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Democracy in Europe: Patterns of Inclusion and Exclusion
Start date: Jul 1, 2016, End date: Nov 30, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The Training Course "Democracy in Europe: Patterns of Inclusion and Exclusion" raises awareness of our own behaviors that are exclusive and inclusive, within the context of societal issues based on these values, namely the Refugee crisis in Europe. The project takes the refugee situation in Europe as the context for which such values could be discussed, based on the policies of differing countries in Europe on how to handle the incoming refugees, as well as attitudes of the local population. In addition to an examination of the current situation, the experiential and interactive activities in this training course shed light on our own practices of inclusion and exclusion within a small group. Perhaps it is easier to hold up our values when speaking in theory, but in actuality, there are far deeper and more complex dilemmas in ourselves to discover. This discovery allows for a greater empathy, as it no longer puts a conflicting line between our moral positions. It allows for an examination of needs, especially in a conflict, so as to realize that my need in one situation might be yours in another.The objectives of this project are as follows:- To become aware of the mechanism of exclusion in ourselves- To see how this mechanism of exclusion is projected in society today, especially in Europe- To explore what we can do to make conditions more inclusive in our own communities- To become aware of the minorities of Europe and the relationship between majorities and minorities.- To use interactive activities to learn non-formally through the experience.There will be 22 participants and 3 trainers for this project, and they will come from 10 countries across Europe. The training course will take place in Aghveran, Armenia, in a training facility outside of Yerevan, allowing for a focused discussion into these topics. Participants will be diverse in age, and will include those with fewer opportunities, either who have never left their countries, or have what would be considered a lower socio-economic status. There will also be a conscious effort to make the training gender balanced.The activities taking place will run over 6 days, with 2 travel days before and after. The methodology will primarily be interactive, task-based activities, where the participants explore a certain topic, or engage in a task (in small groups), and then come back to plenary to reflect together. The role of the trainers is to ask questions which might bring up some dilemmas, to encourage them to open up questions, rather than hold onto answers and opinions. As the week goes on, participants become more open and free to express themselves, and this also means that conflict may occur. There will also be a conflict resolution methodology used to allow them to connect to their needs and increase their empathy. The result is a greater awareness of themselves and how they affect others, as well as an ability to see beyond arguments and into the each other's needs. They also compare this to the greater societal issues now relevant (i.e. the Refugee crisis) and can understand more about society and their role in it.The long term benefits include an ability to contribute to society through each person's grown sense of responsibility that they access through this training course. They also have concrete activities and tasks which they can implement in their local communities and in their youth work.
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