RISE UP for democracy! ...

Anor, Frrance

11 - 19.04.2015

We are happy to announce that SMIT "CREATOR" members were participating in the Training course project called RISE UP for democracy! Against racism and intolerance in Europe which was held in Anor, France between 11-19.04.2015 co-ordinated by Histoire de Savoir(s).

During the last European elections, populist and far-right political parties have increased of almost 20 per cent since the last elections in 2009 in the European parliament. A burgeoning European phenomenon known as the “new far Right” is appearing in the political landscapes of European democracies and inside the EU itself, becoming more and more influential and increasing their results in their national election too.

Some of them are partners in coalition governments. Old messages and manners of far-right political parties who used to be linked with fascism, nazism and racists slogans have been transformed into a more populist and respectable way to be spread. Economic crisis in Europe since 2008, mass unemployment and falling living standards made worse by the austerity measures in European countries increased anti-immigrant sentiments. Far-right parties claim that there is a negative influence of immigrants on decreasing salaries of workers, increasing unemployment rates and on welfare benefits. They see these contradictory trends and cosmopolitism as a threat for national identities and European identity. Those fears made these far-right parties mostly EU-sceptic or even anti-EU.

This general rise tendency of the far-right Eurosceptic political bloc inside of the European Parliament is important to try to understand and to be careful with. It threats the original democratic and peaceful ideas and values that created European Union, such as plurality and tolerance. They even endanger the motto of European Union « Unity in Diversity ». Multiculturalism became a fear of disintegration of the countries for those far-right ideas, giving a « Fortress Europe » as a solution. According to Thomas Klau of the European Council on Foreign Relations "as antisemitism was a unifying factor for far-right parties in the 1910s, 20s and 30s, Islamophobia has become the unifying factor in the early decades of the 21st century. » Analyzing this phenomenon and not repeat the same mistakes than in history with the rise of extreme right populist ideas during the thirties in a tensed economical context seems an urgent need for Europe.

The purpose of this training is to give tools to the youth workers and future trainers to understand this tendency better, to encourage tolerance, to stimulate self reflexion and critical mind. Methods of youth training courses will also be taught to sustain the impact of the project at the local level of the participants. A youth training courses network will be established on the subject in the different concerned countries, to work on tolerance, unity in diversity and fight against xenophobic ideas with youths and in schools. We will work on the knowledge and experiences of the participants to share the good practices and go deeper in the subject. A better understanding of the current fears, the medias, how far-right parties perceive European identity and what they construct as a threat of the « other » for their countries and for Europe will tried to be achieved.

Dialogue is a special form of communication, in which participants seek to actively create greater mutual understanding and deeper insight. Dialogue, as a right of speaking, being listened to and respected, has always been the key element of democracy. We believe that using dialogue, establishing a mutual cultural comprehension and developing the critical mind of young people is the groundwork to fight against shortcut ideas and populism that can lead to fears, hate and discriminations between the populations and communities.

Main Objectives: 

✓ To give the participants basic activities and tools of dialogue in order to facilitate workshops on intercultural differences and communication, fears, stereotypes and discrimination.

✓ To practice tools and methods of youth training courses in order to plan training courses back in their country for sustainable future development of the project at local levels.

✓ To explore the rise of far-right parties in a context of economical crises, the use of fears, people’s lack of knowledge and patriotism, to promote their ideas of racisms, intolerance and isolationism. To put it in perspective with the concept of a « national culture ».

✓ To put in evidence the links between medias and politics, their role in today society, and the necessity to develop the curiosity and the critical mind of youth to help them think by themselves, search and analyse information.

✓ To make the participants sharing their experience as youth workers and facilitate them to share their best practices through workshops, helping each other to develop their teaching skills.

✓ To develop a common understanding between participants and organizations, and instruments on the rise of populist parties in Europe to continue working together on the subject during following projects.

Lateral objectives: 

✓ To discuss future means of distribution of knowledge that can be used to extend the impacts of the exchange at a local and regional level and promote it.

✓ To assess best practices and common pitfalls in the field of youths trainings.

Methodology : 

The program of the course will be based on non formal education and will be conducted using an interactive and participative approach. Active group/team work, role-plays, outdoor activities and plenary discussions, as well as theoretical inputs will characterize the program of the course in order to cover all aspects of the project themes. Special attention will be paid to the fact that the competences and the knowledge gained and transmitted during the course remain sustainable and transferable. This will be achieved by setting up enough space and time for reflection and evaluation, by providing comprehensive documentation, handouts and guidance from the trainers’ team. Many of the theories about dialogue that will be subjected will be based on the book « The Dialogue handbook » coauthored by on of the trainers. A finished workshop pack will be given to the participants at the end of the training so that they can use it at the return in their own countries. The participants will then do a training course in their respective countries to teach to other youth workers training skills and tools on the subject. Then the youth workers who received this training can go to school and organize a day of workshop on dialogue, tolerance and critical mind.

Tools will be taught and, on the basis of their already existing projects in their sending organizations, participants will be also invited to share good practices, to exchange useful information, and work intensively in order to improve their training skills with youths in regards to the subject of this training course.

An evaluation seminar will be planned 5 months after (September/August) to assess the first results of the training with the participants, share advices and adapt the training depending on the feedbacks.

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