The power of networks

NECE 2016 has certainly been a place to exchange contacts and knowledge during coffee breaks as well as different formats of participatory discussion, such as the speed labs on friday or the Open Space on saturday.

Yet, there is the question of how to stay connected in ways of ongoing fruitful collaboration among all the small and big initiatives and existing networks throughout the European Union and beyond. For that reason, one of the panel discussions on friday morning concentrated on the question of how transnational and interdisciplinary dialogue among initiatives and different networks could possibly be organized and facilitated.

Marko Kovačić presented the aims and obstacles of the Croatian GOOD Initiative operating in networking structures to support the implementation of citizenship education in Croatia. Martin Pairet did the same for the French network „European Alternatives“ (EA) that concentrates on the conncetion of journalist and activists to support new forms of participation, advocate for a more inclusive European identity and work on alternative discurses. Vladimir Sestovic from the European Civic Forum (ECF) spoke about his experiences coordinating a Network of 102 NGOs from all over Europe and Moez Ali, Nelly Corbel and Petra Grüne provided  more information about the Network for Citizenship Education in the Arab World „Networking Arab Citizenship Education“ (NACE).

How do we stay in touch? Structures needed!

After each presentation, discussions allowed space for mutual advice and sharing of best practices of connecting initiatives. Also, basic concerns were dicussed, as for example the problem of reaching out to people being not yet aware about the possibilities of civic engagement or the need to find ways to connect to people and initiatives outside the networks of political activism. Another problem was mentioned by Martin Pairet, referring to structures and aims very much differing even within one and the same initiative, not to speak of networks - which was answered by a suggestion to look for common aims for different initiatives and to collaborate on one and the same objective as a means of channeling energies invested within different initiatives into a more powerful network.

As it turned out in the course of the discussion and by the acknowledgement of the crucial role of successful networking for reaching impact and creating synergies, there certainly is a stong need for the development of structures of connection beyond getting together at conferences. Petra Grüne put a process of identifying possibilities of organizing networking structures into perspective – within and beyond the NECE gatherings.

Citizenship Education
Conference Day: 

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