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Let’s talk about

Europe


«Το σχέδιο αυτό χρηματοδοτήθηκε με την υποστήριξη της Ευρωπαϊκής Επιτροπής. Η παρούσα δημοσίευση δεσμεύει μόνο τον συντάκτη της και η Επιτροπή δεν ευθύνεται για τυχόν χρήση των πληροφοριών που περιέχονται σε αυτήν.» “The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsi­ble for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.”


INDEX A. Let’s talk about Europe project 4 B. About Citizens in Action and Youth Action for Peace (Italy) 5 C. Preparatory Meeting 6 D. Local Meetings D.i. Greece (CiA) 7 D.ii. Italy (Y.A.P) 10 E. International Meeting 11 F. Meetings for the preparation of the Open Event F.i. Greece (CiA) 15 F.ii. Italy (Y.A.P) 16 G. Open Event G.i. Greece (CiA) 18 G.ii. Italy (Y.A.P) 19 H. Outcome 20


A. About Let’s talk about Europe project The “Let’s talk about Europe” project is a transnational youth initiative which planned to bring together 15 young people from Greece and Italy (8 from Athens/ Thessaloniki, Greece and 7 from Rome, Italy) with the aim to give them the space to discuss challenging issues of their everyday lives like democracy nowadays, inclusion, social and economic crisis, unemployment and insecurity linked to it, ways of making their voices heard, the right to demand for changes and define politics, the right and responsibility to participate and stand up for one’s own rights. Next step after defining the issues of concern to them was to seek ways of bringing them to policy makers and making their voices heard but also highlighting the importance of being informed and participating in the decision making process. More specifically about the main issues addressed: • what democracy and participation mean to young people • what are the threats leading to political and social alienation of young people • why is there a dramatically lower trend towards political and social engagement • what are the alternative ways as a way out of a multifaceted crisis for their future The latest reports from “Eurofound “(European Foundation for the Improvement of the Living and Working Conditions, October 2012) show on behalf of young people a dramatically lower level of political interest, political and social engagement and a lower level of trust in the institutions. With this project the young people wanted to highlight the importance of social engagement but also the one of political engagement especially in view of the European Elections 2014. This initiative had clearly identified objectives to: • raise awareness on the importance of participation by expression of one’s opinions and ideas as well as by participating in the European Elections 2014 • help young people get better acquainted with institutions and policy makers in Europe • propose ideas for human development, equity and meeting today’s challenges • help the participants act as multipliers by reaching out other young people so as to make their voices heard There were specific steps to be taken in the implementation phase of the initiative. In the first phase, the local groups of 15 young people gathered locally so as to share their problematic, ideas and develop their plan of action for the coming months. Each group had one coordinator who facilitated the process of communication with the rest of the groups. Following this process a 5 days international meeting took place in Thessaloniki, Greece which focused on a) the exchange and sharing of problematic, b) the common knowledge building on existing institutions influencing youth and c) the various ways (e. g via social media, campaigns, voting etc) young people may use so as to promote their interests and influence politics. Once back to their countries/regions, participants organized one open event for other young people in order to raise awareness on the common problematic issues but also to inform them and ask for their support. The methods the participants worked were all based on the principles of nonformal education and had as their core the learning by doing approach. 4


B.

About Citizens in Action and Youth Action for Peace (Italy)

“Citizens in Action� (Greece) was created with the purpose of promoting active participation of young people and adults in social life, as a way to create a democratic, interdependent and open society. Members and young volunteers take part in local and international voluntary and training programmes that benefit local and rural communities in practical terms (community development) and with the educational aim of creating responsible and active citizens among international volunteers and local young people. The focus of C.i.A. volunteering projects is on the theme of inclusion as a way to empower young people to find alternative solutions to crisis and boost their initiative and creativity www.citizensinaction.gr

YAP Italy implements international short term voluntary activities, training courses for intercultural youth animators, information projects and campaigns. Added to the voluntary action in the territory, the organisation implements activities of centralised and decentralised information, communication and education of the youth to citizenship and the European dimension. YAP IT also contributes to the involvement and sending of socially, culturally or economically disadvantaged youth and young people at risk to itineraries of non formal education aimed at stimulating their personal growth capacities inside the community. www.yap.it

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C. Preparatory Meeting

t

he Preparatory Meeting of the trainers and facilitators of Greece and Italy took place on 20 – 21st February 2014, in Thessaloniki. During the meeting the general structure and

content of the whole project was planned together with the draft parameters, and dates and places were fixed. Three meetings before the International Meeting and two after it were predicted and a draft content was drawn. At the same time, the team decided upon the plan of the International Meeting and the every day timetable as well as upon all the study visits and guest visitors. A very important outcome of the meeting was the creation of the project’s website, www.let-us-talk-about.eu, where the team would upload apart from the application form all the photos, videos and material of the project together with the final report and the handbook. The application process for the participants was also actuated by the preparation of the call for participants with a deadline up to 12th March 2014.

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D. Local Meetings

i. Greece (C.i.A.) ◆

1st Meeting

The 1st Meeting took place on Thursday, 20th March, in Thessaloniki. It was a preparatory, break the ice meeting, where the participants had the chance to meet each other and talk about themselves and the value of volunteerism. They were also informed about the project and encouraged to express their motivation, expectations and fears regarding their participation in the project. ◆

2nd Meeting

During the 2nd Meeting on 27th March 2014, the participants briefly repeated the content of the previous meeting since there were 3 newcomers. Immediately after that, they ventured into exploring citizenship through the sections of life, work and voting; a. In the beginning, they were given a poster with 3 questions on life, work and voting and they were asked to reflect on them writing down their thoughts. We wouldn’t discuss them afterwards,the answers were personal and not supposed to be revealed to the whole group; Through the above questions, the participants were initially introduced to the main points of the project and got prepared for the next task called “Vote for a statement”. 7


• Do you believe it is important to participate in de cision-making practices? Why? • What is your dream profession? Give us some ex amples of how you imagine yourself in 15 years’ time. • Do you believe voting is important? Justify your opinion. Through the above questions, the participants were initially introduced to the main points of the project and got prepared for the next task called “Vote for a statement”. b. They were given orally some extreme statements and it was suggested to position themselves to the right of the room if they agree, to the left, if they disagree and/or stay in the middle if they don’t take sides. The statements were as following: Democracy doesn’t worth at all. Voting is only for the mοb and the simple crowd. Intelligent people never vote. People who don’t participate in decision-making practices should be thrown away of the society. All politicians are wrong.Citizens shouldn’t respect the law since politicians don’t. c. What followed was a role-playing game. They were given three real situations on life, work and voting and after asking them to split into three groups, they were urged to start debating on them playing each one of them a specific role; 1. The assembly of your apartment’s block of flats decided that a prostitute who leaves on the second floor should be thrown away. It is the majority’s decision. You are the only one who disagrees. 2. Your boss fired you without compensation and any explanation and in the beginning you were too puzzled to react. Later on, in the afternoon, you discuss it with a friend of yours looking for a solution. 3. Few months before the elections you come to know that the ex-mayor, who wants to be reelected and whom you have been standing for the last four years, is suspected of an economic crime. Nevertheless, you have to keep on standing for him before a member of the opponent party. After the ending of the role - playing game, the participants went on discussing the arguments of each group having a very interesting and enriching conversation. The 2nd Meeting’s goal was to introduce the participants to the main points of the project and gradually help them start thinking and arguing on them. To this direction and since the first contact with the project’s guidelines was achieved,

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a task for the next Meeting was given to the participants; they were asked to find good examples of active citizenship, social initiative, organizations, institutions etc of Thessaloniki or the city they live in and present them at the next meeting.

◆ 3rd Meeting The 3rd Meeting was held on 20th April 2014 and it was the last one before the International Meeting on 24 – 28th April 2014. The participants begun with filling in a questionnaire with the information they had gathered on good examples of active citizenship, social initiative, organizations, institutions etc of Thessaloniki or the city they live in and each one presented the results of their enquiry to the rest of the group. Then, the participants were informed about the everyday schedule of the International Meeting, the accommodation, meals and their study visits so that they could gradually start getting prepared. Then, an argumentation game followed, one against all or all against one. Based on a fictional condition of everyday life (for example, waiting in the queue to pay at a supermarket cash desk, garbage throwing on the street etc), a participant should argument in support of or against one of the above mentioned conditions and the rest of the group should consult each other and reason systematically against him/her exercising the abilities of argumentation and persuasion. After the game, they were encouraged to write down their ideas, suggestions and desires as far as the structure, methodology and content of the International Meeting were concerned, so that they could be taken into consideration at the final planning and implementation of the project by the educators. In the end, in a moment of relaxation the participants were urged to paint or draw how they imagine the ideal society so that they could leave with a sweet feeling from the 3rd Meeting and with the anticipation of the International Meeting. They were also asked to answer the following question for the days to come till the International Meeting; “If ideal society was a song, which one would it be?” Therefore, their task was to pick up a song, a melody, a track of music and post in on facebook common group.

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ii. Italy (Y.A.P) ◆ 1st Meeting The 1st Meeting took place in Rome on 17th of March. The main topic of the kick-off meeting was to warm up and build the group. We started with a game doing around of names and then throwing the ball to another person of the circle by saying his/her name, so that the participants could start knowing each other. After the game we prepared a flipchart with the draw of a tree to let the participants express their own expectations, motivations and fears by writing them down on a post- it and sticking them on the tree. To conclude the meeting a brief prezzi presentation was shown about the steps of the project. ◆

2nd Meeting

The 2nd meeting was held on 31st of March. The goal of the day was to explore three topics of the international meeting: Life, Work and Voting. The meeting started with a simple energizer/group building game to welcome the participants. The content of the game was to create a line and put in the correct order (by age, height, month of birth etc. of the participants), without talking or stepping outside the line. To start achieving the topic of the day a role playing game was held. The group was divided in subgroups of 2-3 participants. The subgroups were encouraged to debate on some hard real situations and then, after finding a common decision, to present and discuss them with the rest of the group. The situations were: 1. The assembly of your apartment’s block of flats decided that a prostitute who leaves on the second floor should be thrown away. It is the majority’s decision. You are the only one who disagrees. 2. Your boss fired you without compensation and any explanation and in the beginning you were too puzzled to react. Later on, in the afternoon, you discuss it with a friend of yours looking for a solution. 3. Few months before the elections you come to know that the ex-mayor, who wants to be reelected and whom you have been standing for the last four years, is suspected of an economic crime.

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E. International M e e ti n g

“Experience, change the way of thinking - view about many things�


During the International Meeting 8 participants from Greece (Thessaloniki, Athens and

other cities) and 7 from Rome, Italy, gathered together in the city of Thessaloniki in order to investigate and go deeper into the meaning of terms such as Europe, active citizenship, democracy, rights, responsibilities, social initiative, work etc. There were morning and afternoon sessions with small but frequent breaks in between and a longer lunch break. The whole meeting’s methodology was based on the principles of non-formal education and had as their core the learning by doing approach. The participants had study visits as well as the pleasure to welcome guest visitors, ask questions and learn from them during the whole meeting. At the same time, there was a large number of activities and games on active listening, leadership, learning – unlearning, social initiative etc to facilitate and strengthen the learning process of the participants in an interactive and entertaining way. The meeting’s first day was based on the following 6 words: EUROPE, DEMOCRACY, RIGHTS, WORK, LIFE, and CITIZEN. The participants were asked to write down whatever comes to their mind when they hear those words on 6 correspondent posters. Once this was done, they walked around and marked or underlined some words or phrases that made strong impression to them and at the same time they were encouraged to place their names on the topics they considered as the most intere-sting / challenging to explore. 12


Next day, according to the word they had picked up as the most interesting / challenging to explore, the participants were divided in groups and they had the task to prepare a collage and a story using all the words written on their chosen poster. Then, they shared their work in plenary and a very fruitful discussion followed. On the third day, they worked on their topic in order to prepare an activity to be presented and shared with the whole group. They could have a presentation of their choice, i.e. a theatrical performance, a role – playing game, a picture, a drawing, a piece of music etc. After the ending of each group’s presentation, a discussion took place. On the fourth day, the participants had already been exposed to a significant amount of input, so they were asked to answer the following questions in the framework of “a world cafe”; • What are the social areas where your opinion matters? • What do you need to know in order to participate in decision making processes? • What do you need to be able to do in order to participate in decision making processes? • What are the factors that enable you to participate? • What are the factors that block your participation? After the participants had written down their opinion, the trainers ventured to connect the whole meeting, summed up and ended up to the importance of participation. They stressed the idea of Europe, the importance of the elections, voting and active citizenship in European level. An evaluation session followed and the participants were informed about the next steps needed to be taken; two open events on youth participation and Europe and the production of a booklet on issues that bother youth today.

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what i have learnt “value of participation”

“I believe our discussions were useful and also relevant to Europe because Greece and Italy are a part of Europe. I learnt that there are many innovative ideas and ways for youngsters to change the bad aspects of Europe. we have to wake up!”

“i discovered parts of myself i didn’t know existed an influenced my life...”

“different perspective of team working”

“if i want i can make a change”


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4th Meeting

On 10th May 2014, the 4th Meeting of the participants was held with two main goals; a brief feedback and evaluation of the International Meeting and the preparation of the Open Event. The Meeting mainly focused on the preparation of the Open Event, so the participants were asked to start planning and suggesting ideas. They had time to brainstorm and they concluded that the Open Event would be interactive concerning active citizenship and participation in Europe of the 21st century and it would be open to the public and mainly to their friends. They decided that it would take place in late June but they needed more time to clearly plan and organize the whole event. In the meantime, the deliverables of the project were briefly discussed, namely the enrichment of the project’s website with photos and videos of the International Meeting, project reports, uploading of photos and videos of the open events and the final booklet.

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5th Meeting

During the 5th Meeting on 13th June 2014, the participants focused on the preparation of the event, structuring its content and finalizing the activities to take place. At the same time, they decided on the means and ways of disseminating the event, mainly through facebook, e-mails and personal contacts.

F.

Meetings for the preparation of the Open Event

i. Greece

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ii. Italy (Y.A.P) ◆ 4th Meeting On 13th of May the 4th meeting was held. It was the meeting just after the International Meeting. During this day the participants were encouraged to discuss in circle about the International Meeting and talk about the experience they had. This activity had the role of evaluation.Just after the evaluation, the focus of the group moved to the open event. During the discussion, a white chalkboard was used to brainstorm on what to prepare and where/when to do the open event. The final idea was to do the open event in the Youth Center “Batti Il Tuo Tempo” in Rome during the school closing party. The meeting concluded by giving everybody the task to think on how to improve the discussed ideas and to keep in touch in order to develop an activity.

◆ 5th Meeting This meeting on 26th of May took place to prepare the material for the open event. The meeting started with the division of the roles for the participants, since all the participants had to have a role/ specific responsibilities during the open event. The main roles were: -Facilitators for the activity/Video workshop -Food preparation -Photo exhibition -Preparation of the day. 16


The idea of the activity consisted in creating a video about “Democracy in Europe”, leaving the topic very vague to allow the group to discuss about it and decide an idea of the project. After some discussion, the common topic was to create a “European Party made by youngsters for youngsters”. After the division of the roles, the group also decided to prepare and select some photos in order to create a photo exhibition.

◆ 6th Meeting During this meeting held on 12th June, the group met to finish preparing the posters for the Open Event and stick the photo exhibition onto the wall.

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G. Open Event i. Greece (CiA) The Open Event took place on Wednesday, 25th June 2014, in the Art Space SourLiBoom, with the following structure; After a short and warm welcoming by the participants and the facilitator and a short energizer to heat things up, the guests were asked to write down their answers to the following questions and have selfies with them; 1. What’s the most important problem that bothers you and your friends? 2. What’s your opinion about the euro elections’ results? 3. What are your expectations from the new Europarliament? If you could send a mes sage to euro deputies, what would it be? 4. What’s the song that suits best to an ideal society? What do you believe you can do so that this song can come to reality? Write down 5 things you are going to start imple menting to this direction… 5. Can you draw a picture that could express what the ideal society is for you? What do you believe you can do so that this drawing can come to reality? Write down 5 things you are going to start implementing to this direction… Then, an RPG took place, inspired by an idea born during the International Meeting. All the participants and the guests formed a circle, sat down and started playing. They were supposed to be citizens of a society where a mighty king is getting older and gradually loses his power. He has to be replaced and the players pretend to be citizens of different social backgrounds and classes, namely a shepherd, a fisherman, a policeman, a judge, a doctor, a businessman, a general and so on. They try to find a solution to the lack of ruling power and each one of them is urged to argument and express their opinion encouraged by a participant – animator. The whole conversation was very interesting and motivated all the players to seriously think on issues like authoritarian power, social initiative, active citizenship, democratic rights, social intervention and civil responsibilities. 18


ii. Italy (Y.A.P) The Open Event of the Italian Group took place on Wednesday 18th of June in the Youth Center “ Batti Il Tuo Tempo” at 16:00. The Event started with an icebreaking game to build the group of the participants. After this short game, we made a circle and we talked a little bit about “Let’s talk about Europe” project before starting to work on the activity. The idea of the activity already discussed during the 5th meeting, consisted in creating a video about “Democracy in Europe”, leaving the topic very vague to allow the group to discuss about it and decide an idea of the project. The common topic was to create a “European Party made by youngsters for youngsters”.The outcome of the day was: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXvbPhzmXjU In the meanwhile, during the video workshop some food and drinks were provided to create a better atmosphere in the group. During the event the participants of the international meeting took the role of facilitators. In the event there was also a photo exhibition of the International Meeting and some info points on how to apply for similar projects. 19


H. Outcome During the meeting, it was obvious that there is a dramatically lower trend towards political and social engagement by the youth, which becomes more and more politically and socially alienated, indifferent to decision making processes that nevertheless immediately affect their lives, their future. Most of the participants had a vague opinion on politics, on democratic values or even on their rights and responsibilities in the framework of European citizenship. Their approach was general, not put into realistic practice and away from the essential core of real, conscientious participation. On the other hand, a small number of the participants was already aware of the importance of being an active citizen, able to participate in the shaping of his/ her society and future, by acting daily towards this direction. Consequently, the project succeeded in giving young participants the space to discuss challenging issues of their everyday lives like democracy nowadays, inclusion, social and economic crisis, unemployment and insecurity linked to it, ways of making their voices heard, the right to demand for changes and define politics, the right and responsibility to participate and stand up for one’s own rights. According to its initial aims, the project looked for ways of bringing them to policy makers and making their voices heard but also highlighting the importance of being informed and participating in the decision making process. The participants themselves got better acquainted with institutions and policy makers in Europe, they realized the importance of participation by expression of one’s opinions and ideas as well as by participating in the European Elections 2014 and at the same time they became aware of the importance of voting and influencing their own future. During the project, they were presented with alternative ways for their future as a way out of a multifaceted crisis. The project gave them the tools and the necessary input so that they could start asking themselves and constantly questioning the social situation all around them trying to take action based not only on their personal reserves but also on the power of teamwork in a complicated and ever-changing society.

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«Το σχέδιο αυτό χρηματοδοτήθηκε με την υποστήριξη της Ευρωπαϊκής Επιτροπής. Η παρούσα δημοσίευση δεσμεύει μόνο τον συντάκτη της και η Επιτροπή δεν ευθύνεται για τυχόν χρήση των πληροφοριών που περιέχονται σε αυτήν.» “The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsi­ble for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.”

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