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Experience Democracy: From the personal to the political
Start date: Mar 1, 2015, End date: Jul 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

'Experience Democracy: From the personal to the political' allows participants to take a closer look at how democracy is experienced within a group. There are many theories and discussions about democracy, but not very many trainings who put the practice of democracy under a microscope. The goal of this training is for every participants to reflect on how they behave within a group, and what the difference is between what they say and how they behave. This leads to a greater awareness of an individual's actions. Rather than externalizing the democratic practice into the 'system' or the government, each person can look at whether they are democratic in their ways. If every person is aware of themselves, they often tend to be aware of their effects on others. This blurs the boundary between 'me' and 'you', allowing for a more open and inclusive way of being. This is done through a series of activities, each including a task for the group to fulfill, followed by a reflection about that task. During the reflection, participants can see that perhaps their behavior does not mirror what they say, bringing up the notion of a dilemma (i.e. I want freedom and I don't want freedom), and from there conflict management strategies can be applied, if there are conflicting needs within the group. Since the group is also together during social times, the training informally extends to these times as well, causing people to think about inclusion in general. This is because the experience is crucial for this training, as it allows participants to really take the learning in and reflect on themselves. The group is formed by participants from Denmark, Germany, Croatia, Romania, Egypt and Tunisia, covering the various regions of Europe/MENA and allowing for a diversity of participants. Participants will range in academic background, as well as age, and socio-economic position. This is to allow participants to reflect on themselves as well as learn from others. The result, in the short and longer term, is a greater sense of responsibility that comes from the bottom-up. Instead of being told what to do or simply following rules, participants begin to take initiative in their actions in order to create the kind of society that they want to live in. This is because they realize that maybe they have not fully practiced what they say, and they start to look more deeply at their own practices and how this affects others. Self-reflection is often not taught in schools, and this training gives participants an opportunity to practice this important kind of reflection, which has long-lasting effects, if they so choose.
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