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EFIL’s representative Eliud Neto (AFS France) attended the June session of the International Non-Governamental Organisations (INGO) Conference of the Council of Europe which took place in Strasbourg from 20 to 24 June. EFIL has been member of this conference for a long time and over the past year we actively took part in this “platform for dialogue with the bodies of the Council of Europe and for exchange amongs its members’. The Conference decides on policy lines and actions and adopts positions on fundamental issues which are sent in the form of Recommendations or Resolutions to other Council of Europe bodies, to other international or national institutions as well as to the media.
The event had on its agenda different committee’s meetings, working groups and side events, as well as a plenary session on the topic of Treatment of Migrants, Refugees and NGOs defending their rights. It was interesting for EFIL to attend the working group “Educating for intercultural dialogue”, where experts on the topic were invited to talk about best practices for intercultural dialogue. Dr. Kari Flornes professor at Bergen University (Norway) talked about the use of the ‘whole school approach’ when it comes to teaching intercultural dialogue and which allows for training both teachers and students on the subject. She also mentioned the importance of a participatory education to foster democratic values. In the same working group, another specialist presented ‘Intercultural Cities’, an initiative of the Council of Europe.
EFIL’s representative also attended the Education and Culture Committee, discussing the role of the newly adopted Competence Framework for Democratic Culture (CDC), and thus the importance of a democratic culture and the weight of intercultural dialogue to foster a healthy democracy.
A Dialogue Toolkit developed by the INGO Conference was also mentioned as a tool for those interested in working with social cohesion and human rights, one can read about it here: http://www.coe.int/en/web/ingo/dialogue
A special event took place in the session’s week, namely the ‘Intergenerational Forum – speed dating ‘Focus on Youth’, organised by Julianne Lagadec and Anne Kraus (INGO Conference Bureau) at the European Youth Center. The idea was to exchange ideas between youth organisations and NGOs represented at the INGO Conference, due to the fact that most of the representatives of NGOs are more aged and have little contact with active young people. In order to promote these exchanges, each NGO had a space and time to show its projects and work. Eliud provided a presentation on the recent Recognise Year Abroad campaign and the European Citizenship Trimester Programme, as well as the training opportunities offered by our organisation.
Finally, on the last day, the plenary took place and unfortunately procedure discussions took quite some time. Amendments to the regulations and a new vice-president for the Human Rights Committee were voted on. One can find some of the recommendations approved at the Plenary session at the following link: http://www.coe.int/en/web/ingo/texts-adopted
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