With the year drawing to an end let me summarise a few of the highlights of 2011:
• The second DARE Spring Academy in April was a huge success. The DARE Spring Academy brought 31 young educators together in the German Harz Mountains. The participants came from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and the United Kingdom, representing various fields of work and interests, all related to youth work, some being teachers, some social workers but also a few students and volunteers active in NGOs working with children and youth. Aim was to broaden their knowledge and human rights and methodology, and to develop skills in human rights education with young people.
• DARE and the Educational Centre Kurt Löwenstein also organised a GRUNDTVIG In-Service Training on the issue of Education Strategies against Right-Wing Extremism and Group-Focused Enmity in Europe in Berlin from 22-28 May, which was very well received by participants.
• Throughout the year DARE was involved in advocacy and policy work to promote EDC and HRE in Europe at various European platforms, including stakeholders meetings organised by the Council of Europe and the European Union. DARE also has been actively promoting the implementation of the Council of Europe Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education.
• At DARE's General Assembly in Warsaw in November seven new members were welcomed: Campus for Peace (Open University Catalunya, Spain), EUROCLIO-The European Association of History Educators, "The Child's Crossroad" (Georgia), Internationaler Bund (Germany), MEDIEL (Belgium), MitOst and EduNet (both Germany). The General Assembly elected a new Board, which will serve for a two-year term. Board members are: Alenka Elena Begant (Centre for Citizenship Education, Slovenia, Treasurer), Frank Elbers (HREA, Netherlands, Chair), Lora Lalova (Partners Bulgaria Foundation), Tanveer Parnez (BEMIS, Scotland, Vice Chair), Gabriella Patriziano (VIS, Italy), and Georg Pirker (AdB, Germany, Secretary). A new membership fee structure was also adopted that will contribute to the medium and long-term financial sustainability of the network.
• Finally, from 1 November-10 December, DARE members participated in the fourth EDC/HRE 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!