Tuesday, 25 April 2017

New policy guide on education about the Holocaust and preventing genocide

UNESCO publishes policy guide on education about the Holocaust and preventing genocide. The policyguide provides effective responses and a wealth of recommendations for education stakeholders who wish to engage in or to reinforce this education.

The publication will serve as a resource for policy-makers, curriculum developers, textbooks writers and publishers, and teacher educators. It suggests key learning objectives for education about the Holocaust, as well as topics and activities aligned with educational frameworks relevant to Global Citizenship Education, a priority of the 2030 Education Agenda and a pillar of the Sustainable Development Goal 4 on Education.

The policy guide shows how education about the Holocaust, and more broadly genocide and mass atrocities, can meet some of the world's educational policy priorities. It also provides policy-makers with rationales to teach about the history of genocides in a variety of contexts. The policy guide identifies key areas of implementation: curricula, textbooks, professional development, classroom practices, cooperation with museums, memorials and the civil society, adult education, and commemorative activities.

The new publication builds on the expertise of many Holocaust and genocide related organizations, including the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. It contains various links to historical and educational resources relating to several cases of genocides and mass atrocities and explains how they can be taught. The guide focuses primarily on the history of the genocide of the Jewish people by Nazi Germany and its collaborators. Some principles and policies outlined are applicable to other cases of genocide and mass atrocities.

Examining difficult pasts such as the Holocaust has a powerful impact on young people because it helps learners identify the roots of prejudice and enhance their critical thinking against racism, antisemitism and all forms of prejudice. It allows them to navigate moral dilemmas of the past as well as of the present, and reflect on their role as citizens to protect and uphold human rights.

As people commemorate Yom HaShoah, UNESCO encourages programmes that strengthen a culture of prevention and foster understanding of the causes and consequences of the Holocaust and how genocide can happen.
Download the publication

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

FRA expresses concern over threats to civil society and freedom of education in the EU

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) emphasises the vital role of civil society and academic freedom in bolstering our democracies, and affirms the Agency’s commitment to protecting civil society throughout the EU.
The EU is a space in which researchers, scientific knowledge and technology circulate freely. Article 13 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which was approved by the leaders of all EU Member States in 2000, reflects national and international standards by explicitly stating that the arts and scientific research must be free from constraints.
“Hungary’s new law threatening the existence of a number of widely respected universities is a matter of great concern to everyone working in the field of human rights,” said FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty. “Human rights, the rule of law and democracy are the core values on which the EU was founded, and none of them are possible without a flourishing and vibrant civil society.”
Academia is a key component of civil society, which also comprises churches, religious and belief groups, trade unions, employers’ organisations, social and professional organisations, and of course NGOs.
From its close cooperation with these organisations, the Fundamental Rights Agency knows that their work is becoming more difficult, not just in one or a few Member States, but across the EU. FRA is currently examining the prevailing and changing conditions for the work of civil society, and has found that the regulatory environment in particular can impose serious restrictions on the capacity of civil society organisations to operate freely. Difficulties in accessing funding are growing, while opportunities to contribute to decision-making processes are diminishing. In some places there has even been harassment and violent attacks of human rights defenders.
In addition to this research, the results of which will be published later this year, FRA is in the process of relaunching the Fundamental Rights Platform, a forum that seeks to develop a protective space within which civil society organisations can continue to work, wherever they operate in the EU.

source: European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Learning to Live Together Conference: Call for Participants

The Youth Department of the Council of Europe seeks to select up to 70 participants to represent the children, youth and civil society sectors in this conference that aims to discuss the Conclusions of the Report on the State of Citizenship and Human Rights Education in Europe, to share experiences and lessons learnt and to propose recommendations for future action. The participants will propose strategic goals for the next five years to promote citizenship and human rights education, both within the countries and in the European and global context. About 300 participants are expected at this event, including representatives of governments, education professionals and civil society organisations. The conclusions of the conference will also inform the Council of Europe Programme of Activities in the Education and Youth sectors in 2018-9 and beyond.
Training workshops for the representatives of the youth, children and civil society sector will take place on 19 and 22 June to further update on the latest developments in the field and to enhance their advocacy competences in relation to the Council of Europe Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education.
Further information  in English  in French
All interested candidates should apply by 12 April 2017, 13:00 CET on http://youthapplications.coe.int

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The future of Europe is Learning Europe! Statement from the Lifelong Learning Platform

The future of Europe is a Learning Europe!
BRUSSELS - 5 April 2017 - The Lifelong Learning Platform, European Civil Society for Education, together with its members, welcomes the European Commission's promise to look more thoroughly at the social dimension of Europe such as expressed in the White paper on the Future of Europe. However, we are also concerned about the fact that it lacks an analysis of what really brings Europeans together and what drives the European identity among its citizens. As the Brexit begins, we are convinced that education and lifelong learning are precisely what will protect our unity.

Last week, UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s letter to President Tusk set a milestone in EU history. Only days later, we celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, during which civil society organisations, including the LLLP, called on leaders of Europe to show "vision and courage to set Europe on the path to a sustainable future which realises the rights of all people and respects planetary boundaries" through an open letter The Europe we want: Just, Sustainable, Democratic and Inclusive.
On 1 March 2017, the European Commission published its White Paper on the Future of Europe. While it does underline the need for skills and lifelong learning, there is little attention when it comes to the next steps and concrete commitments in this regard. The Lifelong Learning Platform, European Civil Society for Education, together with its members, is happy that the European Commission is going to look more thoroughly at the social dimension of Europe, but we are also concerned of the fact that it lacks an analysis of what really brings Europeans together and what drives the European identity among its citizens. As the Brexit begins, we are convinced that education and lifelong learning are precisely what will protect our unity.
Three key strands of actions are crucial in our view to bring Europeans together: Europeans want to
Meet & exchange: Mobility in order to learn and to exchange ideas and experiences is key to create understanding and ownership of the European Union. Erasmus+ is the flagship programme of the European Union and one of the most successful European programmes that has created intercultural learning, lasting European friendships and a strong European identity for all those participating. LLLP believes that a there is a need to further enlarge the accessibility to Erasmus+ to increase participation. We propose to consider how (young) people from disadvantaged backgrounds could also participate in Erasmus+ and especially also how to include adults or older people, i.e. groups that are currently least convinced about the European project.
Participate & shape: ‘Brussels’ is very far away from most Europeans. Additionally, national politicians and media tend to blame ‘Brussels’ for everything unpopular while claiming all things positive for themselves even if the origin is ‘Brussels’. LLLP therefore proposes to bring the EU closer to the European citizen and to provide the possibility to participate. It is extremely short-sighted that the ‘Europe for Citizens’ programme has so few resources, so we suggest a considerable increase in funds for this programme as well as more opportunities for citizens to get involved.
Share & innovate: In Lifelong Learning, but also youth, culture, sports and research (as well as other areas) cooperation between people, institutions, SMEs etc. has led to an enormous transfer of innovation across Europe. Whether it is in small-scale strategic partnerships in Erasmus+, ESF and Horizon 2020 or in other exchange and cooperation programmes, this is where Europe can make enormous progress. The European Union has the real possibility to foster cooperation and innovation across Europe. It also has the opportunity to nurture areas where there is little commercial interest and therefore little outside financing available. LLLP therefore proposes a renewed effort to support exchange and innovation across Europe.
Finally, LLLP believes that learning is the future of Europe – learning for innovation, learning for our future jobs, but also learning from and with each other, learning for our personal development and learning to foster our values of solidarity, peace and democracy.

Contact: policy@lllplatform.eu / +32 289 32 515
Notes to the Editor: The Lifelong Learning Platform gathers 40 European networks working in education and training. Together, they cover all sectors of education and training including networks for secondary and higher education, vocational education and training, adult education and popular education; networks for students, school heads, parents, HRD professionals, teachers and trainers. Established in 2005, LLL-P promotes a vision of lifelong learning based on equity, social cohesion, active citizenship and personal development. The platform works as a space for knowledge exchange between its member networks and uses their expertise to discuss and feed in EU policy-making, making sure that European citizens have their voice heard. In that sense LLL-P contributes to a better understanding and dialogue between the grassroots level and European institutions.