Democratic citizenship and human rights education

For an Intercultural Perspective in Education for Democratic Citizenship: The Challenges of Non-formal Education

A national seminar with this title took place in Bucharest in January 2004 as part of a SOCRATES – GRUNDTVIG project coordinated by the Tallaght Partnership (Ireland) and implemented by the Intercultural Institute of Timisoara in collaboration with organisations from Spain and Bulgaria, with cooperation from the Council of Europe and UNESCO. The event was attended by representatives of several important public institutions, including the Ministry of Education, the Department for Interethnic Relations, the Youth Agency and the Institute for Educational Sciences, the Council of Europe Information Office in Bucharest, as well as some of the most active Romanian NGOs in this field.

The seminar had two main objectives:

  • to present to a national audience the results of the Grundtvig project “Towards democratic citizenship through non-formal learning” as a way to encourage the further development of non-formal education activities that contribute to the promotion of active citizenship and that integrate an intercultural approach;
  • to explore the possibilities of setting-up a national network of organizations and institutions that promote an intercultural approach in education for democratic citizenship.

Through a process of participatory research, the project sought to uncover the learning processes underpinning democratic citizen activities, which enhance active citizenship, associated with non- formal education projects. The four project sites (Romania, Ireland, Spain and Bulgaria) were thus involved in assessing the specific tools, instruments, mechanisms and dynamics within non-formal education that animate improvement and learning and thereby strengthen citizenship. In this frame, two previous projects of IIT were analysed based on participatory research methodology:

  • Together with Roma from Banat, for a sustainable local development, involving Roma and non-Roma young people in identifying and solving problems for the development of their region
  • Banat Network for Intercultural Citizenship Education, explicitly approaching the citizenship learning through non-formal education summer camp programs for young people organized in the multiethnic area of Banat region (including regions of Romania, Hungary and Serbia)