As spring has arrived around Europe the team behind the VSS is complete and preparation is in full swing. Over 30 volunteers have been recruited for the roles of prep team, trainers and support team to build this 11th edition of the EFIL Summer Summit together.

This year’s VSS will take place on the island of Utøya in Norway and will focus on the topic of “Civic education against extremism”. Although this might seem like a bold choice, a long reflection has gone into why it is appropriate to host the event there. After the tragic events that took place in 2011, Utøya has been reopened as both a place of memory and a workshop for democracy and civic education; it now hosts organisations to empower people to stand against extremism through learning, reflection, dialogue and the purposeful re-habitation of the island in the face of extreme violence. The theme has been thoughtfully chosen to reflect the history of the island and to act as a catalyst for an open and honest discussion about extremism in its many forms, and how to counter it through civic education. As AFSers, committed to creating a more just a peaceful world, and an active citizen, we believe participants of the VSS have a role to play in making our society less polarized, less extreme, less violent, and more inclusive. At the VSS they will have the chance to gain motivation, knowledge, tools and most importantly relationships to have a real impact. The programme of the Summer Summit is designed to offer many different settings and activities to explore the theme, get to know each other, learn more about Norway, about Utøya and give back to our host community.

Through a track system, participants will be able to choose 2-4 workshops that will focus on one aspect of the topic and explore it from different specific angles. Following a track will offer the chance to go in-depth and guide participants on a coherent journey through the topic. This year´s tracks are:

  • Intercultural Learning in Civic Education [ICE]
  • Shaping Public Opinion [SPO]
  • AFS as a Stakeholder in Civic Education [ACE]
  • Civic Global Activism [CGA]
  • Peace through Inclusion [PTI]

The rest of the program includes: a local night, a community project, the famous Bazar, several leisure activities, an exhibition, and an amazing Goodbye party to wrap it all up in Norwegian style. The VSS team is very excited to welcome volunteers at the VSS this July and we encourage participants to make the most of this unique learning journey.

The project is supported by the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe within the annual Work Plane “Intercultural Learning in the 21st Century – uniting polarised societies”.

See you in Norway!