Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Lisbon Forum 2009: Creating a Culture of Human Rights through Education (Lisbon, 13-14 November 2009)

North-South Centre of the Council of Europe

Lisbon Forum 2009: Creating a Culture of Human Rights through Education
Lisbon, 13-14 November 2009


The mission of the European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity of the Council of Europe, also known as the North-South Centre (NSC), is laid out in Resolution (89) 14 of 16 November 1989 and Resolution (93) 51 of 21 October 1993 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. According to the statutes of the Centre, its aim is to provide a framework for European co-operation for the purpose of increasing public awareness of global interdependence issues and to promote policies of solidarity in conformity with the aims and principles of the
Council of Europe – respect for human rights, democracy and social cohesion. The North-South Centre is often described as the Council of Europe’s window to the world, because its purpose is to assert the validity of the values upheld by the Council through dialogue beyond the European continent.

Lisbon Forum

The Lisbon Forum is a platform for dialogue and for sharing experiences, expertise and good practices between Europe and the other continents, especially the Middle East, Africa and the countries on the south side of the Mediterranean. The Forum has been held by the North-South Centre since 1994. It focuses on issues at the heart of the mandate and actions of the Council of Europe: human rights, democracy, the rule of law. Intercultural dialogue plays a key role in this
respect, both within European countries and in relation between Europe and the rest of the world.

Since 2006, the Lisbon Forum has been enriched by partnerships with the Council of Europe’s Commission for Democracy through Law – also known as the Venice Commission - and the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights and, most recently, with the Alliance of Civilisations, operating under the aegis of the United Nations.

During the 2008 session, a new process was launched devoted to a particularly topical issue, the principle of universality of human rights and its implementation at international and regional level. On 10-11 November 2008, the participants carried out a general analysis of the situation 60 years after the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United
Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948. On the basis of this analysis, a work
programme was adopted for the upcoming years, focussing on the promotion, understanding and strengthening of human rights, as well as on present and future challenges in this field.

The following subjects were selected:
  • the impact of globalisation on human rights
  • the principle of equality between women and men
  • freedom of expression, conscience and religion
  • human rights as a basis for the integration of cultural diversity
  • security and freedom
  • creating a culture of human rights through education
  • the abolition of the death penalty.

Aim and Objectives

The overall aim of the Lisbon Forum 2009 is to promote the creation of a culture of human rights, through “quadrilogue” action, i.e. governments, parliamentarians, local and regional authorities and civil society.

The objectives are as follows:

  • promote dialogue on human rights education and explore different understandings of human rights education;
  • reinforce co-operation between international and regional organisations on the issue of human rights education;
  • sharing of experiences, expertise and good practices between Europe and the other continents and identifying challenges that human rights education faces and elaborate joint action on how to meet these challenges;
  • to explore ways to promote human rights education with young people and through youth organisations and to discuss strategies and approaches to human rights education in youth work;
  • contribute to the ongoing consultation process that should lead to the adoption of a Recommendation by the Committee of Ministers supporting global education in the member States of the Council of Europe.
Place and Date

13-14 November 2009 at the Ismaili Centre in Lisbon, Portugal.

Organisation and Working Methods

The organisers of the 2009 Lisbon Forum are the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe and the Alliance of Civilisations, in partnership with the Aga Khan Development Network. Key note speeches, shorter interventions and discussions will be held in English and French and simultaneous interpretation to/from these two languages will be available during the conference.
In parallel to the Lisbon Forum, a fair with stands will be set up for human rights organisations, education professionals and practitioners to display their work in the field of human rights education and to allow for an exchange of experiences on tools, methods, projects etc. The fair will continue in the afternoon on the second day, after the closing session.

Programme Elements

  • Opening session
  • Introductory session by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Working session I, with key note speeches regarding global strategies for strengthening human rights education
  • Working session II, which includes key note speakers representing the different regions, followed by a plenary discussion on regional approaches to human rights education, in both formal and non-formal education, with contributions from pre-identified discussants.
  • Working session III, with contributions from key note speakers focusing on youth as
    agents of change in human rights education
  • Closing session
    After the closing of the first day of the Forum on 13 November, there will be a reception hosted by the City of Lisbon.

Expected Participants
  • Secretary General of the Council of Europe
  • High Representative of the United Nations for the Alliance of Civilisations (confirmed)
  • President of the European Commission
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights High-level representatives from the Portuguese Government
  • High-level representatives from regional structures such as African Union, ALECSO, ASEAN and other international organisations with which the Council of Europe has signed a Co-operation Agreement and whose field of action is relevant to the NSC, e.g. UNESCO, OSCE, Anna Lindh Foundation and OIF
  • Human Rights Education Experts from Africa, Asia, America, Europe and the Middle East
  • Representatives from current (Slovenia) and upcoming (Switzerland) Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and the Swedish Presidency of the European Union
  • Representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the European Parliament
  • Members of the Executive Council of the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe
  • Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe
  • Committee of Regions of the European Union
  • Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe
  • Representatives from international and regional youth organisations
  • Representatives from the City of Lisbon
  • Representatives of the Aga Khan Development Network
  • Members of the diplomatic corps in Lisbon.
For more information visite the website of the North-South Centre: http://www.coe.int/T/dg4/NSCentre/default_en.asp