Brilliant, joyful, intense, educational, funny, amazing, useful… The list of compliments is long! These are some of the adjectives used by participants when asked to describe the study session IFM-SEI organised recently in Strasbourg under the title “Charter for ALL: Putting Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education into Practice”. Held from 10th to 17th May, “Charter for ALL” was an invitation to rethink the way Human Rights Education / Education for Democratic Citizenship (HRE/EDC) could be taught around the world. This event could not become a reality without the Youth Department of the Council of Europe who offered its support and hosted the thirty two participants in the premises of its Strasbourg-based entity: the European Youth Centre. Drawn from Charter4All, which is the fun and friendly version of the Council of Europe Charter on Citizenship and Human Rights Education, the theme of the event was also conceived as a reminder of the topicality of Human Rights and Democracy issues which lack implementation for most of us!
With this seminar, IFM-SEI mainly intended to empower young educators from all over the world to be confident Human Rights Educators and provide them with profound understanding of HRE/EDC. Consequently, participants came from over sixteen countries in Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. The idea was to provide the space for participants to develop concrete plans to promote HRE/EDC in their organisations and beyond according to their contexts.
To reach this objective, sessions were run with non-formal educational methodology, including discussions, simulations, exhibitions and games. Throughout the week, participants could learn how to plan and run Human Rights educational processes and share good practices and challenges on Human Rights Education and Education for Democratic Citizenship. In addition, together we identified our learning needs, shaped and shared our plans for back home while deciding on how HRE/EDC should be implemented.
A very important point about this seminar is its practical aspect. In fact, participants were offered the opportunity to apply what they have learned during the event. So, during two days, they were placed in a real-life situation in which they could design a HRE/EDC session and run it with the others! To carry out this activity, they could get inspiration and advice from several resources such as Compasito, the new Compass and the Charter4All of the Council of Europe, Rainbow Resources and other useful tools.
If we can with no doubts assert that “Charter for ALL” provided the space to build a strong network of Human Rights fighters, it is due to the fact that the atmosphere of this event was suitable for developing friendships! Many social events included in the seminar helped generating a smooth and joyful atmosphere. That is the special intercultural night in which participants were invited to fantasize about imaginary countries, the movie evening in which we got some clues about Serbian history, the free afternoon in which we visited some key places in downtown Strasbourg such as the city’s famous cathedral, this followed by the dinner in a restaurant in town where we could have a local meal and finally the farewell party that allowed us to spend a final nice time together.
We are convinced that this event will be a big step on our walk to social change.