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The significance of the AwarEU project and its prospects

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The AwarEU project was implemented by a very committed team from all Partners institutions whose main objective was the fight against xenophobia and racism as perpetual threats to democracy and pluralism rooted in methodological nationalism and the belief in exclusive identities. The core project idea was to experiment and upscale new accessible and user-friendly tools for the dissemination of a EU-aware multilevel and pluralist approach to citizenship education in a lifelong perspective targeting all citizens and specifically designed to include users with different abilities or social and cultural backgrounds.

The AwarEU project officially ended on November 30th, 2018, but its objectives and the development and dissemination of its results are well alive and remain a priority for us. We are particularly proud of the multilingual Virtual Learning Environment on the EU that offers free courses with highly creative materials on all key aspects of European citizenship (https://vleu.awareu.eu). We are convinced it should become a fully pan-European instrument. The fact that there already are subscribers from 24 countries suggests that it has this kind of potential.

We toured five EU countries (Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and the UK) in two years with European Awareness Days featuring the music recital show by Daniela Martinelli and Francesco Pigozzo “Europe: what a Passion! The tale of a stormy love affair” in different versions and languages for each country. This event allowed us to meet thousands of European citizens, involving also associations and individuals with special needs or at risk of social exclusion like the young students of Paris’ and Rome’s suburbs who discovered a theatrical experience and took part to a EU-related debate for the first time in their lives. The very same inclusive strategy inspired and still inspires our communication tools online, rigorously multilingual, and tailored to different channels and users: this very blog pooling the opinions and ideas of different experts from all partner countries at http://www.awareu.eu/it/blog.html, a “Europe: what a Passion!” Facebook group that keep members up-to-date on EU current issues and related initiatives, a Twitter profile @EuropAwareness that disseminated project results to a wide network of media and institutional contacts. Each partner worked hard in its own country to allow project results to reach out to the Education Ministry, TV public companies, radio broadcasting companies, the EC Reps and the EP Info offices, local authorities in different regions… all this, with the aim to put the AwarEU outputs at the disposal of public policy-makers and authorities. This huge effort represents also the only regret we still have to complain about, since despite all meetings with high profile officials etc. within European and national institutions we have not (yet) reached two long-term goals, that we will continue to pursue: make the EAD format a feature of the EU communication campaigns; make the AwarEU VLEU systematically endorsed and used by national institutions with regards to teachers training and for participant to EU-funded training courses. We reached out to all the relevant stake-holders, at the highest possible level. Still, it seems extremely difficult for institutions to appropriate and upscale anything which was born and developed outside of them.

Yet, we keep striving and will continue to do it, as the AwarEU experience and the outputs we produced are there to remain.

by The AwarEU Team - VLEU Project

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