20 January 2016
On January 15-17 a seminar entitled “Education and Empowerment” was held in Sofia, Bulgaria. This was the third seminar under the European project “A Europe of Diasporas”. This project aims to promote exchange, solidarity and common advocacy in a European context of rising tension and prejudice.
Jewish, Roma, Armenian and Assyrian participants from around Europe discussed how education can better address the needs of diasporas. Among other ideas the participants agreed that schools should give an opportunity to children of diasporas to learn their heritage, including their language. They agreed to support inclusive education that also features the contribution of diasporas to European society and that youth movements and informal education should be developed.
During a public conference entitled “United in Diversity: Educating Europe’s Diasporas” in Sofia University, Robert Djerassi, advisor to the Minister of Education and Science of Bulgaria and Deyan Kolev, Chairman of the Roma educational organization “Centre Amalipe”, explored the Bulgarian experience of providing education to children and young people who belong to diasporas.
“Intercultural education, educating for tolerance are important not only for the minorities, it’s important also for the entire societies. If you don’t invest in forming tolerance you don’t achieve sustainable growth in Bulgarian economy and society, also in European society,” said Deyan Kolev.
In the course of the seminar the participants visited to AGBU chapter, Armenian community center and church and the Jewish community center in Sofia.
The next milestone of the “Europe of Diasporas” project will be a conference in the European Parliament in May, where the proposals and results developed in the course of the project will be presented.
To learn more about the “Europe of Diasporas” project please visit the website.
About the project. A “Europe of Diasporas” is a European project and is a first step towards the establishment of a network of diasporas in Europe. This network will aim to help affirm the notion that diasporas have been part of the European story for many centuries and that they are an asset for Europe. It promotes the idea that diasporas identities need not be tied to a territory or to a source of authority to be legitimate and valuable. The Europe of Diasporas projects is funded by the European Union.
Phiren Amenca is a network of Roma and non-Roma volunteers and voluntary service organizations creating opportunities for non-formal education, dialogue and engagement, in order to challenge stereotypes and racism.
The European Union of Jewish Students is a pluralistic, inclusive and non-partisan umbrella organization that supports Jewish student unions throughout Europe and represents its members in international institutions and organizations.
AGBU Europe coordinates and develops the pan-European activities of the Armenian General Benevolent Union. Established in 1906, AGBU is the world’s largest non-profit Armenian organization. AGBU Europe runs numerous programmes in fields relating to academic research, the preservation and promotion of heritage, education and culture as well as awareness raising, advocacy and leadership training.