A laboratory for Active European Citizenship

Motivating young people to get involved at the location and on the European level: To reach this goal, 30 youth work institutions from 15 European countries united to become the “Generation Europe” network. From the 20th to the 26th of September, the participating youth centres, associations, unions, and institutions will transform Europäische Jugendbegegnungsstätte Weimar (EJBW) into a laboratory for new approaches of European democracy education.

“Active European Citizenship” – utilising this perhaps somewhat unwieldy concept, the participating organisations describe their shared commitment. This means participation instead of resignation, hands-on-democracy instead of frustration about “the powers that be”. In all 30 participating cities, youths are to identify problems at the location and develop local action plans. These plans are then discussed at European youth encounters and realised by the youths with the help of their European partners.

In Weimar, the international youth work professionals participating in “Generation Europe” will meet to further develop methods of participation and organisation, and try them themselves. “In Weimar we are testing a mix of planning and role-playing games, simulations, working group with practical applications, combined with theoretical sessions”, says Project Manager Katharina Teiting of the International Association for Education and Exchange (IBB e.V.), which initiated Generation Europe. “Our principle is this: We professionals use the same tools, the youths in their separate cities are supposed to utilise for organising, and actively dealing with the topics of human rights, democracy, and inclusion.”

Already this autumn, the first ten youth encounters as part of Generation Europe take place. From October on, youths from other European countries will travel to Brno (Czech Republic), Minsk (Belarus), Florence (Italy), Valencia (Spain), Sofiko (Greece), as well as to Munich, Groß Thurow, Oberhausen and Bochum (Germany). There, they will bring life and vitality to their new project partnerships.