Forum 6: “Bringing people together”

The ways in which long-lasting and fruitful co-operation in the field of citizenship education can be yielded cross-regionally were shown by means of presenting three examples of such collaboration networks in today's parallel forum “Cooperation projects between Europe and North Africa”.

The first project was the 'Tunisian School of Politics' and was introduced by Ahmed Driss and his partner from the Bulgarian School of Politics, Julian Popov. The Tunisian School of Politics is a partnership between three European Institutes that train young politicians who are members in one of the political parties that are represented in their respective country's national assemblies. This year they are running the school for the second time, hoping, in the future, to enlarge it. The training that is offered covers three main areas. The first is rather theoretical as many of the participants don't have a background in the study of politics or law. Furthermore the young leaders get help in more practical matters and questions such as how to run a political party. Lastly, their communication and debating skills get trained, so that their abilities to find conjunctive solutions with others are enhanced. There are two main issues with this project has to struggle. On the one hand the participants have full-time jobs in politics and it is sometimes challenging to get them more involved due to their other time-consuming professional responsibilities. On the other hand the school has to make sure that the parties trust this organisation, due to the involvement of European countries being a sensitive issue for many. The overall aim of the Tunisian School of Politics is to facilitate in the education of future leaders and to lay the foundations for “political cross-party solutions”.

The project 'Tandem: Cultural Managers Exchange' was introduced to the participants by Darius Polok from MitOst e.V. (Germany), Dalia Dawoud from Al Mawred al Thaqafy (Egypt), and Philipp Dietachmair from the European Cultural Foundation (the Netherlands). This project stresses the importance of the role of cultural organisations and managers in civil society. The overall aim, as Dietachmair phrased, is to “establish long-term cultural collaboration ties”. In a yearly meeting representatives from various types of cultural organisations come together and look for foreign partnerships to enhance each other's ability to succeed in their projects and ambitions. Dalia Dawoud stressed that Tandem enables people from different continents to find mechanisms to work together, to provide opportunities for exchange, to widen the impact cultural organisations have and to remove stereotypes through encountering the other. Tandem provides financial support, meetings, trainings and a 14 day long placement to give participants the opportunity to get to know their respective partners. This cross-cultural project, she explained, is about “bringing people together”.

The final project, presented by Nelly Corbel from the American University in Cairo (Egypt), was 'Leading Change Across the Mediterranean'. Three think tanks from Egypt, Germany, and Tunisia are brought together by this project to foster the skills of current and potential leaders. The first target group are young people who have shown recently that they are willing to try new things and now need the help to bring their dreams to the regional level. They receive training in, for example, using certain communication tools, pushing for legal change, or creating sustainable management. The second audience this project is aimed at is community leaders; persons that have a certain status and that locals turn to with their problems. They are identified to be the links that make exchange between individuals and the government possible. Leading Change Across the Mediterranean provides an online-academy and a mentoring programme to create a suitable learning environment for all participants. 

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