During the partner meeting 3-4 May in Graz / Austria, participants from the project had the opportunity to meet with local refugees who are currently joining the basic education training offered by uniT. It was a good possibility to discuss European values, supported through the new Values Toolbox developed by our Macedonian partner Ecologic. The Toolbox and other materials (in different languages) will soon be available on this website.
From 31 January to 1 February 2018, the project partners met in Edinburgh on invitatiion of INTEVAL. In the inspiring atmosphere of the premises of Foundation Scotland, similarities between hiphop culture and European values were discussed as well as arrangements for the finalization of the VAL.EU guidebook to European Values.
What do European values mean to you? Are values such as democracy, human rights, and solidarity enough to bind the continent together? Discuss your ideas with Europe’s leaders! Debating Europe is a platform where you can debate the issues you care about with European politicians and experts:
The following sentence can often be heard in political discussions about the European Union: “The EU is a community which is based on common values.” But what are the actual values, and what significance do they have for both the cohesion of the European Union and for its citizens? Certainly by the time this question is posed to any randomly assembled group of people in Europe, controversy is bound to arise. For some, the basic values of democracy, human rights and freedom are the main priority. Others hold the view that social cohesion, the preservation of natural resources, religion or security should occupy top spot.
How important is the discussion about European values to you? What methods and tools do you consider appropriate to communicate these values? Leave a comment and share your opinion on EPALE, the Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe:
End September 2017 the project partners met in Skopje. Each partner country presented their local activities, and different methods to gain knowledge about European values were tested and discussed. It was a good and fruitful conference very well hosted by our Macedonian partner EcoLogic.
The next transnational event will take place at the beginning of February 18 in Edinburgh / UK, with the presentation of a draft guide book to teaching and learning of European values.
Theatre as a means to discuss European values
The starting point of this idea developed by uniT Graz/Austria is the problem to motivate and activate people to discuss values open-minded and very concretely. Theatre plays often deal with social and moral conflicts; there are concrete scenes and characters in a play, which the students involved can discuss. In the discussion, different moral and social perspectives on the decisions and solutions of the characters of the play will come up and the people involved will be able to notice the differences in their values more concretely. Tandems will be built – students from cultural programmes and refugees and migrants from our basic education courses. They visit theatre plays and discuss it with one another. Focus groups formed out of these tandems discuss results and open questions out of the experiences of the theatre visits. The main goals of this concept are firstly to raise awareness of differences in the way values are understood and implemented in different cultures. It often happens that on an abstract level people agree on values like liberty, solidarity etc. but there are big differences how they are interpreting it. At longer term, a kind of performance out of these experiences shall be developed together with the students, refugees and migrants.
A look at Europe and its values from the outside: that was the motto of a day seminar in a German language training course for highly qualified refugees (up to the European reference level C1) provided by VNB. The aim was to briefly capture the perspective of people who have not been socialized in Europe, and discuss and compare common European values to those brought along from the countries of origin.
First, a brainstorming session was held around the letters of the term E-U-R-O-P-A. Afterwards, the exercise “Europe through my eyes” provided a personal look on the new center of the refugees’ life. During this exercise, the participants exchanged their points of view about things that astonished them, and what they liked or disliked in and about Europe. Finally, a look into the future was made around the question “What would I change in Europe?”
When discussing European values in a language training course even with participants on a higher level of second language skills, it has to be taken into consideration that due to linguistic limitations it takes more time for the participants to express themselves, particularly when it comes to such a demanding issue like EU values.
The participants asked for more: a follow-up seminar is planned, where the topic of democracy shall be discussed on the subject of European fundamental rights and values. In particular, the tension between diverse values and approaches of conflict solving will be raised as a subject.