Remembering the Past – Envisioning the Future
The project is co-funded by the Europe for Citizens Programme
of the European Union
The project gathers partners from 6 European countries with the objective of encouraging young people to actively participate in the shaping of the future of the EU, through raising awareness of Europe’s violent past, the challenge the recent raise of extreme political movements represent for European society and the importance of the core values the EU is built upon for the future of Europe. In 2019, the year of the European elections, we also commemorate 2 important events that shaped our present reality – the 30th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the 15th anniversary of the enlargement of the EU to the countries of eastern and central Europe.
Rethinking Europe’s turbolent past is of great importance to fostering constructive debate on the future of Europe. The disaster of 20 century wars and division brought about the European idea, together with the realization of the necessity of securing peace through the establishment of a supranational citizenship, built around common values and ideals.
In the wake of the recent crises, however,(Economic crisis, Refugee crisis, Brexit), the challenges the Union is confronted to, have resullted in the raise of Eurosceptism, Extreme Right Movements, opposition between member states, raise in hate speech, intolerance, discrimination and racism. In this context it is of great importance that young people are active participants in the shaping of the future of the community.
Data from the previous European Elections in 2014 and 2009, and from national and local elections around Europe clearly demonstrates high levels of abstention from the part of young Europeans. The opinion polls show that among the main reasons motivating abstention are lack of trust in politics, belief that their participation doesn’t make a difference, feeling that the ongoing debate doesn’t concern them, feeling that their needs are not being adressed by political discourse, insufficient understanding of the democratic processes on local, national and European level and the interactions among the above.
With the above background, the main objective of the project is to encourage young people to actively participate in the decision making and democratic processes of the European Union, by addressing the above described feeling of disconnect and disengagement in young Europeans, demonstrated clearly by high levels of abstention. The project seeks to empower young people to participate in the shaping of the Future of the Union, and express their opinions, by emphasising the importance of active citizenship, individual awareness and different ways of participation on multiple levels. The project aims to:
– Encourage young people to be active participants in the shaping of the future of the community.
– Empower young people to engage actively in the democratic life of the community, and express their opinions, by emphasising the importance of active citizenship, individual awareness and different ways of participation on multiple levels
– Raise awareness among young people of the core values of the European Union,and the importance of their preservation for the future welfare of European societies
– Challenge extreme right political movements, Euroscepticism, hate speech, racism and xenophobia through exposing the factual and logical fallacies abusive discourse is based upon.
– Raise awareness among young citizens of the EU policies, instruments and tools for engagement, participation and solidarity
– Engage young people in the debate for the future of Europe, and encourage them to reflect on the society they want to live in.
The project consists of six international events and a Tell Your Story Contest for Young people.
The International events are structured in a way to invite young Citizens to discuss and reflect on the core values of the EU, their emergence in the past and the importance of their preservation for the future welfare of European societies. In the activities will participate local authorities Heritage and Rememberance organisations, veterans, senior citizens, youth and solidarity organisations, decision makers, political organisations, human rights, immigrant and minority organisations.
1. The “People and Walls” event in France will focus on diversity and migration through exploring the implications of building, maintaining and destroying the Wall on local, national and supranational levels, the emergence of the recent walls and their consequences for the future of Europe.
2. The “Right and wrong side of the Wall(s)” in Portugal and will focus on the raise of Euroscepticism and extreme right movements through exploring the consequences of division, intolerance xenophobia and racism, as well as the concepts of otherness and belonging in a multicultural society.
3. The “Overcoming barriers to Human Dignity” event in Poland will focus on the importance of individual rights and freedoms, and the different forms of protest against their violation.
4. The “Public Face of the Wall(s)” conference in Italy and will focus on the typology and consequences of divisive discourse, propaganda, hate speech, disinformation.
5. The “Between Remembrance and Denial” forum in Romania will focus on the aftermath of the fall of the Wall. The topics of discussion will be implications and lessons learned, imagining the fall of the current Walls and the future of Europe.
6. The final event “The Wall in the Minds” in Albania, will focus on the ways the division of Europe in the past influences contemporary societies and European Integration. The event will also focus on the importance of the accession of new countries to the EU for our collective prosperity and wellbeing.
In order to engage effectively the young people a “Tell your story” multimedia contest will be launched at the start of the project, designed especially to provoke the younger to discover the stories of their predecessors and rethink the historical events trough the destinies of their own family members. It will also invite them to describe their vision for the future society they would like to live in.
Each partner will be responsible for appointing a jury, running the evaluation procedures and select the winners who will have the opportunity to participate in the international events and present their work. Each partner will organize an informational campaign – leaflets and newsletters promoting the contest participation criteria and awards will be printed out and distributed through the relevant organizations, with specific focus on reaching to young people at high risk of exclusion.
The project will also be disseminated trough a multilingual (all partners languages plus English) website where up-to date information, detailed calendar of the project events, and the works of the participants in the contest will be published into a specific online library called “Tell your Story”. After the end of the contest, the library will remain open for contributions from the general public, with possibility for uploading texts, images and audiovisual material. Thus, the material collected trough the contest and website will constitute an important database both for the preservation of the memory of the past, and inspiration for the future. The project website will also contain all research results, case studies, papers, images, audiovisual material, presentations, summaries etc., produced during the lifetime of the project, all downloadable free of charge.
The Second Revision Event in Portugal is coming soon. It will take place in Setubal between 5 and 7 of December, gathering participants from 6 European countries – Portugal, France, Italy, Poland, Romania, Albania and Bulgaria. During the “Right and Wrong Side of the Wall” Forum we will explore what every day life was under authoriatarian regimes, the forms of repression, ostracism and persecution employed by the regimes of the past, and we will hear the memories of contemporaries and witnesses of these periods from different countries. In light of the past events, we will also reflect, discuss and debate on the future of the EU and the society we would like to live in tomorrow.
We are also launching the International “Tell Your Story” Contest for young people, which will give the winners the opportunities to visit a partner country, participate in the international event there, present their work publicly in front of a wide audience, and meet young people from all over Europe.
There are several ways in which you can participate in the activities of the project:
If you are a young person, engaging as a volunteer in the organisation of the international event is a great way for you to actively participate in society, expand your knowledge, gain new competencies, improve your foreign language skills, and meet new people. We are recruiting volunteers to help us with the following tasks:
We will recruit between 10 and 15 volunteers, who will be awarded a certificate of participation in the organisation of the event, detailing their mission and the skills acquired.
The Right and Wrong Side of the Wall(s) Forum will take place between 5 and 7 of December in Setubal. Our team, collaborators and local partners are working to finalize the official programme, which will be published shortly on our website. Attending the Forum will give you the opportunity to:
While the event is primarily dedicated to young people, the forum is open to participants of all ages. Subscribing to the event in advance is however strongly recommended, as it will allow us to make sure that there is an available seat for you, and that you are included in the non-formal activities too(if you subscribe to them).
Only a couple of generations ago, life in Portugal (as well as in many European countries) was nothing like today. The 20th century put to the test our grandparents in many ways. They lived through times when individual freedoms and civic rights were restricted, economic oportunity and purchase power were limited, the access to quality social services, healthcare, and education was unequal, the impartial and fair functioning of the state was impaired etc.
The life experiences of the previous generations are of great importance to us. They are key for our understanding of how and why our society today is the way it is – with its challenges and achievements. We live the benefits of the victories our predecessors won. We also face the consequences of their failures. Getting to know their stories will unlock the capacity in us to build a better future. Greater awareness of our past and present will empower us to make better choices and avoid pitfalls those before us have fallen into.
There is invaluable knowledge right where you are, in the memories of the persons closest to you. With the “Tell Your Story” Contest we ask you to go get it and share it with the rest of us. All you need to do is first get curious about your elderly family members, neighbors, teachers etc., and then simply ask them to tell you the story of their life. You can then submit the story to us before January 31, 2020 in whatever creative form you like – an essay, picture, video, multimedia presentation, painting etc. – your imagination is the limit.
An independent jury will then select 4 winners, each of whom will present their work at one of the international events to be organised in the partner countries – Italy, Poland, Romania and Albania.
Even if you do not win an award, we will publish your story in all countries participating in the project.
In order to participate in the contest, you need to fulfill the following criteria:
The winners will be announced on February 5 of 2020.
You can get involved in any of the described above project activities through filling the form below. Once we receive your request, we will get touch with you to verify your identity and that you fulfill the criteria for your chosen activity(ies). If you are under 18 y.o., we will ask you to connect us with your parents/legal guardians in order to make sure they allow you to participate in the project. Once these steps are accomplished, we will send you the relevant information and registration forms for the activity(ies) you selected.
If you want to engage as a volunteer, we will send you a form for you to select what missions and tasks you would like to participate in. Once your mission defined, you will receive writen instructions on your tasks, and we will also schedule a timetable for face-to face instruction and coaching.
If you choose to attend the event, you will receive from us a form in which you will select at which activities you will be present. Thisway, we will make sure that you have a seat and are counted in all activities which require preparation(language support, catering etc.).
If you take on the challenge to participate in the contest, you will be given the option of either submitting your work online or physically to us. You will also receive a form for you to tell us which event/country would you like to visit in case you receive an award. In case your work is selected, our team will get in touch with you to start the preparation for the international events by 5 of February 2020.