“We have learned more from them, than we taught them”


With a speech by the political theorist Benjamin Barber (USA) and a discussion round with him, Ahmed Driss, Centre of Mediterranean and International Studies (Tunisia), and Noha El-Mikawy from the Ford Foundation (Egypt), this “wonderful festival of thought” was closed.

 

NECE Partners: “What does Europe think?”


A very heated and stimulating debate took place yesterday morning when looking at the way the European press pictures the uprisings in North Africa in the forum 'Brave Muslims finally fighting for Western democracy? Reflections of the Arab Spring in European media'.

Impressions


Here are a few of many interesting quotes from speakers and participants that enriched discussions and dialogue and can give further food for thought.

 

  • “Invest in crazy ideas and experiments!”

  • “Fail fast, fail hard, fail often! This is the only way to learn and succeed.”

  • “Co-operation makes sense when both parties are willing to admit that they are sometimes ignorant about things they claim to know.”

A new social contract


The second keynote of the first day of the NECE conference was given by Noha El-Mikawy from the Ford Foundation (Egypt). She focussed on the possibilities for democracy and citizenship education from the perspective of the recent transformations in North Africa.

Forum V: Seeing “political choices as human, rather than as sacred decisions”


What is the relationship between religion and politics and how can we use citizenship education to broaden our understanding of the other? These were some of the questions that were picked out as central themes yesterday in the forum 'Politics and Religion: Re-defining the relationship in diverse societies?'.

Forum II: Participatory democracy against distrust


The issue of increasing dissatisfaction with the working of democratic institutions was discussed yesterday in the parallel forum: 'Democracy between distrust and participation: Re-thinking the relationship between citizens and the state?'.

Forum I: "History is constantly rewritten, and this is wonderful!"


The way we remember and how history is written has a direct influence on our society and politics. In the forum History and memory culture and its impact on society and politics the participants discussed, on the basis of current events in North Africa, how history narrates and, at the same time, is also interpreted differently by social groups.

Make your voice heard!


What are the similarities and differences between Eastern European and Arabic protests? What role do emotions play in politics and political participation? These were the guiding questions in the second part of the panel sessions of this morning concerning the overall issue of possibilities for a Euro-Mediterranean dialogue.

How do we see each other?


In the first panel session of this morning the possibilities for dialogue between Europe and the Mediterranean were considered from the angle of different narratives and images that prevail in our societies about the respective other.

“Let's work together!”


Yesterday evening began the NECE conference “Participation Now! - Citizenship Education and Democracy in Times of Change” in Córdoba, Spain. This year's forum intends to provide a platform for dialogue, networking, and co-operation around the issue of the impact that the Euro crisis and the Arab Spring have on possibilities for democratic education and participation.