar was developed and delivered by Ingrid Halbritter from the German NGO Pharos (www.pharos-online.org).
The training course focused on two aspects:
1. What are the competencies a democratically skilled citizen must acquire?
2. How can German teachers incorporate relevant activities in their lessons?
The first question was tackled using a broad concept of democracy based on John Dewey (democracy as a form of government, democracy as a form of society, democracy as a form of living). Within the framework of this concept it becomes obvious that citizens must acquire a wide spectrum of competencies, ranging from cognitive knowledge and analytical skills to interpersonal communication skills and skills for non-violent conflict resolution.
Based on a concept developed by Gerhard Himmelmann , the German teachers identified concrete and practical teaching ideas, methods and topics for 24 areas of democratic competencies - and surprisingly realized that they are strengthening democratic competencies already without being aware of it!
Here are two examples:
|Democratic competence||Idea for German Teaching|
|Recognition of diversity in society and respect for persons belonging to another culture||An exercise in German where food like pizza, spring roles etc. is connected to the respective country
|Commitment to sustainable development||Discussion in the foreign language on what individuals can do (e.g. bring bags instead of using plastic bags, buy local products and returnable packing)|
For German language teachers who are interested in this topic: a number of ideas for teaching elaborated at the training seminar are available on the following web-site: www.goethe.de/sarajevo
Ingrid Halbritter, Pharos e.V. Stuttgart (Germany), www.pharos-online.org
The voting age across the world is typically 18 after a large number of countries lowered it from 21 during the last century. A further reduction below 18 is currently considered by several democracies like Australia, Canada, the UK, the USA or Venezuela. Suffrage for local elections has been enfranchised to youth aged 16 or 17 respectively in Israel, five federal states of Germany and the canton of Glarus in Switzerland.
There are only few states around the world that have already reduced the voting age for national elections below 18: East Timor, Indonesia, North Korea, the Seychelles and Sudan lowered it to 17 years; Austria, Brazil, Cuba, Nicaragua and the British Crown Dependencies (Isle of Man, Guernsey, Jersey) decreased it to 16 years.
Special regulations apply in Bosnia, Serbia and Slovenia where youth between the age of 16 and 18 are allowed to vote only if employed. The lowest voting age (15) had been introduced in Iran but the decision was later reversed though it might soon be restored again.
By contrast the highest minimum age for elections is 25 in Uzbekistan (and for elections to the Senate in Italy).
The reduction of the age of active suffrage to 16 years and that of passive suffrage to 18 in Austria was part of a so-called democracy package passed by the Austrian Parliament in June 2007. The move has initially been met with scepticism: According to a survey by political scientist Peter Filzmaier, only a minority of 47% of youth between the age of 14 and 17 and 33% of the teachers were in favour of that decision.
In November 2007, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Science launched a democracy initiative aiming at the democratic empowerment of (first) voters and the binding implementation of Education for Democratic Citizenship (EDC) in schools and in teacher training.
The Ministry of Education provided new funds for the advancement of EDC and defined the following strategic key points:
Schools can now apply for financial support of EDC projects. Young people will also be encouraged to suggest actions for the advancement of democracy and participation in Austria.
A participation platform with, by and for young people will be fully launched on 31 January 2008. It will include video blog, podcast and text blog. The website www.entscheidend-bist-du.at (It's you that counts) will increase the visibility of all activities under the umbrella of the democracy initiative.
The initiative is scheduled until the end of 2008. Its final event will be linked to the 14th Meeting of the Council of Europe's EDC/HRE Coordinators in Vienna from 13 to 15 November 2008. Furthermore it will overlap with a conference organised by the DARE network and dedicated to the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue from 14 to 16 November 2008 in the capital of Austria.
More information: www.entscheidend-bist-du.at, http://www.bmukk.gv.at/medienpool/15773/aen52.pdf (a pdf file)
Reinhard Eckert, polis - Centre for Citizenship Education in Schools (Austria)
European Handbook on Democratic School Governance
Initial work has begun on a project to develop a European Handbook on Democratic School Governance. This resource is to be targeted at school 'developers' across Europe and will, in the first instance, take the form of a hard-copy publication. The project is funded by the Network of European Foundations through the auspices of its Initiative for Learning Democracy in Europe project and is being carried out in collaboration with a consortium of two German organizations: the German Association of Democratic Education (DeGeDe) and the Regional Association for Integration and Education for Democracy (RAA).
Teaching materials on European Citizenship
Work has also begun on a second project funded by the Network of European Foundations as part of its Initiative for Learning Democracy in Europe programme. This is a project to develop an on-line 'resource kit' on European citizenship for teachers across Europe working with young people in the 14-19 age group. The aim is to begin to raise awareness of the EU and European issues among young European citizens who have little concept or understanding of what being a European citizen means.
Diversity and Dialogue - projects developing understanding between young people of different faiths and culture within the context of shared citizenship.
The Diversity and Dialogue programme is a series of projects/activities promoting a sense of shared citizenship amongst diverse groups of young people from age 14 upwards. Young people are encouraged and supported in activities which build a sense of trust and respect, develop understanding of other people's cultures and background, develhop understanding of relevant world events or issues which affect members of the relevant communities in this country. Students are also encouraged to identify local action projects to do together, encouraging a shared sense of citizenship and civic identity. The project also is building a national database of local/regional dialogue projects. There is also an experimental inter-cultural 'urban/rural' exchange happening between students from a rural community where ethnic minority families are rare and an inner-city school, where the majority of students have ethnic minority backgrounds.
Living Together - a project for the British Council developing a set of resources around the theme of diversity, migration and integration, with the aim of assisting the integration of minority groups into the public life of their new communities.
The Citizenship Foundation is developing a set of materials to address issues around the integration of minority groups into public life of the host communities. The materials, aimed at students of 14 upwards, will be trialled in a range of countries particularly in South East Europe. The materials will be linked with an international exchange programme organised by the British Council, but they will be able to be used in 'stand alone' ways. This work is intended to complement and enrich the work already undertaken by the Council of Europe. This work is part of the British Council's Living Together project (www.britishcouncil.org.uk/livingtogether)
Questioning racism - a project to develop a philosophical or enquiry based approach to the question of racism and the challenge of prejudice reduction.
As part of an on-going project to develop and support more effective pedagogies against racism and prejudice, the Citizenship Foundation is developing and trialling some new materials incorporating a more open-ended exploratory approach to the issue of racism, in contrast to some approaches which are more explicitly didactic. The project is predicated on the basis that more open-ended approaches, acknowledge that racism is contested (and there is wide disagreement about what is, in fact, racist), students are more likely to be open to new ideas if they engage in open rational examination of these complex issues.
Children rights - materials development project with a major British Charity to develop a range of materials around children's rights as experienced in Britain and internationally.
The Foundation is working with a major charity, Save the Children, to develop some new materials around Children's rights. The target age group is 9-11 year-olds. The format is that a selection of rights is discussed in a UK context and then the same rights are examined in an international context, with particular reference to areas where Save the Children is active. The materials focus on the rights to protection, participation, education, and economic well-being. The materials are due to be published in the spring of this year on the internet.
Economic awareness project with members of the community
As part of its drive to do more 'economic citizenship' focused work, the Citizenship Foundation has teamed up with a major insurance company (Norwich Union, part of AVIVA group) to develop some material on economically relevant citizenship issues, including health, education, transport, and the environment. The lesson materials are being delivered by staff from NU offices, working as volunteers in school. The benefits are that community members bring a sense of the real world into school, in areas where many citizenship teachers lack expertise. The lesson materials are developed centrally by the Foundation and structured in such a way that they can be used by the volunteers who work in teams with small groups of students. NU have large administrative offices around the country. Regional events will bring students together to debate economic issues in public forums.
8. Distance learning programme in Citizenship and History Education offered by the Institute of Education University of London.
Applications are again invited for our post-graduate distance learning programme. There is a strong focus on human rights and children's rights as the basis of citizenship. Modules run from November 2008 - June 2009.
Full details are at: http://www.londonexternal.ac.uk/citizenship .
If you are involved with human rights education you can update your knowledge and understanding whilst studying from home or your place of work. You can take a single course or follow the programme through to master's level. The programme director is Hugh Starkey, who has written three of the modules and who tutors two of them.
DARE members and their contacts may be particularly interested in two new modules.
Learning to Live Together: children's rights, citizenship and identities examines the implications of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child for education in diverse societies.
History, Culture and Citizenship: using museums, galleries and heritage explores many examples from across the world of the powerful learning experiences that museums and heritage sites can provide. The focus is on human rights issues.
The course attracts an international group of students, following the course together and communicating with each other and with the tutor through a specially designed and password protected virtual learning environment (VLE).
For other enquiries, please contact the course administrator, Ruth Shewan
9. International Centre for Education for Democratic Citizenship (ICEDC) second annual conference (London, 14 June 2008)
Following the very successful 2007 conference, the second ICEDC conference will be on the theme Civil Society, Democracy and Education.
Full details at: http://www.bbk.ac.uk/icedc/
Hugh Starkey, PhD, Reader of Education, Institute of Education, University of London (UK)
10. Results from the Regional European Meeting on the World Programme for Human Rights Education (Strasbourg, 5-6 November 2007) (*)
A Regional European Meeting on the World Programme for Human Rights Education (WPHRE) was held in Strasbourg on 5 and 6 November 2007. The aim of the meeting was to assist the Council of Europe and OSCE member states in monitoring and supporting the national implementation of the Plan of Action for the first phase of the WPHRE, which is dedicated to the integration of human rights education into primary and secondary school systems.
The Working Group discussions provided a rich and provocative evaluation of the WPHRE and the practice and prospects for HRE in schools in Europe. Some selective findings of the discussions are:
Conference participants proposed a series of supports for the Council of Europe and the meeting's co-sponsors (the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights-OHCHR, UNESCO and the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights-OSCE/ODIHR):
At the conclusion of the meeting, participants felt enriched by the experiences of peers who have been successfully engaging in HRE/EDC/EMRU in schools. It is evident that there a growing awareness of and support for HRE from policymakers, civil society organizations and professionals in both formal and non-formal education. Moreover there is an increasing demand for seeking and developing expertise in HRE. This awareness needs to be developed into practical strategies that can be used locally, but coordinated and supported nationally.
There are a number of creative tensions that need to be managed, including tensions between the formal and non-formal education sectors and between all stakeholders in HRE. There are conceptual tensions between HRE and EDC in terms of umbrella frameworks, and whether HRE should be cross-curricular, integrated, or a separate subject altogether. There remains a need to have a common understanding of HRE within a set of initiatives that includes citizenship education, global education, and EDC - all of whom are related but are not the same. The Framework policy document under development at the Council of Europe shows promise in providing conceptual clarity in relation to all of these themes. Evaluation and research was an area identified as requiring special attention, in addition to legislative developments. The roles of teachers and school leaders also have to be recognized and directly supported.
The opportunity to participate in the Regional Meeting and the potential supports offered by the Council of Europe, the OHCHR, OSCE/ODIHR and UNESCO were very much appreciated by participants. The Council of Europe and the other co-sponsors of the Regional Meeting will continue to play an invaluable role in engaging and supporting member states' involvement in HRE. HRE that is national in scope, systematic and sustained can only come about through the fruitful cooperation of governmental and non-governmental actors. This will bring us several steps closer to creating a human rights reality in each of our communities and countries.
(*) A comprehensive report about the meeting will be made available on the Council of Europe website. A Compendium of Good Practices of Human Rights Education, that this Compendium is being compiled by HREA on behalf of partners and will be published in December 2008 and will be available at: http://www.hrea.org/compendium/
Felisa Tibbitts, HREA
|This newsletter is edited by the DARE project 'Democracy and Human Rights Education in Adult Learning', which receives funding from the European Community (Lifelong Learning Programme).|
The authors remain responsible for the content of their contribution.
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