Seminar 2003 @ Snoghøj Højskole

EUrope, the Folk High School format and the Youth of Europe

Venue of the Seminar: Snoghøj Højskole

The Snoghøj Seminar took place on September 27th from 13.00 to 17.30 at the Snoghøj Højskole in Fredericia (DK). The Seminar was a public event, opened for everyone. Neighbouring schools and people from the local surrounding of Fredericia took part.

The Seminar was possible due to support by the Board for EU-enlightenment.

Please find a detailed description lower on this page and a downloadable leaflet/programme upon.

Conchi Gallego
Conchi explaining possible links between the EU-Youth policy and the format of the Folk High Schools.

Mjellma Mehmeti
Mjellma presenting the CoE-Youth-endeavors and parallels to the format of the Folk High Schools.

Linda Jakobsone introducing the workshops
Citizens of Fredericia and neighbouring schools took part

... in the workshops in particular...
Visitors from Asia gave an important "global input" to the debate.

Jan-Christoph Napierski telling about the First European Community College
What if we were to establish a European Citizenship Education?

A Folk High School student from Asia, Mogens Godballe and Rasmus Overgaard.
Dialogue on future initiaitives

Seagulls at the Little Belt
.. and a few hours to enjoy the surroundings of Snoghøj

EUrope today –the challenges!

The EU-Commission White-paper on European governance as well as the one on youth policy, the Nice-protocols, reports and memoranda en masse all describe a very crucial and basic problem within the European integration process, namely that of a gap between the institutions materializing the European integration on the one side and the citizens of Europe on the other.

Europeans need to “meet” their political institutions.

Citizens of Europe do not know the people with whom they share the same political system but - what is even more important - the representatives of different states, regions and people, meeting in the political-institutional forums do only very seldom have the opportunity to meet a “purely” European live audience. Who knows what the Europeans can believe and think in common?

The European political institutions need to “meet” the Europeans.

Moreover, a public complement (a European public sphere) to the institutionalised-political forums has to be developed.

Europeans need to meet each other.

The political identification of citizens is missing the European dimension, whereas national and local level identification to a much larger extent is a fact.

These challenges have been met by a range of endeavours of the EU to propagate, to inform, and to involve citizens. The Council of Europe's Directorate for Youth and Sport has been facing the same challenges and for a longer time. More than 50 years work and experience has accumulated within this institution.

Non-formal education and the Folk High School format –the means?

In the Nordic countries the residential and non-formal institutions for general education, the Folk High Schools, have traditionally offered a tool for taking up the mentioned challenges. The Folk High Schools in for example Denmark have offered forums for citizens to get to know each other, for citizens to get to know about their political institutions and been a way for politicians to meet the citizens of Denmark.

In a time of European and global integration the main challenge of general education could be met in the same way; to situate the debates about concrete political and common questions among common Europeans.

Maybe the lack and problem of European integration is mirroring a lack of space and forums in which issues of common nature can also be discussed and dealt with in common -by those who are affected by these concrete issues?

Maybe the format of the Folk High Schools (Community Colleges) offer the tool for building bridges between European citizens and for filling in the gap between the European politicians and the European citizens.

EUrope and the Snoghøj Seminar – the future!

At the seminar in Snoghøj Højskole, we met a Local/Danish audience with the purpose of discussing the possible links between the format of the Danish/Nordic Folk High Schools and the challenges and needs of an integrating Europe and a globalising world.

The Seminar consisted of three introductory presentations followed up by two workshops.

As an inspiration Conchi Gallego introduced the EU-work and -policies within the Youth field. Conchi (Brussels/Madrid) has been working in the Spanish Youth Council as an international coordinator for 5-7 years. She is a European Researcher for the EU Youth Web Portal.

Mjellma Mehmeti introduced likewise the Council of Europe work and -policies within the Youth field.
Mjellma (Århus/Skopje) has been active in women rights movements for 9 years and is now a European Culture, Politics and History Student at the University of Aarhus.

Jan-Christoph Napierski provide the seminar with a natural bridge to the workshops following. Jan-Christoph (Copenhagen/Haan) is a cand. mag. in European Studies and an intern in the Council of Baltic Sea States. Jan-Christoph will presented the Mission statement of the First European Community College (working title of a concrete project) as an example of a basis for future European Community College(s).

Two workshops followed up on the introductions. The workshops took as their point of departure a vision for the future, which you -dear reader- could take as a case as well.

Ask yourself this:

Suppose there is a European Community College / a European Folk High School established in Denmark. What should be the contents offered at such school? Citizenship-education? Europe and the wider world? European identity? Making sense out of both unity and diversity? European values?

What if you could get it exactly as you want it?

Contact ACC Board/Working group