During the opening ceremony, the participants were warmly welcomed by the EWC Deputy Director, EU Ambassador to Armenia, the head of the Yerevan School of Political Studies, as well as the coordinators and head trainer of the programme. They heard about global processes, such as ubiquitous digitalization of every aspect of our lives and personal data insecurity; highlighting the importance of democratic educational solutions. A discussion of the recent democratic changes in Armenia was an important introduction to the following sessions, where the participants learnt about the EDC/HRE theory and practice by getting acquainted with the Council of Europe Charter on Citizenship and Human Rights Education, and the Reference Framework for Competences of Democratic Culture.
The seminar contained elements that have shown significant results from previous years of the program, such as supporting participants in planning their local projects. This year selected projects were varied in both scale and theme, from the creation of a democratic and inclusive school environment, to intercultural education projects. The participants learnt techniques for project design and implementation and got to apply it to own projects with feedback from the trainers. However, it also differed in some important respects. First, two of the seminar trainers used to be participants of the programme themselves, and EWC was happy and proud to see how this has contributed to their professional development. Secondly, the new CoE campaign «FREE to SPEAK, SAFE to LEARN» became a cross-cutting theme of the seminar agenda. The participants focused on the main topics of the campaign, reflecting on the possibility to introduce the principles into their own projects.
Based on the participants comments, meeting like-minded colleagues, learning about the applicable methods and exercises in combination with feedback on their own projects were the main experiences they will take home with them.
The Citizenship Education seminar was the first of the practicing citizenship programme’s 2019 cycle. It will be followed by an advanced seminar during the summer of 2019 and the networking conference in the autumn 2019. The programme is implemented in partnership with the Association of the Schools of Political Studies of the Council of Europe.