Let's move forward!

The NECE conference 2015 has begun! Its challenging slogan: “'Us' and ‘Them': Citizenship Education in an Interdependent World”. The opening session shows: The European crisis brings changes to society, politics, education. Citizenship Education has to adapt.

The conference starts with an unforeseeable complication: Since the weather in Thessaloniki is stormy and cloudy the airport had been closed for some hours and many participants could not make it to the conference in time. Due to the weather the opening speech by Thomas Krüger, president of the German Federal Agency for Civic Education, has to be postponed. But maybe this illustrates perfectly the challenges citizenship education has to face: having to deal with unforeseeable changes.

So this is exactly the main topic of the first hour: What does constant change mean for Citizenship Education? As Petra Grüne put it in the first round of talks: "Citizenship Education can't be done the same way it was done five years ago, or even one year ago. It has to change constantly".

Beyond “Us” and “Them”

The change José Casanova from Georgetown University addressed is the shift in understanding what "Us" and "Them" means in Europe in the 21st century. He illustrates how the process of initiating a post-national constellation with a European collective identity is still in progress. The question of a European identity becomes even more complex regarding the challenges Europe is facing: In times of global migration, citizen identity has to be constructed in a flexible manner that is open to the integration of new and diverse groups of immigrants. In fact Europe has to redefine its political character and identity.

What it means to define new identities is shown by Christina Koulouri from the Panteion University of Political and Social Sciences (Athens, Greece). She presents a brief overview of the Greek discourse on immigration and citizenship from a historical perspective. She links very current topics like the rise of the extreme right-wing party Golden Dawn with the historical question what "being Greek" means.

Citizenship Education
Conference Day: 

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