Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Donors and Grant-makers condemn Hungary's actions against human rights donors and local human rights NGOs

 "We, as donor organisations committed to human rights and democratic values, would like to raise our voice in solidarity and to show our concern at recent events that appear to threaten the independence of Hungarian NGOs. Serious allegations made by government actors against well-established, respected Hungarian human rights and civil liberties NGOs raise serious doubts about the commitment of the Hungarian government to its obligations as a democratic government and a member of the European Union.

The exceptional dispatch of government auditors, in person, to three Hungarian civil society organizations that manage the disbursement of funds locally from the European Economic Area and Norway Grants, goes well beyond a disagreement about implementation.
The three members of the consortium — Autonomia Foundation, DemNet and Ökotárs — are well known for the promotion of democracy, defence of human rights and environmental work, as well as for their experience re-granting funds on behalf of other donors, including the European Union, USAID and, more recently, the EEA and Norway Grants. The audit is not only questioned by the organisations under Hungarian law; it is regarded by them as an act of intimidation. The leaking to the media of a list of recipient organizations, including some of the most reputable human rights and civil liberties groups in the country, accusing them of being “problematic” and “left-leaning”, is equally worrying and unfounded.
Human rights watchdogs and other NGOs have a crucially important role in democratic societies, and any political pressure on them, or any attempt to restrict their funding, is against democratic principles, rules and standards. International funding for this work is proof that they are protecting universal values and should not be hindered by governments. Since 2012, the EU recognises civil society as essential to the implementation of rights, and is committed to supporting an enabling environment for civil society, with EU governments required to remain “exemplary in ensuring respect for human rights”.

We hope that the Hungarian government refrains from any further political pressure and shelters its NGO sector from threats and interference. We also call on EU member states and institutions to remain vigilant towards any government pressures on civil society organizations, in particular on human rights and civil liberties watchdogs, which have a fundamental role to play in democracy in Hungary, as well as in every other EU member state”.
Chris Stone, President of the Open Society Foundations
Jordi Vaquer, Director of the Open Society Initiative for Europe
Fund for Global Human Rights
Sigrid Rausing, Founder, Sigrid Rausing Trust
Mama Cash
European Foundations Centre
David French, Director, Alexandria Trust
Amanda Sebesteyn, Member, Network for Social Change
Ise Bosch - Dreilinden
Barrow Cadbury Trust
Marjan Stoffers, Head of Programmes, Mensen met een Missie
The Calumus Foundation, Delaware, USA
Catherine Zennström, Co-Founder Zennström Philanthropies
International Human Rights Programme, Oak Foundation
Hilde Klok, Director, Koornzaayer Foundation
Rebecca Tinsley, Tinsley Charitable Trust
Atallah Kuttab, Founder & Chairman, SAANED for Philanthropy Advisory
Jo Andrews, Director, Ariadne - European Funders for Social Change and Human Rights

This statement has been issued by a number of grant-makers and donors who are members of the Ariadne, European Funders for Social Change and Human Rights.

For background information on this see here and here .

For further information: Contact: jo.andrews@ariadne-network.eu 07768946041

Thursday, 19 June 2014

EUROCLIO: Teaching 1815. Rethinking Waterloo from Multiple Perspectives Braine L’alleud, Belgium |4-8 February 2015

­Apply and be a part of an original and high-profile event that marks a defining moment in European history!
Register now to reserve participation grants!

In partnership with Waterloo Committee 200 and Municipality of Braine L-Alleud, EUROCLIO is organising one of the memorable events of 2015|new International Training Course on Teaching 1815. Rethinking Waterloo from Multiple Perspectives’ which will take place in the historical town of Braine-L’Alleud (Belgium) between 4-8 February 2015 (including travel dates).

Why in 2015, why Waterloo?
2015 will mark the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo, a milestone in Europe’s 19th-century history that marks the end of a series of wars that opposed Napoleonic France and different coalitions between 1792 and 1815. The seminar will act as a source of inspiration for educators to reflect on dynamics and practices of teaching and learning about conflicts and cooperation in Europe throughout the 19th and the 20th century.

It is the significant moment in the History of EUROCLIO, where 25 international, and as much of local history, heritage and citizenship educators will come together to jointly develop transnational educational module and stimulate innovative and multiperspectice ways in teaching and learning about wars. A series of inspiring workshops, platforms for learning and sharing, unique experience of actual historical sites of Waterloo, intercultural nights, joint projects will inspire the participants to remember this event for long.

Interested to apply?
Registration is open until 1 September 2014. Follow the link to apply online. Selected applicants will be offered grants to participate. Due to limited grants for international participation, we recommend you to apply as early aspossible, to reserve grants for your participation.

Fees
All costs for accommodation, meals and the cultural programme of selected participants will be covered by organisers. Travel expenses must be covered by the participants themselves. Partial travel support may be available for a limited number of selected participants in due course. 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Internet Policy and Governance for Human Rights Defenders

Global Partners Digital has just released the first issue of a new series called "Travel Guide to the Digital World" dealing with "Internet Policy and Governance for Human Rights Defenders":
"The internet is the defining technology of our age, transforming relationships in every aspect of our lives, from commerce to politics, from education to art. With these transformations come new opportunities, and also new threats. How the internet operates and is governed affects the rights of users – a new field from which human rights expertise is currently absent. Civil society groups at the table are fighting an unequal fight, and urgently need the strength and depth that the human rights community can bring. It is time for human rights defenders to familiarise themselves with the internet, and prepare to defend human rights online. Internet Policy and Governance for Human Rights Defenders is the first in the Travel Guide to the Digital World series which aims to assist newcomers to understand, follow and engage in the internet policy and governance field. This Travel Guide introduces the history, workings and culture of the virtual world, helping the reader to understand more deeply how these affect their lives and their work."
The publication can be read or downloaded here...

Monday, 16 June 2014

NECE Conference "1914 -2014: Lessons from History? Citizenship Education and Conflict Management"

One hundred years after the start of the First World War, that 'great seminal catastrophe of the 20th century' (George F. Kennan), the NECE initiative is organising its annual conference in Vienna. At the focus of the conference will be the current crises and conflicts inside and outside Europe. Internationally renowned experts, such as Aleida Assmann, Robert Menasse and Ivan Krastev have already confirmed their participation and will enter into a dialogue with the participants.

Heinz Fischer, President of the Republic of Austria, will open the conference on 17 October.

The 2014 NECE Conference will address challenges in Europe against the background of its history of war and conflict in the 20th century. It will ask how citizenship education can deal with the great variety of conflicts in and around Europe today. These include conflicts at Europe’s periphery (Syria, Ukraine, Egypt) and the influx of refugees at the shores of the Mediterranean. Inside Europe political and social conflicts in the wake of the economic crisis have led to a serious loss of trust into the European project. The results of the 2014 European elections have given rise to fears that the populist earthquakes in France, the United Kingdom and other countries will have an impact on the European Union's future agenda. The implicit consensus that, for a long time, shaped the citizens’ attitude towards ‘Europe’ is fundamentally called into question. Nationalistic and xenophobic resentments represent a risk for Europe’s democratic constitution. The economic crisis has turned into a political one.

European philosophers from Hobbes to Kant dealt with peace and war in human societies centuries ago. However, it was not until after the catastrophes of the 20th century that European elites developed a ‘culture of constructive conflict management’ with the European Union as its most important institutional expression. Citizenship education focused on human rights and democracy was created only then. The variety of citizenship education formats and initiatives ideally provide citizens with opportunities for reflection, for dialogue, but also for controversial debates in order to negotiate, attenuate and solve the conflicts that inevitably arise in democracies.

The 2014 NECE Conference offers a platform for pursuing current issues in citizenship education in Europe: Are our current patterns of thinking and discourse still appropriate for dealing with the particular challenges and crises of the European democracies today? Workshops will deal, among other aspects, with the following questions:

  • How can new arguments and methods for dealing with the populist currents in Europe be developed?
  • What citizenship education instruments can be utilized for managing and solving conflicts? What role can dialogic approaches and attitudes play? Are there limits to intervention, for instance, in the Syrian civil war, in the Ukraine or in Egypt?
  • What are the tasks of citizenship education in terms of analysing power structures and fostering the participation of citizens? How much controversy can citizenship education bear?
  • How can we develop formats for handling conflicts, diversity and democracy as an ‘institutionalized uncertainty’ (Jan Werner Müller)? 
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of NECE, past NECE Activities will be presented in a small exhibition during the conference. Additionally, a project market will be provided in order to present good practice projects in citizenship education. As a tribute to the conference venue we will offer a Waltz dancing lesson for everyone before we will start the discussions.

Conference language is English (without simultaneous translation).
For further information and the current draft programme, please check our website www.nece.eu regularly.
There is no conference fee. The organisers do not cover travel and accommodation costs. Places are limited!
Please register here: https://lcem.lab-concepts.de/registration/nece-conference-2014/en

We are looking forward to welcoming you in Vienna!

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us.

Kind regards
on behalf of the Federal Agency for Civic Education
Juliane Rast

lab concepts
the Laboratory for Conception and Realisation
for Politics, Education and Culture GmbH
Friedrichstrasse 206 | 10969 Berlin
Phone: +49 (0) 30 / 252 932 56
Fax: +49 (0) 30 / 252 932 61
e-mail: nece-vienna2014@lab-concepts.de
Web: www.lab-concepts.de

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Conference: in Defense of Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights, Seville, 27/28 June 2014

In defense of Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights

In February 2013, hundreds of organizations, including DARE, signed a memorandum sent to the Council of Europe to denounce the elimination of Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights of the Spanish curriculum. We achieved a lot of support and international impact and we now need to request again the union of the organizations that signed the text to demand together, in a conference at Seville, that Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights is not an education that we can ignore and eliminate from any European official curriculum. We need European schools, now more than ever, to educate in important issues as the fight against poverty, racism, gender equality or the democratic values ​​that allow the creation of active and participatory citizens.

European Conference on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights
Sign up for the conference on 27 and 28 June in the Parliament of Andalusia (Seville) to defend an education based on democracy and human rights.
Different Spanish and European organizations will be attending this Conference to debate and reflect on the current Spanish and European situation. There will be two days of panel discussions that seek to give voice to all those organizations that are committed to democratic and human rights education. Political representatives will also attend the date and the final goal is to develop all together proposals to avoid the elimination of this education in Spain and in any other European country.

We can provide 1 night accommodation and travel cost (up to 250€) to every organization that wants to attend and participate in the Seville conference. We will soon send you the final program and the logistical information. As we have limited places available for reimbursement of costs, please confirm as soon as you can if you are interested in attend the conference.
What have we achieved so far?
A year after joining forces in this cause, we have made ​​progress in raising awareness of the problem, especially at the European level. Our complaint has been answered and supported by the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, exposed to the Unit of Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights of the Council of Europe, exposed at the European Parliament and the Spanish Parliament, we agreed with the Spanish State Council’s report on the issue and we won the support of hundreds of organizations from different countries.
All these steps are small victories raised thanks to the support and union of many organizations. We now want to involve as many organizations as we can in another effort to continue our fight and prove to the Spanish Administration the need to provide civic education ​​in all European countries to achieve a more participative, active and respectful society based on common democratic values.

Why do we have to keep fighting?
Because Spain cannot afford to stay out of an Education promoted by the Council of Europe that seeks to end with democratic disaffection in Europe.
Because there are many threats in our everyday realities : violence, intolerance, homophobia , corruption, loss of rights, public disaffection..
Because we need to educate new generations in democratic attitudes that allow active participation in matters that directly affect our lives.
Because only the development of critical consciousness can empower citizens to discuss, discern and act accordingly in situations that will determine their fate and behavior.



Edurne Grau
Coordinadora
Fundación Cives
fb_parafirma (2)Twt_firma
T: 91 298 65 55 ext.17
skype: edurne.grau
C/Viriato 2, 1º, puerta 3

28015 Madrid

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

CfP: Bookmarks: training course for educators and teachers on combating hate speech online through human rights education

CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS

15 - 19 October 2014, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
The Council of Europe has recently published Bookmarks, a manual on combating hate speech online through human rights education. Bookmarks includes educational activities for young people aged 13 to 18 years old. Bookmarks is intended as a key reference of the No Hate Speech Campaign. In 2014 the Council of Europe will organise several training activities in cooperation with national campaign committees. These training serve to support trainers and educators and other campaign activists who work in educational settings.
The Council of Europe launches a call for participants for a training course for educators and teachers on combating hate speech online through human rights education.
All interested candidates should fill in the online application form at http://youthapplications.coe.int/Application-forms
The training course will be carried out in French.

Read the training course presentation. Deadline: 28 August 2014


Mara Georgescu
Educational Advisor | Conseillère pédagogique
Youth Department | Service de la jeunesse
Directorate of Democratic Citizenship and Participation - Council of Europe
Direction de la Citoyenneté et de la Participation démocratiques - Conseil de l'Europe
European Youth Centre | Centre européen de la jeunesse
30, rue Pierre de Coubertin - F-67000 Strasbourg, France
Tel:   + 33 3 88 41 22 95+ 33 3 88 41 22 95
www.coe.int/youthwww.coe.int/Compass

EUCIS-LLL: DRAWING LESSONS FROM THE ELECTIONS FOR THE FUTURE OF EUROPE


Brussels, 2 June 2014 /// EUCIS-LLL takes stock of the European elections and calls on new Members of the European Parliament to draw lessons of the ballot outcomes by delivering better for economic development, social and civic participation and well-being. Inclusive growth is definitely the forgotten pillar of the Europe 2020 strategy and consequently of EU action in education and training. Austerity measures have hit hard our welfare systems and increased inequalities within and between EU countries. EUCIS-LLL believes Europe should make a sustainable investment in public goods such as education, training and research. We also need a genuine debate about the European political project with everyone on board – the elections were a missed opportunity in that respect.

In the aftermath of the elections, Europe wakes up with the unpleasant feeling that its citizens have jumped off the boat. Very high level of abstention (up to 87% in some Member States) and rise of extreme-right wing parties are the two observations that can be made from which many lessons can be learned. For that matter, EUCIS-LLL believes Europe should make a sustainable investment in public goods such as education, training and research for economic development, social and civic participation and well-being. Only by delivering better on all these aspects will Europe prevent so many citizens to turn their back from our ideal of integration and solidarity.

One cannot really say it came as a surprise: severe austerity measures apparently coming from illegitimate technocrats, European growth obsession leaving ideals of social justice behind, populations in distress with desolating levels of basic skills and youth unemployment, increasing regional disparities and welfare state disengagement (16 Member States decreased their level of expenditure in education between 2008 and 2011) were as many red flags of the success of extremist political ideas during those elections. EUCIS-LLL firmly believes that we should refocus transnational cooperation on equity and social cohesion. Let us re-engage to deliver the vision of a social Europe with high levels of quality education in respect of Article 9 of the Treaty.

All EU political parties presenting a candidate to the European elections committed to invest in quality and accessible education and many candidates have supported the 12 principles of EUCIS-LLL Manifesto “Building together the future of learning”. It is time for newly elected decision-makers to sustain this commitment and put lifelong learning in the front stage. European cooperation in education and training is indubitably one of the best levers to fight intolerance, fear of the other and identitarian closure and nationalism, for instance thanks to great community programmes such as Erasmus+. Concretely, it means that the mid-term review of the Europe 2020 Strategy and the EU Strategic Framework for Education and Training (ET2020) should take into account the message sent by voters (and non-voters). Inclusive growth is definitely the forgotten pillar of the Europe 2020 strategy and consequently of EU action in education and training. Efficient, innovative but also affordable, inclusive and flexible learning pathways should become the top priority.

Besides, taking stock of EU cooperation frameworks should not be made from an ivory tower. Electoral abstaining is the symptom of disillusioned European citizens that no longer believe in the power of ballot boxes or even sometimes in the European ideal of our founding fathers. Let us not lose another parliamentary term and look in despair at the 2019 elections turnout rates. European democracy does not need another cheap European Year of Citizens; it needs a genuine debate on the European political project with everyone on board. Citizenship education is a key for people to get ownership of what happens in Brussels, and it is not only the responsibility of decision-makers but also of the media. Civil society organisations have also a crucial role to play in that sense: let us not forget participative democracy, at least, is still vividly contributing to a social Europe and the best ally of the new European Parliament. Putting back on the table the European Statute of European Association would give a positive signal to millions of citizens who are engaged to promote dialogue, cooperation and understanding across Europe.

See EUCIS-LLL Manifesto supported by more than 30 former MEPs or candidate MEPs during the campaign.


Contact: Audrey Frith, EUCIS-LLL Policy Officer, +32 2 234 61 92, audrey.frith@eucis-lll.eu

Notes to the editors: The European Civil Society Platform on Lifelong Learning (EUCIS-LLL) is anumbrella organisation that gathers 33 European networks active in the field of education and training, coming from all EU Member States and beyond. Currently these organisations represent more than 45 000 educational institutions (schools, universities, adult education and youth centres, etc.) or associations (involving students, teachers and trainers, parents, HRD professionals, etc.) covering all sectors of formal, non-formal and informal learning. Their members reach out to several millions of beneficiaries. Established in 2005, EUCIS-LLL promotes a vision of lifelong learning based on equity, social cohesion, active citizenship and personal development. The platform works as a space for knowledge exchange between its member networks and uses their expertise to discuss and feed in EU policy-making, making sure that European citizens have their voice heard. In that sense EUCIS-LLL contributes to a better understanding and dialogue between the grassroots level and European institutions. www.eucis-lll.eu