16-11-04 Seminar report I
The first week of the seminar went very well and we thank you all for your contributions. We hope that the discussions will evolve during the next seminar weeks (November 15th-21st & December 6th-12th).
The following report aims at summing up the different types of contributions we have received during the first seminar-week and to reply on some concrete questions.
With this summary we hope to inspire you to go to the website, read the different contributions and comment on them (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that we can get a good discussion going on the purpose, the principles, the content and the methods of European citizenship education and the First European Community College (FECC).
1) A lot of organizations have kindly sent us their logos, which we have placed on the website as a symbol of their support. We appreciate this gesture - thank you.
2) Several persons have written us e-mails to show us their interest in the seminar and the establishment of FECC. Thank you for showing an interest – we hope that you will share your thoughts about the FECC and take part in the debate.
3) A sum up of the contributions:
• Hans Göttel from Europahaus Burgenland has sent a short project description on the relations between adult education and citizen’s initiative to create a European sphere. Mr Göttel finds that this description could be a source of inspiration for citizenship education at the FECC.
• R. Sampatkumar from International Society for Human Values has the following comment to the FECC and to the Basic Paper 2 (Basic paper included in the invitation). Mr Sampatkumar wonders about a statement in the Basic Paper concerning a withdrawing from taking part in any cultural dimensioning of a European identity. Mr Sampatkumar finds it difficult to avoid discussing culture in the process of building European Citizenship when the idea and inspiration of the FECC come from the Danish Folk High School model. (Please see the answer below in (5))
• The Secretariat from the Cypriot Students and Young Scientists ISCHYS seeks more involvement from youth organizations in the establishment of the FECC. The Secretariat proposes, among other aspects, that there should be more emphasis on intercultural understanding in the whole process of establishing the FECC and that the monitoring committee for the Community College should be composed of NGOs from around Europe that could give their opinion and be connected with the programme.
• Eva Valvo from the ACC-board contributed with a paper on Europe and its margins. Miss Valvo hopes that the paper will serve as inspiration for discussing identities and citizenship in Europe and that the topic should be included at the FECC.
• Ted Hartly, director for Development and Special Projects believes that a work plan and a report on citizenship trough education would serve as inspiration on how to proceed with the citizenship education at the FECC.
• Concepción Naval provided some research information on Education for Citizenship from a research group that she is conducting at the University of Navarra, Spain hoping that the information can be beneficial to the establishment of the FECC and citizenship education in general.
• Mjellma Mehmeti from the ACC-board provided a quotation from an interview on the core of Europe, the core of Europeanness made by the ACC. The person quoted suggests that citizenship education should explain what impact the 20th Centuries Wars have had on the political integration of the EU. A topic of discussion should be who can and who cannot be a member of the EU – the membership of the EU should only be granted to the countries that regret and admit the sins they have committed in the past.
• Conchi Gallego from the ACC-board contributed with a publication, which deals with European Citizenship for young people. Miss Gallego hopes that the publication can inspire and be subject of discussion for the methods of the FECC.
• Amana S Ferro provided her Master’s Thesis on the double standard the EU applies in relation to minority rights’ protection. Miss Ferro hopes that her Thesis can be an inspiration to what kind of topics that could be dealt with at the FECC.
4) In conclusion, due to the low number of concrete proposals, we have decided not to revise the Basic Papers for the time being. Instead we will send out the papers to a new cluster of contacts hoping to develop the discussion of the FECC further and then revise the Basic Papers afterwards. We would like to stress that we will appreciate all comments you may have concerning the FECC and European citizenship education so do not hesitate to e-mail us your comments, proposals, inspiring documents etc.
5) Concerning the statement in the Basic Paper concerning abstaining from taking part in any cultural dimensioning of a European identity:
Mr Sampatkumar finds it (1) difficult to avoid discussing culture in the process of building European Citizenship. This especially (2) when the idea and inspiration to the FECC comes from the Danish Folk High School model.
To take the last part first: It is also my impression that residential folk high schools for young adults were first founded in Denmark in the middle of the 19th century to foster a sense of cultural unity. That is what I would call a “cultural dimensioning of the Danish identity” and the schools were then propagating this (Danish) culture. That is what we would like to avoid this time.at European level. We don’t want to create an institution imposing a European culture on the participants. We are very inspired by the Danish Folk High School format, but we are NOT inspired by their tradition - nationalist, culturalist or whatever scientists would consider it.
It would be our point of departure, that legitimacy can only be achieved in a deliberative, public progress between free and equal citizens. This is so because what is common will have to be decided in public and not prior to it. What we would like to do with the FECC is to create small scale and model European public spheres. So, we do not want to impose any a priori culture on participants.
(ACC Chairman John Petersen with inspiration from the thesis of Lucie Ciskova, see www.acc.eu.org)
/ Helle, ACC International Programme Office