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Exploring our Values as Europeans
Start date: Sep 1, 2014, End date: Aug 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

THE PROJECT IDEA The European Union, according to Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union, is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail. Which significance do these values have for the individual and for us as a society? What does it mean to really live these values and what does it take to appreciate them? In this project we will enable our students to experience that our European values are not to be taken for granted but have a long history and need to be fostered and defended for the future. Therefore our students will explore the historic roots of our values as Europeans and experience the significance of these values in their lives today. THE PARTICIPANTS Ludwig-Erhard Berufskolleg, Münster, Germany: We are a vocational business college educating a total number of around 3,500 full-time and vocational students. We see intercultural competence as a key qualification. In our pedagogical work we put an emphasis on preparing our students for a life in a united Europe. We encourage them to feel as European citizens by developing a European identity. Byron College, Athens, Greece: We follow the British National Curriculum from 3 year olds to 18 year olds (280 pupils). Within this framework we are also mindful of the fact that our school is truly international in its character. At Byron the highest quality of British education is offered to all our pupils in a nurturing environment which allows our pupils to progress and show their unique talents. Our personalised approach allows children to develop their full potential. BRG Klusemannstraße, Graz, Austria: Starting out as an experimental school for the development of school autonomy in secondary education, we continue to be a highly inventive school where many new ideas of teaching and learning develop. We offer three profiles: Natural Science, Languages and Creativity. A class from the creative branch with its extended autonomous setting of priorities will be part of this project. THE ACTIVITIES We will carry out six transnational learning activities in each of which we will focus on selected European values as democracy, freedom or equality. Retracing how people fought for these ideals that we may often take for granted is a first step towards appreciating them. Therefore, we will look into exemplary episodes of ancient and/or recent European history at places linked with European values. In creative workshops (drama, photo or painting workshops, designing posters) and through physical activities, the students will then go on to discover the meaning these values have in their lives today. Posters, photos and pictures produced during each of the project meetings will contribute to the exhibition to be held at the end of the project. Scripts for audio guides giving insights into the work process and the intentions of the students will be written during each learning activity. We will explore solidarity in Berlin to discover the history of the German reunification, which is widely considered as a historic example of solidarity between people. Human rights will be in the focus of the first meeting in Graz - the first City of Human Rights in Europe. As Ancient Greece is a cradle of the idea of democracy, we will make this value a topic here. In Münster a part of the Peace of Westphalia was concluded in 1648, which contributed to the ending of the Thirty Years’ War that had also been a war of religions, which is why we will make freedom of religion a topic. As Byron College is a British school, we will put the habeas corpus act of 1679 as a mile stone towards the rule of law and justice in the focus of the second meeting in Athens. The Declaration of Graz on Interreligious Dialogue put a focus on the role of women and men. Against this background we have picked this as the central theme for the last visit. Towards the end of the project selected groups of five students per participant and their teachers will come to Münster to celebrate the opening of the exhibition presenting the results of all activities. THE IMPACT We expect that the participants have a greater knowledge, understanding and awareness of European values and a higher competence to be active participants in democratic life in Europe in line with Article 149 of the Treaty of Lisbon. For our schools we would like to initiate a discussion about the values that are the basis of our European Union by showing the exhibition and hosting opening events at each of the schools. By putting our results into a close context to the history of our cities we hope to also trigger interest of the local media and to contribute to the discussion of young people’s values against the background of history.
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