Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Letter from the Chair

Dear DARE Network members, friends and colleagues,

With the year drawing to an end let me summarise a few of the highlights of 2010:

• In January DARE was presented as Best Practise for Active Citizenship at the European Commission's 10 Years Grundtvig Conference (Brussels, 26-28 January 2010).

• In January DARE also organised its first "focus meeting". Fourteen experts representing 10 European organisations gathered in Brussels for a two-day exchange of best practices and discussion of policy approaches in the field of children's rights education in adult learning, and presented country reports and case studies from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands and Slovenia.

• In March “Tackling poverty with Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights in Adult Learning” launched the European Year 2010 for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion from the NGO perspective. More than 170 participants from NGOs, research and policy making bodies gathered in Glasgow (3-5 March 2010) for exchange and discuss strategies to combat social exclusion.

• In April the DARE policy recommendations on "Tackling Poverty and Social Exclusion through Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education EDC/HRE" at the 3rd EU's Fundamental Rights Platform (FRP) in Vienna. 162 participants discussed fundamental rights perspectives on poverty and social exclusion and core elements of the FRA annual work programme for 2012 and beyond.

• In July the DARE focus meeting “Citizenship Reloaded: The Demand for `Active Citizenship´ in Europe and its Implications for Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education (EDC/HRE)" took place in Vilnius. The meeting, opened by the Lithuanian Minister of Education, brought together 37 stakeholders from 16 European countries, which explored challenges for EDC/HRE under rapidly changing European policy frameworks, such as the European and national qualification frameworks and their implications for non-formal EDC/HRE.

• At DARE's General Assembly seven new full members were welcomed: the Turkish Cypriotic Human Rights Foundation (Cyprus), Volunteers for Development (VIS) (Italy), Menneskerretigetsakademiet (Norway), Bulgarian Network for Human Rights Education, the Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union (Austria), Educational Center Tuzla (Bosnia-Hercegovina), and Centre for Peace Research and Peace Education (Austria). The General Assembly also approved a proposal by the Board to develop a new membership fee structure, based on a solidarity principle in which larger organisations will be asked to make larger membership contributions, which will allow our network to develop a larger financial base.

• In November over 100 international practitioners, researchers and policy makers from the local, national and EU level gathered in Budapest at the DARE conference "A Europe of Active Citizens: Assessment, Policy Responses and Recommendations on Active Citizenship Education". They discussed international studies surveys like the International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS), trends in education policies in Europe, and European policy responses in active citizenship education. The report from the conferences, as well as from other DARE events in 2010, can be found at the DARE website, along with manuals, studies and videos that capture DARE's activities:

• Finally, from 1 October-10 December, DARE members participated in the third SYNCHRONISED ACTION DAYS, which showcased the many different activities in the field of EDC and HRE in Europe.

After yet another busy and successful year, let me wish you a restful holiday season! I hope to see many of you at DARE events in the next year.

Wishing you wonderful holidays and a successful New Year!

Frank Elbers