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