Education ministers from across the EU met on 17 March in Paris to discuss ways in which education and training can help to tackle problems of radicalisation in the wake of recent terrorist attacks, and issued a joint declaration, calling for cooperation across all member states and stakeholders to combat marginalisation, intolerance and discrimination through their education systems. EU Commissioner Navracsics stated: “Now more than ever, we need to build cohesive communities, and find ways to live together as a society. Education helps us to understand and accept our differences, overcome alienation, and create belonging and inclusion.”
Commissioner Navracsics followed up this commitment and convened some youth organisations for a meeting to discuss practices that worked to promote social and civic competences in diverse societies, and gather ideas for policy actions. EFIL had the honour to be invited to this consultation meeting, together with the European Youth Forum, EEE-YFU, Youth for Exchange and Understanding, the European Student Union and some other stakeholders.
The Commissioner underlined that though the European Commission started its mandate based on the priority of employability in the field of education, resulting from the economic crises, the recent events have shows that young people don’t only need the skills needed by the labour market but social and civic competences aimed at strengthening the personal development of young people and promote citizenship and social integration. During the meeting, the AFS experience in intercultural exchanges have been presented, in particular the role of the long-term cultural immersion in a host family and host-community, and the crucial contribution of volunteers in the learning process of participants confronted with cultural differences. Stakeholders around the table emphasized how only actions at local level can be efficient against discrimination and marginalisation because young people need to learn to live together in the every day life in their communities. Also, the importance of media literacy to combat extremist was raised as a key element.
Mr Navracsics closed the meeting announcing that this was only the beginning of a process of consultation with civil society and youth organisations in particular, aimed at defining measures to tackle the issue .
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