The CGrow Conference – “Empowering Global Citizens – Intercultural education for diverse classrooms and societies”

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After 2 exciting years, the CGrow project has officially ended, but not before our European Conference “Empowring Global Citizens – Intercultural education for diverse classrooms and societies”, which took place on the 22nd November in Brussels.

The conference aimed to present the outcomes of the CGrow project, present the findings of its Scientific Study and also present the policy recommendations that came out from the entire project. In addition to this, a panel composed of policy makers and high-level practitioners gave their opinion on the outcomes of the project and the future of intercultural education.

The conference started with the EEE-YFU Director, Kea Hoppe, welcoming everybody and presenting the outcomes of the CGrow project. You can see the full presentation here.

The outcomes in a shell:

  • 7 countries, 9 new regions reached
  • More than 1000 workshops for intercultural education
  • 20000 young people reached
  • More than 300 active volunteers
  • 120 teachers and youth workers tested the new guidelines, resulting from the pedagogical adaptation of Coloured Glasses
  • Guidelines translated in 6 languages (German, Swedish, Italian, Bulgarian, French, English)

Afterwards, Dr. Julia Zimmerman from the Fern Universitaet Hagen presented the outcomes of the scientific study that we conducted during this 2 year project. The full presentation can be found here.

MEP Julie Ward gave an emotional key note speech, where she talked about how close intercultural education is to her heart and mission, how teaching young people from disadvantaged areas in the UK changed her life completely and determined her to become a policy maker and try to make a difference for them. She also illustrated how the people she reached through intercultural education are now very active and accomplished citizens, stressing the need to continuing doing this, and even increasing our efforts.

It was then time for our panel, composed of institutional stakeholders and practitioners:

  • Julie Ward (Member of the European Parliament)
  • Paolo Fontani (UNESCO Liaison Office in Brussels)
  • Michela Beati (European Commission)
  • Natalie Foster (OECD)
  • Fred Carlo Andersen (International Association for Intercultural Education)

The panel was moderated by YFU’s Secretary Gerneral, Melanie Rutten-Sülz and touched upon many questions both related to each guest speaker’s field of expertise or to intercultural education in general. You can watch the entire panel discussion here.

After a short coffee break, the participants split in 4 working groups. Each of the groups touched upon an important objective of CGrow:

  1. Experiences of cooperation between formal and non-formal education providers (ex. schools and youth association): which practices have proven to be effective? Which haven’t?
  2. Teachers and educators dealing with cultural diversity: what’s the level of preparedness? What support is needed?
  3. Quality intercultural education: what are the essential elements? How to best prepare education providers to ensure quality learning experiences?
  4. Policy environment for intercultural education: what changes are needed at the policy level (European, national, local) to unleash the potential of intercultural education? (for example: more funding, better national laws, different school regulations, etc.)

The groups were led by the regional coordinators of CGrow, the very people who have worked in this project for the last 2 years. They were able to share all the things that happened during the project related to the theme of the group and also share best practices and lesson learned.

In the closing session, we shared our final policy recommendations, which will guide EEE-YFU advocacy work from now on (full version here):

  • Integrate newer approaches to intercultural learning and intercultural education
  • Promote and support synergies between formal and non-formal education sectors
  • Support and provide resources for Global Citizenship Education
  • Prepare teachers and youth workers for engaging with diversity
  • Proceed with definition and assessment of transversal competencies

After a light lunch, the participants got the opportunity to try out the famous Coloured Glasses workshops, the methodology on which the CGrow project was built. All the participants were pleasantly surprised by how transformative these workshops can be and were interested in finding out more about it and maybe implement them in their organization.

All in all, the Conference was a success! We would like to thank all of our guest for attending our conference and we hope that this event is just the start of many new and impactful collaborations which will help foster intercultural understanding across Europe and beyond.