ACC Bulletin No. 66
December 14th 2005
ACC International Programme Office
Stakeholders Forum - "Bridging the gap..." (Brussels)
Active Citizenship Community Colleges open for applications (DK)
Demos Community College (Rhodes)
EAEA General Assembly 2005 (Lillehammer)
Networking European Citizenship Conference (Berlin)
Invitations received
New Members

The Stakeholders' forum "Bridging the Gap: How to bring Europe and its citizens closer together?

On behalf of the ACC, I was attending on 7th and 8th of November the Stakeholder's forum in Brussels.

The Stakeholders' forum "Bridging the Gap: How to bring Europe and its citizens closer together?" was organized by the EU-Commission together with the European Economic and Social Committee and carried out in the latter institution; it was very interesting and the outcomes are worth to have a look.

The discussion round with Margot Wallström was full of energy and she replied to all critics and comments very openly; her speech pointed out the necessity of creating a European democratic infrastructure where people can meet; she called for meeting places to upgrade the relationship with the civil society into a partnership. Europe has to become more transparent and accessible and citizens have to see implemented their right to be heard; no top-down mission; Europeans have to be given ownership of the European project. She also stressed the right to information and the equal access to information.

As the Forum was carried out with the Open Space Method I got the possibility to propose a topic for a workshop: "What is at the other end of the bridge?"

All in all there were more than 35 workshops and the one I called for got the attention of nine persons and a journalist who asked for several interviews before and after the workshops.

The workshops were very interesting and the one in the one we ended up discussing about European Identity and Public Sphere; but all particpants were asked to bring concrete proposals which gave me the possibility to talk about the First European Community College concept [downloadable from www.acc.eu.org entrypage, ed].

All in all the Forum was great; now it depends how much the Commission will use of the outcomes for the Paper on the Communication Strategy which is expected for mid-December. It is actually very soon and one question in the public was very simple but reflected a fact most of the participants were thinking I guess: how will the Commission consider the outcomes of November 8th if there is only one month working period until the Communication Paper is supposed to be out?

Wallström simply replied that she prefers to postpone the final version of the Communication Strategy Paper if the result will be better; let's see.

http://www.esc.eu.int/stakeholders_forum/index_en.asp ; on this page you can find everthing related with the Forum; all the workshop for examples with the results etc.

/Elisabeth Alber

(From the NECE-conference we do know now, that the whitepaper has been postponed. The plan is now to release it end of January, ed).


Active Citizenship Community Colleges (ACCC)

Our next European Community College event is open for applications at www.acc.eu.org/SEEEMS/3960.asp
The ACCC will take place at a Folk High School in Denmark from March 16th - 23rd.
We aim at inviting participants from all over Europe. There is no age limit this time.
The ACCC will partly be an editorial conference within which participants compose their own issue of ACCENT with the subtitle "A European Demos". As part of preparations are open seminars with the local inhabitants, the important debate, if the European Civil Society should come into being in a process of either continuity or change?


Demos Community College, Rhodes

Demos Community College, 10-18 October 2005, Rhodes, Greece
Demos Community College invited about 40 Europeans (+ locals) to gather around key-issues, questions and visions of citizenship, participation and democracy in Europe, ultimately exploring and gradually co-creating the foundations of a European Public Sphere and the concept of A European Demos.

The Community College practiced new ways of participatory processes and so lived and explored everyday democracy through the art of meaningful conversations, cornerstone of real, practiced democracy. Our partners Hara, Interchange and Facile lead us through this journey of personal and collective learning & leadership. Mainly operating through play, interactive and artful ways, open space technology, the world cafe and appreciative enquiry approaches we focused on our hosting capacity to lead us through questions and issues such as Education, Politicies, Social Coherence, the role of Media, Minorities, and Global Responsibility.

And so Demos Community College discovered new concepts such as "Paction", passionate action or action rooted in deep care for positive change, which is the fuel and seed for more projects linked through DCC in joint effort to promote action in our communities, action that can reinforce democratic values and stand against apathy and cynicism.

DCC is going to be followed by a new seminar, the Active Citizenship Community College (see previous article).

/Maria Bakari - ACC Hellenic Committee - http://www.acc.eu.org/SEEEMS/2063.asp


ACCENT - Community Colleges for Europe!

Third issue of the ACCENT is distributed in its printed version from today. The ACCENT 3 carries the title "European Love and other Challenges of Enlargement". The ACCENT 3 is one result of the Challenges of Enlargement Community College (CECC), that took place in Trieste (IT) and Pliskovica (SLO) in July 2004. There were 40 participants from 10 different countries who formed the editorial staff. More about the CECC here: http://www.acc.eu.org/SEEEMS/2064.asp

The ACCENT 3 reflects the ideas and experiences of the participants as well as the main theme of the CECC - the EU-enlargement and the challenges connected to it. Participants were given blank space to express themselves and complete freedom to decide upon the contents, methods and the format of their contributions. That is why you will find in the ACCENT 3 a variety of articles, comics, photos and documents.

"Some politicians and critics might dismiss visions of a Europe united in love and hope as airy-fairy romantic idealism. However, such values are prevalent in the friendships cemented during our two weeks in Trieste/Pliskovica. As long as people continue to experience and learn about Europe on a micro-level, then we can look farward to being part of a united Europe "where hope and history rhyme"." (Andrzej Pater in the ACCENT 3)

The ACCENT 3 is downloadable from http://www.acc.eu.org/SEEEMS/1037.asp


The European Association for Education of Adults (EAEA), General Assembly 2005 and seminars on validation.
The EAEA General Assembly 2005 took place in Lillehammer, Norway, on November 17th-20th.The event combined the 2005 Grundtvig Award, the EAEA Seminar on Valuing learning, the Baltic-Nordic seminar on Validation of learning, an ICAE meeting, and meetings of several other networks.

The ACC as an associate member was represented by Lucie Čížková and John Petersen.

Thematically, the two seminars were most closely linked to offer a wider understanding of the issues concerning valuing learning and validation of learning. Originally, within EU, key aspects of EU-citizens' ability of learning, training, living and working in the knowledge society were defined (real competences) in the so-called Lisbon agenda. From the seminars in Lillehammer it is obvious that most attention is now on employment and validating the outcome of learning (working life), while the "living" aspect is not really on the agenda anymore. Nedless to say, it leaves citizenship education forgotten - including the European dimension of it.

We dare come up with the following conclusion of the seminars in Lillehammer:

We feel confirmed that we should keep insisting on the "living" -aspect as value in itself. And when it comes to validating, we should stick to the doubt that was expressed some years ago in the ACC-members yahoo-group: When the question is about "validating", things get a bit messed up in our opinion. If somehow you manage to make a system of validating/certifying non-formal learning, then the question will raise, who is the authority validating/certifying it? If the authority is the state/the political system, then suddenly.... doesn't the non-formal learning becomes formal?

What we are working on in the ACC, is that the civil society should first of all value its own endeavors. This does not make the formal system superfluous, but it reminds us systems are there for the citizens and not the other way round. One may say, that the civil society, the citizens themselves, the community college organisers could also "validate" themselves. They could make certificates etc. Well, yes, and we actually already do it in the ACC, if somebody ask. But somehow there is a built in betrayal in this certification rally. Because what really makes the whole difference, when we talk about the residential school format is the PROCESS. We believe it counts in many other non-formal learning arenas as well, but at least for what we do in the ACC it is quite certain."

Nonetheless, lets be positive and try to go into validating the "outcome of the process", if possible. This can be done only by the non-formal learners themselves and in our context only by those who tried learning and living together within the residential european community college format. We are working on the project Schools for Europe Community College III that has exactly this purpose.

From the EAEA-General Assembly in itself, it is interesting to see the focus on adult education and the EAEA is growing. We see this by the fact that another 16 new members were approved into EAEA. New members include organisations from Turkey, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Albania.


Networking European Citizenship Conference (NECE), Berlin

The 2005 European Year of Citizenship through Education (EYCE) of the Council of Europe (CoE) was the important background when the Bundeszentrale für Politsche Bilding (Federal Agency for Civic Education, Bonn), the EAEA (European Association for Education of Adults), European Educational Network for Democracy and Human Rights (DARE) and the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education invited to the second conference within the NECE-initiative.

This years NECE-conference took place from December 2nd-4th in Berlin. Erik Jentges, Marc Nickel and John Petersen took part in the conference for the ACC, while several more members were present representing other organisations.

The NECE Workshops 2005 focused on special topics that made up the subject matter of citizenship education, and which also had particular relevance in terms of European education policy. Scientists and practicioners from all part of Europe exchanged experiences and discussed common strategies.

The conference consisted of a number of workshops, speeches, interactive trainings and presentations of projects within the European states and in the context of the CoE's EYCE. This adds the logic to the headline of this years NECE-conference: "National Experiences - European Challenges". See www.bpb.de/nece for further details.

Another important context was the crisis of legitimacy of the European Union, that became very visible when Dutch and French downvoted the EU Constitution Treaty. This context calls for further transnational cooperation within the European civil society - that almost does not exist for the time being. It is the hope, that the networks and cooperations emerging from the NECE-conferences could and should be the beginning of a European transnational public, even if many of projects even working across state-borders - because of the conference's grouping of project-presentations state-wise - made them appear national. Maybe some of them appeared international, but thdy did not appear transnational. A written address to the conference by German Minister of Interior, Wolfgang Schäuble, expresses the challenge and a kind of compromise (the "stragegy of continuity"), that unfortunately but maybe realistically leaves out or postpones the coming into being of a democratic transnational infrastructure (possible due pursuing a "strategy of change"), because it builts on existing (national) civil society exclusively:"... for cooperative ventures and networks to function, and in the end for the development of a democractic culture, we need citizens who are engaged in civil society... As we know from experience, networks cannot be organzed from the top down. They arise where they are needed - but to flourish, they need to be encouraged through policy decisions. The European Commission has expressed its desire to provide this support. Althouth creating a European public does not mean starting from scratch to form a transnational public realm, it does mean intertwining current national public realms. European nations have to do their part at a national level by encouraging broad participation of citizens and their representatives in parliament in the dialogue." The intertwining of current national public realms (including their civil society's) is the strategy of continuity, while the mentioned transnational infrastructure and the strategy of change is perhaps what one of the EU-vicepresidents, Commissioner Margot Wallström, has been calling for in her so-called plan D. Unfortunately, Mrs Wallström called off her participation in the NECE-conference.

It is unfortunate, if the strategy of continuity excludes the strategy of change. To create a balance, we suggest next years NECE-conference-headline to be:"European Experiences - National Challenges". Adding further to this idea, it is necessary to find out, where do civil society European Experiences exist at all? The answer could be, that in particular, not exclusively, in the Youth sector there has been a number of European Experiences accumulated, because of the special funding this sector enjoys both in EU (Youth) and CoE (European Youth Foundation) context. The methods, the contents, the new transnational networks and associations developed in the context deserve multiplication both in the world of adult educators, in the academic world and in the state administrations. Moreover, it could be considered almost an obligation to the Youth Sector to "pay back" with their experiences within a context as the NECE and its desire to contribute to European Citizenship Education.

As for excluding the "strategy of change", please do also read the next contribution (Petition). What is behind the "red tape"? Is this an act of preventing the transnational civic society (Wallström democratic infrastructure) from emerging?



If you havent already done so, we would like to encourage you to please this petition to the president of the EU-Commission http://www.petitiononline.com/asso/

The European institutions have been studying propositions to create a statute for a European Association. This statute would enable non-profit organisations and associations to operate and be recognized throughout the European Union, allowing them:
- to develop a real European civil society
- to overcome the obstacles to freedom of association that persist in certain member states.
However, on 27th September 2005 the European Commission included this proposition in a black list (MEMO/05/340) of 68 propositions to be withdrawn because they have become “largely obsolete” or, as it is said, “red tape”.

The proposal is one to make the life of the ACC much, much easier.


Invitations received

A number of invitations are available from the http://public.acc.eu.org . Among the latest are:

"Intercultural Learning as a Tool for Conflicts Prevention in Multicultural Societies". April 1-7, Latvia
International training course - "Standards for success". January 11-18, Gran Canaria.



9-18/10 Demos Community College, Rhodes (GR)
21/10 Lisbeth Albinus, Emilie Champilaud and Perrine Martin visiting the ACC Office
26/10 Perrine Martin working in the ACC Office
27/10 Mjellma Mehmeti at Plan D meeting with Mr. Nafi Saracini, advisor to the EC delegation in Skopje (MK)
28/10 Lisbeth Albinus visiting the ACC Office
4/11 Lisbeth Albinus visiting the ACC Office
7-8/11 Elisabeth Alber attending the Stakeholder’s Forum on “Bridging the Gap” on the theme “How to bring Europe and its citizens closer together”, Brussels (BE)
10/11 John Petersen presenting the ACC, Rønne (DK)
11/11 John Petersen and Lucie Cizkova meeting with teachers at the International People’s College, Helsingør (DK)
14/11 Lisbeth Albinus visiting the ACC Office
17/11 John Petersen meeting Kristof Kristiansen and Lucie Cizkova at International People’s College, Helsingør (DK)
17-20/11 Malene Jepsen in London (UK)
18-20/11 Lucie Cizkova and John Petersen at “Valuing learning” conference and the EAEA General Assembly, Lillehammer (NO)
1-7/12 Harun Karcic taking part in the training module on European Citizenship, Human Rights, Brussels (BE)
2-4/12 Erik Jentges, Marc Derks and John Petersen taking part in the National Experiences - European Challenges conference organized by EAEA and partners, Berlin (D)
4/12 RCC meeting, Berlin


With this a warm welcome to our new members:

Iulian Florentin Circiumaru, Teleorman
Will Kay, Winchester
Silvia Perreira, Cacem
Rita Guerreiro, Queluz
Oege Dijk, Groningen
Marc Nickel, Oosterbeek
Tatjana Stepanova, Ikskile
Laurence Deglain, Brussels
Nuala Fogde, Brussels
Nicola Stoddart, Heidelberg
Mogens Petersen, Copenhagen
Lotte Buchbjerg Petersen, Copenhagen
Dan Jepsen, Aarhus
Stefan Baco, Kosice
Marie Haisova, Prague
Karin Bøhrk, Rødovre
Carsten Bøhrk, Rødovre


John Petersen

ACC International Programme Office
Falstersgade 44, st., gaarden
DK-8000 Aarhus C

0045 7363 0043 (ground)
0045 2425 3068 (mobile)
0045 7363 0023 (fax)

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