General Assembly 2023: Twenty Years DARE Network

The General Assembly was dedicated to the anniversary. Twenty years ago, Europe was different. The new member states were not yet part of the EU, the transition to democracy and the question of how Europe would come together anew after the collapse of the dictatorships in Central and Eastern Europe were in the foreground. For us it was and is clear: on the basis of democracy and human rights, in a society that promotes co-determination and public engagement, that enables its citizens to think critically and to act actively and in solidarity. After twenty years, some things have changed, some things have remained similar. What is clear is that advocacy for democracy education is as necessary as ever. Today, in the face of populism and polarization, war again, democracy fatigue and shrinking places and global crises.

Daniela Kolarova and Sebastian Bock prepared short speeches, Wim Taelman and Hannelore Chiout were sending us their best wishes.

In addition to this look back, this year we took the time to hold a future workshop for DARE. Because our network is growing and developing, new generations are joining us. On the other hand, European networking remains a resource challenge, which we meet with collaboration, projects and advocacy.

An amendment to our Articles of Association takes into account the fact that Belarus and Russia are no longer part of the Council of Europe, a circumstance that was unthinkable twenty years ago. As a European network for democracy and human rights, we are committed to all those who work for democracy in their countries.

We’d like to thank Daniela, Sebastian, Hannelore and Wim, Georg Pirker (who was unfortunately not able to attend but prepared this GA and workshop), and Silvia Volpi and Mario Monciatti (from Rete educare ai diritti umani) hosting us in Follonica!

We also say “welcome to our network” This year joined:

  • The Eastern European Network of Citizenship Education,
  • The Civic Education Teachers’ Forum Association,
  • C.R.O.N.O. – The Centre of Resources for Oltenian Non-profit Organizations,
  • the new associate members Marco Oberosler and Tanveer Parnez,
  • Patrik Kessler as a Board member (replacing Rebecca Welge until 2024). Thank you Rebecca, welcome Patrik!

“Your work is more meaningful than ever. Each project, each activity, each attempt to spread and ensure the acceptance of Human Rights in our countries is a brick in the wall of resistance. Your cooperation proves a different and human option  to live and to work together, overcoming borders of so many kinds. Maja Uzelac from Croatia, former member of the board of DARE and head of Mali Korak, Centre for the Culture of Peace and Non-Violence, a NGO started in times of war, a common project of Croatian and Serbian women,  wrote in our first publication „Why DARE?“ :

„What we needed was communication with Europe-wide NGOs of EDC and HRE but in a very democratic way. We needed expertise and pooling of experience, dialogue with different viewpoints on key issues of HRE and EDC, but also recognition for what we have done or learned in the times of post-communist transition and war/ post-war situation.“

Hannelore Chiout, founder of DARE