Democracy and equality – does education matter?

Youth training Strasbourg, 5th-7th November 2016 World Forum on Democracy, Strasbourg, 7th-9th November 2016.

As a response to the success of the 2015 edition of the World Forum on Democracy, the Joint Council on Youth has agreed to involve the youth sector of the Council of Europe, through the Youth Department, in the 2016 edition of the World Forum for Democracy.

The fifth edition of the Council of Europe’s World Forum for Democracy will engage with decision-makers and opinion-formers in a reflection on how education and democracy can reinforce each other and address the risks of new social divides.

Is education fulfilling its democratic mission or is it failing to build the key qualities for democratic citizenship? What is the role of different education actors – teachers, learners, families, civil society organisations, public authorities, and the media? Is it necessary to reform the organisation and functioning of educational institutions in order to better respond to the requirements of democracy? Can schools and other educational environments become spaces for democratic experimentation, including new forms of democracy in the digital age? Are there new, alternative forms of learning and practicing democracy in educational institutions and how to analyse them? What can we do better? How can education not only preach but also practice democracy? And how can democracy adopt more inclusive and participatory methods which give a voice to all citizens and not only the educated elites?

The Forum will explore how education and democracy:

  • Nurture active citizens with critical and analytical skills, as well as other key democratic competences
  • Through grassroots innovation and bottom-up reform, promote and strengthen democracies and thereby help bridge social divides and improve opportunities for all

The core content of the Forum will consist of discussions about successful initiatives and actions, which have real-life initiatives as a starting point. General guiding principles will then be drawn to encourage and support future policy responses and field action.

The draft concept note about the 2016 edition of the World Forum for Democracy can be foundhere.

In this context, the Youth Department will invite 75 young people to participate and engage with decision-makers and opinion-formers in a reflection on the question of education today: its opportunities and limits, its various forms as well as real stories linked to formal, non-formal and informal education. In this edition of the World Forum for Democracy, we wish to invite young people to share their own testimonies and initiatives in relation to education and its role in their life. For this purpose, applicants should send a 1-minute video  explaining their motivation, and how they relate to the topic of education, learning and democracy. The video should be inspiring and based on real-life testimonies or examples of how participants themselves are concerned by the topic. Where do you learn? How do you learn? What does education mean for you? What have been life-changing learning experiences? Do you learn in formal, non-formal, informal contexts?

For more information on how to apply, please read the whole call. Good luck!


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