Day Two: Reaching out towards each other - and into Zagreb’s hot spots of citizenship education

Not only the crisp and bright blue morning sky over Zagreb softened the mood of the NECE crowd: Once again gathered in the concert hall, to start the day in a communicative way, everyone was asked to teach some spontaneously picked words from their own languages to one another. Regardless of the languages in which the words were exchanged, „love“ was never missing. Other choices were „Peace“,„freedom to kiss“ and „Hello Sunshine“ – which allowed the second day of NECE to start with smiles and wam feelings.

NACE: A new network born out of NECE

Impressive insights into the work of two NECE focus groups showed the real life impact of two projects born out of the NECE network. Adam Newman Turner and Tereza Vàvrová presented their research on inclusion and formulated how their endeavour to find ways to connect to „Hard to reach learners“ in Europe worked out so far, also distributing copies of their insightful publication „Beyond Us versus Them“. A short video allowed a very visual insight into the variety of aspects of a truly inclusive citizenship education.

Also, the focus group „Networking Arab Civic Education“ (NACE) which has been a part of several previous NECE conferences and turned into a networking platform of its own - presented by Moez Ali and Nelly Corbel - was greeted with applause. The determination and will behind the project was obvious when Corbel stated her motivation being „not to give up and see the world go to waste“, which provoked thoughtful expressions within the audience.

Debates all over Lisinski Hall

After David Kerr’s keynote strongly encouraging further engagement in the field of citizenship education, a twenty minute  project pitch gave insights to initiatives dealing with different aspects of citizenship education, informal and cultural learning, especially regarding the integration of refugeees before the participants spread out all across Lisinski hall to attend different discussions and speed labs treating important aspects of migration management and citizenship education. The wide variety of formats taking place in the huge lobbys of Lisinski halls thus created an atmosphere of different groups colecting new insights and debating all over the place.

In the course of the third speed lab, treating the question „How to increase participation and empowerment of refugees?“ Ramy Al-Asheq gave insights into his engagement as a founder of Abwab – The first European website written in Arabic, organized by refugees. In a short interview before the Lab’s start he shared his experiences of coming to Germany two years ago and revealed his loss of hope when the Syrian revolution was falling apart, being a renowned poet and journalist in Syria and engaging for a democratizion of the country back then:

„Before that we were optimistic, now we lost hope for peace to ever arrive. And not only for Syria, but for the whole world. Look at Trump and look at AfD or the Pegida movement growing in Germany – that is not far from Trump-America. See, by means of citizenship education we are working hard to teach people how to live together peacefully – while no one needs to be taught how to hate and to kill, and this is what people do right now.“

Exploring Zagreb's educational infrastructure

The discussions that were started in the small groups visiting the debates and speed labs were still going on as everybody gathered in the entrance hall to spread out in the city for fifteen different fieldtrips to spots of interest for the topics of NECE 2016 in Zagreb. We'll be featuring a deeper insight into one of the fieldtrips on the blog soon.

On their way back the participants were greeted with a dinner reception and concert of one of the most famous Bands in Croatia, Pavel. There was dancing, casual networking and tasty wine - an appropriate ending for a most inspring day at NECE 2016. Looking forward to tomorrow!

Citizenship Education
Conference Day: 

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