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Conference: Participation Now! Citizenship Education and Democracy in Times of Change | NECE - Networking European Citizenship Education |

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Conference: Participation Now! Citizenship Education and Democracy in Times of Change

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Conference Blog & Documentation, Interviews, etc.

Externer Link:

Background and Aims

The NECE Conference in Córdoba addressed current phenomena concerning democracy and participation in the face of worldwide processes of change. The developments in the Arab world after the "Arab Spring" in 2011 and the crisis of the EU were the focus of attention. The aim of the conference was to provide a platform for dialogue and exchange between scientists, practitioners of citizenship and human rights education, governmental and non-governmental institutions from Europe and Arabic countries in transition.

The European project is on the one hand experiencing the worst crisis in its history that goes along with a serious loss of trust in the legitimacy and creative power of democratic institutions on the national and the European level. Falling turnouts in European and national elections, among other indicators, seem to reveal symptoms of democratic fatigue. On the other hand many citizens of Europe express a strong demand for more direct and different participation and more transparency via movements, demonstrations, social networks or online campaigns. At the same time, however, the financial crisis and its economic impact have triggered new waves of national resentments and prejudices, which pose a profound threat to European democracy.

In North Africa we observe tremendous changes in countries like Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. Citizens demanding change organised mass protests that swept over borders and started a development that has the potential to change the whole region sustainably. As a consequence, old authoritarian regimes have been overthrown in some countries and a process of transition has started under the critical observation of many citizens.

At the conference experts and practitioners from both sides of the Mediterranean Sea analysed the situation in Europe and in the Arab world by focussing on the question of participation, the relationship between citizens and political institutions and concepts of democracy.

The theoretical and practical parts of the programme considered the following guiding questions:

  • What can we learn from each other? What are common concerns and differences?

  • Which narratives/ images determine the mutual perceptions?

  • How can citizenship and human rights education contribute to participation and change?

  • Where does exchange and cooperation make sense?

The conference took place from 21 November - 24 November 2012 at the Palacio de Congresos de Córdoba
C/Torrijos 10
CP14003 Córdoba, Spain.

Get a deeper insight in the NECE conference by pictures, video interviews and reports from the divers sessions at the conference blog (© bpb).

Documentation of the NECE conference – follow the NECE conference blog (© bpb)


Federal Agency for Civic Education/ bpb (Germany)
Externer Link: The Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture (Austria)
Externer Link: ProDemos (the Netherlands)

In co-operation with

Externer Link: Casa Árabe (Spain)
Externer Link: Fundación Ortega y Gasset (Spain)
Externer Link: IESA - Instituto De Estudios Sociales Avanzados – CSIC (Spain)
Externer Link: The Danish Egyptian Dialogue Institute (Egypt)
Externer Link: Centre of Mediterranean and International Studies (Tunisia)
Externer Link: Centre for Citizenship Education (Poland)
Externer Link: DARE Network – Democracy and Human Rights Education in Europe
Externer Link: Civic Education Centre (Czech Republic)

and the fellowship programme "Shaping Europe - Civic Education in Action" for young Europeans – a co-operation between the bpb and the Robert Bosch Stiftung

Supported by

Externer Link: Robert Bosch Stiftung (Germany)

The NECE Conference 2012 received financial support of the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa) with means of the German Federal Foreign Office.
Externer Link: Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa)
Externer Link: German Federal Foreign Office


»lab concepts GmbH (Germany)«
on behalf of Federal Agency for Civic Education/bpb
Phone +49 (0) 228 2498-110
E-Mail Link:


Federal Agency for Civic Education
Petra Grüne
Adenauerallee 86
53113 Bonn
Phone +49 (0)228 99515-289
E-Mail Link: