Let’s get started – Welcome NECE 2016!

Dear readers,

welcome to our NECE 2016 blog!

We are here to help you familiarise yourselves with the upcoming NECE conference - the programme, our topics, speakers and participation possibilities to help you shape this event. We hope to be as interactive as possible. Get your regular updates on NECE 2016 here and feel free to send us your ideas and comments.

Building on last year’s NECE conference (“‘Us’ and ‘Them’: Citizenship Education in an Interdependent World”), this year’s conference will dig deeper into the issue of migration and its relevance for citizenship education.

Over the past year, refugee and migration movements have been at the centre of political attention, concerns and controversies across Europe. There is no doubt about it, the question of how to deal with issues of migration and integration will shape and divide the societal and political debate in Europe for many years to come.

How can we find adequate ways of dealing with the topic in citizenship education – outside and inside of schools and formal learning; taking the different and controversial perspectives of scholars, stakeholders, teachers and others into account? This will be the big question at the centre of our conference.

Talking about this aspect always means talking about the diverse and sometimes controversial divides within and between European societies. A new social divide has emerged throughout Europe, separating those who look inwards and those who look outwards: nationalists vs. cosmopolitans. Have classic socio-economic dividing lines really become obsolete? Apparently so, as a further analysis of what happened during Brexit shows. There is something else about this new dividing line that is worth noting. While one side uses facts to justify its arguments and policies, the other increasingly turns to feelings.

Brexit, refugees and views on immigration seem to be dominating the current debate about many issues, making it imperative for citizenship educators to respond. According to Dieter Segert, one aim of citizenship education is “to educate people in in civil society as to how politics works”. But what if one side loses its trust in education? What if one side stops listening? What if we are living in a post-factual democracy where politicians win by getting feelings right and facts wrong, as Vincent F. Hendricks, a researcher in Copenhagen claims.

Sometimes we feel (sic!) that the whole crisis is more about feelings than facts. Are people afraid of losing their ‘identity’, is migration the issue or are people merely concerned about the future of the ‘West’ in general? We do not claim to have the ‘correct’ answers to all these questions but we believe they are important and controversial in societies and education in Europe and its neighboring regions.

This is why we will look at the role of citizenship education in this crisis. Could citizenship education be part of a solution, if there is one? If so, what are our solutions for living in a post-globalised society, a “world without borders”?

What is our vision for Europe?

And can we reach out and establish lasting cooperation with NGOs and initiatives from the MENA region and countries in the European Union's Eastern Neighborhood? People who are actively promoting NACE (Network Arab Citizenship Education), a future sister of NECE, as well as participants from Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and other countries will also be attending the conference in Zagreb.

Now it’s your turn.

NECE invites you

  • to leave comments in the comments section of this blog
  • to share your thoughts, inputs and conclusions on Twitter, using the #NECE2016

In the run-up to the conference, this blog will provide some introductory information and will include interviews and interesting literature suggestions. The NECE blog team will also interactively respond to your comments and suggestions. You will find out more about the team and who is involved in our next few posts. Looking forward to hearing from you and – of course – seeing you in Zagreb.

For more info: www.nece.eu


This year's Topic of NECE sounds pretty interesting. Really looking forward to the conference.

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