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The NECE Conference hashtag is #NECE2015.


  NECE Conference 2015:
‘Us’ and ‘Them’: Citizenship Education in an Interdependent World

22-24 October 2015, Thessaloniki, Greece
“The refugee crisis forces us to adopt a new way of thinking. We cannot remain on the sidelines. Conflicts elsewhere that displace millions of people are also our conflicts”, bpb President Thomas Krüger told participants in opening remarks on the second day of the conference. “Citizenship education in an interdependent world must be translated into political practice and social action – in joint projects across local and national borders”. Right from the beginning of this year’s NECE conference, participants were eager to discuss the concepts of ‘us’ and ‘them’. More than 300 citizenship experts from many different fields took part, among them teachers, academics, representatives from NGOs and professionals from government institutions.
The event also drew top scholars from all over the world, as among them José Casanova, Ulrike Guérot, Kenan Malik, Noha El Mikawy and Audrey Osler. They brought diverse and individual views to the topic, including some very personal stories of ‘us’ and ‘them’. In three parallel panels, experts discussed urgent issues – Russia, Ukraine and ‘the West’, the dynamics/function of ‘Othering’ in the European crisis, and the perceived conflict between ‘the West’ and ‘the Islamic world’ – with each other and the audience, in the process generating topics and questions that are relevant for practical applications in citizenship education.
Bringing people from varied backgrounds and different countries together planted the seeds of many new ideas and views, which germinated during the subsequent workshop session. New workshops were even created spontaneously by some participants to discuss matters they believed deserved special attention.

What’s next?
The brainstorming process continued during the so-called World Café, with participants focussing on concrete themes as they continued to wrestle with the question of what you need to make an idea a practical success. “I find the idea that borders have changed all the time throughout history very interesting...everyone has been a refugee at some point or another. I’m going to use this as a starting point for my workshops teaching Hungarian college students about xenophobia and migration,” said Anikó Fischer (Migration Aid, Hungary). The NECE Conference 2015 was a success in every sense of the word. In the years to come, there’s no question that the topic of ‘Othering’, which was at the centre of focus in Thessaloniki, will continue to gain in relevance and urgency. To reap the benefits of the workshops and other meetings at the conference, as well as to ensure the sustainability and international transfer of what we accomplished there, we have developed a tool to help you present your work/ideas, and network with the other participants. A new online collection of papers, projects and presentations now awaits your attention and contributions. We would also like to invite you to browse through NECE member submissions from before and after the conference. And please don’t hesitate to submit your own project (proposals) or papers involving the issue of ‘Othering’! Submissions will be collated and published on the NECE website soon under the headline “What do we have?”.

While you’re at it, make sure to visit the NECE blog!

Before it was time to say goodbye, Israeli writer Lizzie Doron explained what the concepts of ‘us’ and ‘them’ mean in her home country. Her remarks once again underlined that the concepts aren’t phenomena only rooted in Europe or in the past, but are instead facets of real-time issues that have to be addressed all over the world.

  Pre-conference meeting of NECE Focus Groups

Before the conference began, the NECE Focus Groups “Exchange between North Africa and Europe” and “Hard to Reach Learners” met up in Thessaloniki to prepare input, discuss specific relevant aspects and plan the next steps the groups will take in their work. 33 members of “Hard to reach learners” from a total of 12 countries met on October 20-21 at the Goethe-Institut Thessaloniki to talk about what the group has achieved so far and – by evaluating opportunities and chances for future work – ponder where it is going. In parallel, 30 members and guests of “Exchange between Europe and North Africa” also gathered at the Goethe-Institut Thessaloniki from October 19-21 to discuss the topics of “othering” and “radicalisation of youth” in-depth, as well as challenges the focus group will face in the future.

For more information, click here.
Further information on the focus groups and their results will also be available soon on this website.


  Erasmus Mundus - Al Idrisi II: A scholarship scheme for exchange and cooperation between Europe and North Africa

Al Idrisi II is an Erasmus Mundus Project aimed at Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia. The goal of the project is to establish an active, institution-based mobility network among 19 North African and EU partner universities, six associate universities supported by three associate institutions, and Ministries of Higher Education in the region. The project will give undergraduates, master and doctoral students, post-doctoral fellows and academic/administrative staff the opportunity to gain valuable experience, knowledge and contacts abroad. Al Idrisi II focuses strongly on regional needs in North Africa, along with the development of specific and relevant areas that have been defined by the partners.
Find more information here.

  Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN)

To fight terrorism and violent extremism, you have to work with a broad range of partners – experts who can lead you to a better understanding of behaviours and tactics, and help mitigate or prevent these activities. There are many practitioners, researchers and NGOs across Europe that are very knowledgeable about how to deal with radicalisation on the ground.
To help these first-line local practitioners and facilitate the exchange of experiences and best practices between them, the European Commission set up the EU-wide Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN). It was officially launched in September of 2011 by then Commissioner of Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström.

Find further information here.


  ACCES – Active Citizens for Common European Solutions

As the refugee crisis gathers even more momentum, the cross-border U-Impact project has launched a citizen initiative to address the freedom of movement and refugee dilemmas facing Europe’s citizens and its leaders. The focus is on fostering active involvement in civil society during the ongoing political debates about what to do with refugees, expressing European solidarity and ensuring basic freedom of movement. The goal of the initiative is to get citizens from the EU, candidate countries and the European Neighbourhood actively involved in these issues.
Find out how you can get involved: ACCES.


  Europe's media at a glance – The German Federal Agency for Civic Education publishes a trilingual media database / New service added to the European press review

Diversity and uniformity define Europe's headlines as much as they define Europe itself. A new media index compiled by Germany’s Federal Agency for Civic Education (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung/bpb) within the framework of its European press review provides background information on print and online media. For the European press review (, 26 correspondents follow the most important ongoing debates in the EU member states, Switzerland and Turkey. In German, English and French the new media database provides background information on around 500 print and online media, including their political orientation, data about editors or publishers, circulation, and payment models for websites. Addresses and Twitter names for individual media outlets are also listed. In addition, readers can peruse a brief description of the history and main features of the newspapers, magazines and blogs that are featured in the index.
"This database is a valuable research tool for anyone interested in the media that shape public opinion," explains bpb President Thomas Krüger. "We want to enable citizens to gain insight into the situation of mass media and press freedom in European countries."
In the "Media Landscapes in Europe" section, the profiles for 30 European countries have been revised and updated. Here you can learn, for example, about the extent to which oligarchs control the media market in Bulgaria, why tabloids reputedly dominate public opinion in Austria, or how hard Greece's newspaper market has been hit by the current crisis. Media landscape profiles for Turkey and Croatia have been added, and the section also provides an overview of the current state of press freedom in each of the countries featured.

The media index and the media landscape overview are available at euro|topics media index and euro|topics media landscape.

  Tackling the real reasons causing people to flee Syria

The German Development Institute has published an interesting column on how some people are misusing the refugee crisis to cover inaction and ignorance with regard to the war in Syria. According to the article, it all comes down to two major misconceptions.
Read the full report at German Development Institute.

  EPALE – Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe

EPALE is a multilingual open membership community designed to be of interest to teachers, trainers, researchers, academics, policymakers and other professionals who play a role in adult learning across Europe. The platform is set up to foster the sharing of content related to adult learning, including news, blog posts, resources, events and courses. Funded by the European Commission, EPALE is the latest development in an ongoing commitment to improve the quality of adult learning in Europe.
Find out more at EPALE.

  Public Consultation on 2016 EU Citizenship Report

Vĕra Jourová, the EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, opened the Conference on EU Citizenship and Justice in Luxembourg with a call for citizens and stakeholders to participate in online consultations that were launched in September. The aim of these deliberations on the EU is to collect experiences and ideas from citizens on how to make it easier to exercise their rights. A compilation of the opinions and ideas will provide the basis for the bloc’s 2016 Citizenship Report.
Find out more at Public Consultation.

  Call for Submissions – Special Themed Issue of “International Journal for 21st Century Education”
Application Deadline: 30 November 2015

In today’s conflicted world, people need to develop a sense of responsibility at both local and global levels, becoming active citizens of their countries, continents and the planet as a whole. Many unresolved questions involving the theory and practice of education remain. Going to press in December 2015, this special issue on ‘European Citizenship and Literacy’ is seeking contributions related to European Citizenship and Literacy. The International Journal for 21st Century Education is a biannual publication dedicated to original studies on Education, Education Innovation, Research in Education, Second Languages, Multilingualism, Interculturalism, Multiculturalism and other related fields.
More information can be found here.

  Call for Applications – Young Europeans Award 2016
Application Deadline: 1 March 2016

The Young Europeans Award is a tri-national competition for young people from Germany, France and Poland. Classes and out-of-school groups are eligible to participate in the competition by getting involved in a joint project on the topic “How Far Does Europe Reach?”.
For more information on the competition, click here.

  Mapping Memories of Post-1989 Europe

Vienna, Austria, 29 November - 3 December 2015
The Ukraine crisis has revealed that national outlooks on recent European history differ significantly among countries, and that historical narratives play an important role in those differing perspectives – both in Eastern European countries and in Europe as a whole. Transnational remembrance and a common “European narrative”, however, can arguably only emerge if they are based on solidified national cultures of remembrance. This international conference and subsequent workshop will seek to locate post-communist cultures of remembrance and investigate their place in the production and reception of historical narratives of Europe.
More information can be found here.

  9th Annual International Conference on Global Studies: Business, Economic, Social and Cultural Aspects

Athens, Greece, 17-20 December 2015
The aim of this conference organized by the Athens Institute for Education and Research (ATINER) is to give participants an opportunity to present their work to academics and researchers from different disciplines. Papers will be considered from all areas of business, social sciences, arts and humanities. There are no specific themes. Participants can volunteer to organize a panel, present a paper, chair a session or get involved as an observer.
For more information on the conference, please click here.

  EUROCLIO 2016 annual conference

Belfast, Northern Ireland, 19-25 March 2016
The European Association of History Educators has announced an official Call for Participation in the 23rd EUROCLIO Annual Conference Professional Development and Training Course on ‘Remembering the Difficult Past through History Education’, which will take place in Belfast (Northern Ireland). Educators from all over the world are invited to apply to take part in one of the most significant history education conferences in Europe. 2016 marks the centenary of two important historical events: the Easter Rising and the Battle of the Somme.
More information can be found here.

  24th World Congress of Political Science

Istanbul, Turkey, 23-28 July 2016
The International Political Science Association (IPSA) is holding the 24th World Congress of Political Science on the topic of “Politics in a World of Inequality”, which builds on previous themes involving democracy, globalisation and the challenges of contemporary governance. The event will seek to refocus attention in political science on issues of redistribution and recognition in all their complexity, and to demonstrate the field’s relevance to political practice.
For more on the conference, click here.


You can find more current publications on citizenship education in Europe at the NECE website.

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The NECE Newsletter is published regularly and distributed via e-mail. It is available to anyone on the website. The newsletter is published by the German Federal Agency for Civic Education (bpb), which is responsible for its content according to definitions laid down by the German Telemedia Act.

Further contact information:
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The NECE newsletter contains information about current professional debates in the field of citizenship education in Europe. We hope it will serve as an important tool of communication and co-operation among stakeholders and institutions in Europe actively engaged in citizenship education. Our aim is to increase transparency for national actors in this field and for the growing NECE network.