Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Wergeland Centre publishes DARE policy recommendations on tackling poverty and social exclusion through EDC/HRE

The European Wergeland Centre (EWC) aims at building bridges between research and educational practice within the field of intercultural understanding, human rights and democratic citizenship.

DARE´s policy recommendations on tackling poverty and social exclusion through EDC/HRE - a result of the recent DARE stakeholder conference "Tackling Poverty and Social Exclusion in Europe through Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education in Adult Learning" - have just been pusblished in the Resource Library of the Wergeland Centre.

Check it out! The Wergeland online library offers lots of resources in EDC, HRE and Interculural Understanding, including the most recent CoE steering documents.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

E-learning course "The European Union and Human Rights"

From 26 April-11 July 2010, HREA is offering a distance learning course on the European Union and human rights.

This e-learning course is an introduction to human rights in the EU's external relations. It seeks to provide fundamental information on the EU's human rights law and policy, explore the critique leveled against the EU and shed light on the legal and political conditions under which the EU seeks to protect and promote human rights globally.

The European Union (EU) has established itself as a key player (and payer) in human rights on a global level. Human rights are not only of importance within the European Union and for European Union citizens but have become an intrinsic part of the EU's external relations. The EU regularly invokes human rights in its bilateral relations with third countries, in international organisations and in its trade relations. In addition, it relies on related concepts such as democracy and good governance and - more recently – human security to guide its external policies. The EU seeks to operationalise such concepts through a variety of means, including financial assistance, training, human rights dialogues, "conditionality", and election observation.

For more information and on-line application visit: http://www.hrea.org/index.php?base_id=398.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

“Set history free from political distortions” says Commissioner Hammarberg

Strasbourg, 22.03.2010 – “Historical controversies should not hold human rights hostage. One-sided interpretations or distortions of historical events have sometimes led to discrimination of minorities, xenophobia and renewal of conflict. It is crucial to establish an honest search for the truth” said Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, in his latest Viewpoint published today.

Gross human rights violations in the past continue to affect relations in today’s Europe. In some cases, genuine knowledge of history has facilitated understanding, tolerance and trust between individuals and peoples. However, some serious atrocities are denied or trivialised, which has created new tensions.

“Coming to terms with history is always essential, but particularly crucial in cases of massive atrocities and human rights violations. Such crimes cannot be ignored without severe consequences. Prolonged impunity or lack of acknowledgment over several generations tends to create bitterness among those who identify themselves with the victims. This, in turn, can poison relations between people who were not even born when the events in question took place” said the Commissioner.

Highlighting past events whose interpretation is still controversial, the Commissioner stresses that more efforts are needed to disclose the truth. “Establishing true accounts of previous human rights violations is indeed essential for building the rule of law in all post-conflict situations. In the immediate aftermath this is crucial to bring those responsible to justice, to compensate the victims and to take actions to prevent the recurrence of these crimes.”

The Commissioner also underlines the importance of a proper education and the need to further those initiatives aimed at fostering multi-perspective history teaching.

Viewpoints have been published fortnightly since April 2006 in English, French and Russian. This is the last one of the series and can be used without prior consent, provided that the text is not modified and the original source is indicated in the following way: “Also available at the Commissioner’s website at www.commissioner.coe.int.”

The Commissioner will continue publishing articles on human rights regularly via a new tool to be launched in April.

Press contacts in the Commissioner’s Office:
Stefano Montanari, +33 (0)6 61 14 70 37; stefano.montanari@coe.int

Friday, 5 March 2010

Flexi-in-security?"- Call for photographers and researchers

Working in collaboration with partner organisations in Germany, Belgium, Poland and Sweden, the Multicultural Centre Prague (MKC Prague) realizes in 2010 and 2011 a unique project that focuses on the global economic crisis´s impact on migrant communities. At the centre of the project will be the exhibition “Flexi-In-Security”. We are currently looking for five teams, comprising one photographer and one researcher, who want to contribute to the project.

Deadline: 20th of March 2010

THE PROJECT: Encouraging labour migration is one of the ways to make labour markets more flexible. The negative side of this flexibility is increasingly visible today, in a period of unprecedented economic crisis, in which it is migrant workers who are the first to lose their jobs. In the case of recent migrants, losing the job means sometimes also losing the right to remain in the country.

Aiming to contribute to an urgently needed public debate on the ways labour migration is organized, at the core of the “Flexi-in-security” project is a documentation on the crisis´s impact on migrant communities in different parts of Europe. Participating photographers and researchers are expected to combine the approaches of documentary photography and anthropological research while focussing on the impact of the crisis on a local community of their choice. This location can either be a place that attracts migrants (or used to attract them before the crisis) or a place from which migrants originate. Also portraits of two places linked by a migration or commuting pattern are welcome.

The result of their work will be a series of portraits of individual migrants in the context of their local community. The research teams will document not only the adaptation and survival strategies of individual migrants but also the way relevant local or national institutions (such as labour offices, self-help organisations, labour agencies, municipalities) in the different countries deal with the disappearance of employment opportunities.

The resulting photographs and stories will be presented online and, after the conclusion of the documentation work, in a travelling exhibition to be shown in the Czech Republic, Germany, Belgium, Sweden and Poland.

WHAT ARE WE LOOKING FOR?
We are looking for applications from research teams. Each research team will be made up of a photographer and a researcher (social anthropologist, sociologist, journalist, etc.). The selected teams will in their work focus on migrant communities in (or deriving from) the Czech Republic (1 team), Germany (1 team), Belgium (1 team), Sweden (1 team) and Poland (1 team).

Good knowledge of English is necessary, as this will be the working language of two joint workshops at the beginning and at the end of the research period. Knowledge of other languages relevant to the research and specific regional knowledge are an additional plus. We would also like to encourage the participants to combine their work on this project with their own journalistic or academic projects.

Teams apply with a short outline (1 page maximum) of the project they are proposing. The quality of this proposal will be one selection criterion. However, the project organisers reserve the right to demand changes to the work project of selected teams, in order to ensure the final exhibition’s overall coherence. The projects of all selected teams will be jointly discussed at the first working meeting before the beginning of the actual research phase.

PRACTICAL PROJECT REALIZATION:
The 5 chosen teams of photographers and researchers will participate in an international preparation seminar in the Czech Republic (Thu 8th of April - Sat 10th of April 2010) where they will get a deeper insight into the project and the research topic from various perspectives.

The research team will have to conduct their individual research trips within the six months before the next meeting of all project participants (mid-October, 2010). They will be producing personal stories / portraits of labour migrants in the context of their home community, which will be presented as a combination of photography and text. There are some guidelines to follow, but the teams will have full artistic freedom in expression. In addition to preparing their final output, the research teams will maintain a blog to provide information on their activities and progress.
During the second seminar the artwork and additional research results will be finally selected and the text material edited.

The exhibition opening is scheduled for February 2011 in Prague, followed by displays in other Czech cities and in Brussels, Warsaw, Berlin and Boras (Sweden). It will be accompanied by a virtual online-exhibtion and an exhibition catalogue. Additional materials will be presented on www.migrationonline.cz, the Multicultural Centre’s specialized website dealing with migration issues.

Each team will receive a lump sum, which should include a modest author fee, as well as covering expenses incurred for materials, accommodation and food. However, participants who seek to realize research that is very expansive or time-consuming are encouraged to seek additional funding.


APPLICATION:
Please fill in the following information, attach your CV and mail your application before the 20th of March 2010 to research@mkc.cz.This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

1. Title of project:
Location(s):………………………(should include places in either CZ, D, BE, PL or Sweden)
Project idea (1 page maximum!):

2. Our research team:
2a) The photographer
*Name
*Age
*Citizenship
*Contact information (telephone, email)
*Field of studies and/or occupation:
*Experiences within the field of migration:
*Please attach a small selection of photographs of a previous project (jpeg format) or refer to a website link.
*(If you apply as a WRITER) Experiences within the field of journalism and text work and research interests
*Language Skills
*Motivation for participation

I work with the following camera format
( ) analog
( ) digital

2b) The researcher
*Name
*Age
*Citizenship
*Contact information (telephone, email)
*Field of studies and/or occupation
*Experiences within the field of migration:
*Experiences within the field of journalism and text work and research interests
*Language Skills
*Motivation for participation

We confirm that both of us can take part in both seminars (Thu 8th of April - Sat 10th of April 2010 in Prague and 4 days in mid-October).

*How did you hear about the project?


MKC PRAGUE: The Multicultural Center Prague is a non-profit organization interested in issues related to the coexistence of different cultures in the Czech Republic and abroad. Since our founding in 1999, we have been busy working on new educational, cultural and information initiatives. We organize workshops, courses, international seminars, debates, film screenings and book readings for children, students, teachers, librarians and just about everybody else and also run websites devoted to the issues of migration (www.migrationonline.cz) and urban affairs (www.europeancity.cz). We also have a well-stocked public library designed for those with interest in multicultural issues. More info on www.mkc.cz!

OUR PARTNERS:
Centre Bruxellois d´Action Interculturelle, Brussels, Belgium
Fundacja Nowa Amerika, Krzeszyce, Poland
Immigrant-institutet, Boras, Sweden
Rejs e.V., Berlin, Germany
Villa Decius Association, Kraków, Poland

The project is supported by the European Commission and by the European Cultural Foundation.

Tackling Poverty and Social Exlusion by means of Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights

“I am convinced that there is an absolute connection between lack of education, democracy and human rights and an increase in poverty and social exclusion. Conversely, if you increase education, democratic participation and respect for human rights, you will decrease poverty.”

David Martin (MEP, Committees: International Trade, Human Rights) at his opening speech on  DARE s conference 2009,  March 5th

Recommendations for policy makers:

1. A lack of democracy leads to poverty and social exclusion. Likewise, solely economic measures will not lead to more social cohesion.

2. The trend towards “vocationalisation” of Education for Active Citizenship has to be counteracted towards building citizenship skills. Citizenship skills acquired through sound civic and human rights education are no “fluffy stuff” merely decorating a basic layer of “hard” job-related skills. Citizenship skills are basic for democratic, cohesive and economically strong societies. Policy measures to fight social exclusion and poverty should therefore set the focus on the people and their opportunities to participate in life long and life wide learning. Non formal adult education in this regard is of crucial importance and NGO´s play a key role here.
3. Mainstreaming citizenship education leads to more social cohesion: National and EU programmes in adult education should set a specific focus on civic and human rights education and democratic participation. Both member states and the EU are asked to endorse the European Charter for Human Rights Education and Education for Democratic Citizenship as drafted by the Council of Europe.

4. “Nothing about us without us”: The impacts of general adult education programmes should be defined with the learners, not for the learners. Measures taken on the political level – be it the European or the member states level - must be in line with the demands of the people, especially the vulnerable groups. The EU can not reduce the strategies for tackling social exclusion and poverty to a genuine economic approach counteracting the current economical crisis. It was the existing policy instruments and the focus on merely economic needs that led to this crisis. A more cohesive society will not automatically be the result of a revitalized market.

5. The attention to education for democratic citizenship and human rights in the new EU member states has to be re-established, as civic education can not be limited to the accession period. Experience from all Central European countries that joined the European Union show that with the accession done, civic education programmes were shut down. The result was not only a lack within the educational systems but a shrinking participation in all elections.

6. Premature and short-term political activism does not lead to long-term successes: A shared understanding of the reasons for poverty in Europe is a precondition for any shared European strategy to combat poverty and social exclusion.

7. If social cohesion is really important for the EU then the political level should reflect more intensive on the interrelation of increased xenophobic, homophobic and right-wing-extremist tendencies that threaten and exclude vulnerable groups all over Europe and the lack of support for non-formal civic and human rights education in all member states.
8. Sustainable funding and political commitment for education for democratic citizenship and human rights is crucial for building long-term capacity and maintaining high-quality results.

Recommendations for NGO practitioners:

Educational NGO´s have a crucial role to play in eradicating poverty: They must identify root causes of poverty and social exclusion, and employ a bottom-up approach with individuals and groups experiencing poverty and social exclusion: “Nothing about us without us”.

1. Put people at the centre of the agenda: Inclusive approaches in education for democratic citizenship and human rights in life long learning are key to success, rather than stigmatizing “excluded” people. Poverty reduction and social exclusion is not limited to a certain age group but a raising challenge for life long and life wide learning.
2. Approaches of non-formal education for human rights and citizenship education life long learning have to come up from the grassroots, rather than employing top-down approaches and preach to the converted. Several existing best practices in community education demonstrate how civic education based on peoples´ needs lead to more social cohesion (eg. Community Education Network - AONTAS Ireland; Young Muslim Leadership Network – Citizenship Foundation UK, EU-Meth: Europa mit Methode - dvv/EuropeHouse Aurich, Germany; )
3. EDC/HRE has to embrace diverse learning environments in life long learning, closely linked to the real lives of learners (empowerment at the workplace, community education, family and peer learning etc.) Community learning is well suited to empower local communities to tackle social exclusion.
4. The full range of EDC/HRE tools and methods has to be based on learners´ needs. In adult education, tools and methods should be developed with the learners, not for the learners. In this regard non formal education has to critically reflect if a measuring competences and validation oriented approach to fit to the labour market is the only practicable way.
5. Nothing about us without us! Leadership and participation skills of groups at risk of social exclusion have to be strengthened, in order to make their voice be heard. Likewise NGO leaders need to be skilled up to speak the language of policy makers - and vice versa. The structured dialogue with policy makers should be significantly increased.


“Tackling poverty and Social Exclusion in Europe through Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education in Adult Learning” (Glasgow, March 4-5, 2010)
This European conference provided a forum for more than 170 stakeholders in field of Human Rights Education and Education for Democratic Citizenship (HRE/EDC), among them practitioners in formal and non-formal education, NGO activists, educational experts, political scientists and policy makers from various levels ranging from city councils to the European Parliament and the Council of Europe.
The conference aimed to contribute to the development of coherent European framework policies to combat poverty and social exclusion through HRE/EDC in lifelong learning and emphasize the role of NGOs in the field. The recommendations were drafted by 170 European stakeholders and their constituencies.

Conference organisers:
DARE - Democracy and Human Rights Education in Europe
BEMIS - Black and Ethnic Minorities Infrastructure in Scotland

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Conference: Tackling Poverty and Social Exclusion in Europe through EDC/HRE in Adult Learning












The European conference "Tackling Poverty and Social Exclusion in Europe through Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education in Adult Learning" in Glasgow, March 4-5, 2010, provided a forum for more than 170 stakeholders in field of Human Rights Education and Education for Democratic Citizenship (HRE/EDC), among them practitioners in formal and non-formal education, NGO activists, educational experts, political scientists and policy makers from various levels ranging from city councils to the European Parliament and the Council of Europe.

The conference aimed to contribute to the development of coherent European framework policies to combat poverty and social exclusion through HRE/EDC in lifelong learning and emphasize the role of NGOs in the field. It also offered networking opportunities and access to relevant information for the “Grundtvig community” and all other stakeholders in lifelong learning.

“ I am convinced that there is an absolute connection between lack of education, democracy and human rights and an increase in poverty and social exclusion. Conversely if you increase education, democratic participation and respect for human rights you will decrease poverty. I know that is your aim and I share it with you.”
David Martin (MEP, Committees: International Trade, Human Rights) at his opening speech on March 5

Conference organisers:
- DARE - Democracy and Human Rights Education in Adult Learning- BEMIS - Black and Ethnic Minorities Infrastructure in Scotland

For more information check: http://www.dare-network.eu/
The full conference documentation including policy recommendations will be available for download soon.