The end is not the end - stay connected!

So this is it. Once again, another NECE conference has come to its end. Over 300 participants, 15 workshops, keynotes and panels, amounting to more than 500 meetings within just three days.

As a highlight on this last day of the conference Israeli author Lizzie Doron, who recently published her latest book "Who the fuck is Kafka" about her friendship to a palestinian journalist, gave an inspring speech. Instead of  'othering', as it had been the focus of many of this year's discussions, she urged participants to work hard to inspire processes of 'gathering'. 

Refugees in Europe – How to prevent unfair stereotyping by Citizenship Education?

The refugee crisis is the most challenging problem of today's world – and at this crucial point Europe seems to be incapable of acting, or at least unwilling to cope with the crisis in a half-decent way. So much for the opinion of Karl Kopp from PRO ASYL, a refugee relief organization based in Frankfurt, Germany.

"Giving young people the skills to make a difference"

Is Citizenship Education itself promoting an idea of "Us" and "Them"? Audrey Osler from Buskerud and Vestfold University College in Norway raises this question and claims: We need Citizenship Education that gives people the skills to make the difference. And to understand the crisis we are facing.


Prevention vs empowerment? How Citizenship Educators can react to the radicalization of youth

This workshop dealt with the issue of "Prevention vs empowerment. How Citizenship Educators can react to the radicalization of youth". The theoretical background of prevention, radicalization and de-radicalization was also presented as existing strategies to fight against these tendencies.

Challenging Historical Narratives

"History education can be a tool – but it can also be used as a weapon" - this farsighted quotation by Mire Mladenovski would serve as a valuable thesis on the development of othering processes in general. At the same time, it is a crucial finding that emphasizes the value of the work of EUROCLIO, hosts of today's Workshop session 1.3. "Challenging Historical Narratives".

"Show us what you do, don't tell us what to do."

Egypt is a country in tremendous transition. Citizenship Education can play a weighty role in this process. Noha El Mikawy, from the Ford Foundation in Cairo, wants to hear about the European problems and mistakes – in order to develop viable strategies for Egypt.

Panel 1: Russia, Ukraine and 'the West': Rethinking our mental cartography?

Since the Russian-Ukrainian-conflict we have witnessed a half-forgotten antagonism in Europe: "The West" vs. Russia is becoming a more and more common perception in European societies. So in Panel 1 the necessity to rethink our mental cartography of the alleged irreconcilable Russia, Ukraine and "The West" was obvious.

It's US who are hard to reach!

As part of the NECE Focus-Group "Hard-to-reach learners", Michalis Kakos from Leeds Beckett University discussed in his workshop theoretical reflections of othering and the identity construction of young Europeans. Democracy needs inclusion and inclusion needs a Citizenship Education that reaches all citizens, he claims in our interview.


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.

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

Welcome back! It’s that time of the year again and NECE is going into its 11th round. Titled “‘Us’ and ‘Them’”, this year’s NECE conference is all about the increasing divisions and polarization within European societies. Set in the historically and culturally charged city of Thessaloniki, over three days full of inspiring talks, panels and workshops, we will try to reimagine and define the role of citizenship education in these turbulent times.  

Picking up where we left off, this year’s NECE conference will build on the questions and topics that were at the core of the conference in Vienna last year. Whereas last year’s edition was concerned with various conflicts in and around Europe, this year’s focal point will be to critically reimagine and define the role of citizenship education in dealing with the increasing divisions and polarization within European societies.

What better place indeed to discuss these pressing issues than the city of Thessaloniki? A city that mirrors the diverse, multicultural and often turbulent history of Europe: A melting-pot, where early Europe and the Ottoman Empire crossed ways. Showplace of the atrocities of the 20th century with the extinction of the largest urban communities of Jews by the Germans. Focal point of Europe’s most current crises: The refugee-, as well as the European debt crisis. It’s fair to say, that this year’s NECE will indeed be taking place very close to the physical heart of the topics at hand.

Time to take action! 

NECE provides a unique platform for citizenship educators to meet other practitioners, activists and academics, to exchange experiences and thoughts, build up a transnational network and to exchange among various disciplines and perspectives. This year’s conference looks at  the phenomenon of ‘othering’ and asks what citizenship education does and should do in that context. In order to define concrete goals and potential actions, we will gather insights from research projects and publications - all in a transnational space of co-operation and interdisciplinary exchange. 

Over three days, from the 22nd until the 24th of October, there will be a tightly knit program with plenty of inspiring speakers, engaging workshops, talks and panels:

  • Yiannis Boutaris, mayor of the City of Thessaloniki, will hold an opening address. 
  • Josè Casanova from the University of Georgetown will hold a keynote on “Mental cartographies” in an interdependent world
  • Lizzie Doron will hold a keynote titled “Beyond ‘Us’ and ‘Them’: Personal Observations and Open Questions”

We explicitly invite you to shape the conference by getting involved: 

  • Leave comments in the comment-section of this blog 
  • Share your thoughts, inputs and conclusions on Twitter, using the #NECE2015
  • Submit your project to be discussed in the “Open Format” sessions on the first day  

Already in advance of the conference, this blog will provide some introductory information, interviews and interesting literature suggestions. Of course, the NECE blog team will also interactively react on your comments and suggestions. During the conference we will of course keep you posted about everything that you won’t have time to check out yourself: Interviews, articles and pictures will allow you to dive right into the NECE action - even if you can’t be there at all! Looking forward.