Building and connecting bridges
Education for an Interdependent World is an association present in different parts of the world with the Headquarters in Brussels. EDIW has two sections:
The Youth Section
We started as a small group but we are growing fast, we shared some dreams and were able to invest time and energy. We were “Dreamers” but wanted to work for the dreams we believed in to also become “Doers”. We now identify ourselves as “dreamers and doers”, a combination we try to adjust to through the development of projects. We consider that projects are the bridge between the reality and the dream.
In order to respond to our challenges we try to develop specific projects such as:
1-“The roots and Wings project”- This was a Capacity Building Project in the field of youth, co-financed by the European Commission and coordinated by Education for an Interdependent World, which related to our five challenges and we two seminars deepening into them. During the year we thought and worked on each of the challenges and in the seminars, one in Madrid and the other one in Rome, we discussed them and decided how to continue. In order to explore mobility, a group of six young teachers went to Manila for two months to work in three schools in a run-down area of Manila. Their experience was another element which added to our search. The project also has a publication with the reference of each of the challenges and how the group seeks to face them.
2-“The Dare+ project” addresses the issue of competences and their development outside the classroom. This project relates to two of the EDIW´s youth challenges: education for all and youth employment. The capacity to build an education which is successful in developing competences is one of the key elements to an education which is relevant and able to be attractive to people of different ages and interests. Building on the potential of every student and on their strengths is an important route for leaving no one behind. In relation to employment, competence development goes beyond an education only based on knowledge to foster skills, attitudes and values which are critical to be preparing for a job a responsibility or to be able to build an entrepreneurial stand in life. In Dare+ six critical competences were developed: written and oral communication, leadership and teamwork, conflict transformation, intercultural competence, social entrepreneurship and project development. Dare+ was coordinated by the University of Granada and co-financed by the European Commission as an Strategic Partnership.
3-“Youth leaders for dialogue” is also a Capacity Building Project in the field of youth which has just started and which also counts on the support of the European Commission. During the last seminar of the Roots and Wings project, the 60 young people who participated engaged into a needs analysis with the urgency of the present challenges as the background. The needs seemed all pressing but in order to select one to deepen with a project, the need for dialogue was seen as the one to focalise into. In the project, youth leaders from groups in the four continents will follow a blended learning program to act and learn about youth leadership and capacity to develop a dialogue which will be inclusive, participatory, based on democratic values and leading to peace. The first meeting which took place in February in Madrid witnessed a wonderful spirit of understanding beyond all kinds of borders.
Other projects are in the making such as “City-nets” dealing with youth of multiple belongings and second generation migrants and the “School for Social Leadership” linking the young leaders trained in the existing projects with the younger generations.
The Section of Professionals
The professionals are people from different sectors of society who are ready to invest gratuitously time and energy for their contribution to a society more interconnected, more interdependent, more responsible for each other and particularly for the excluded and the vulnerable. They focus their work along three main lines: The first deals with some frontier questions they select as critical for the type of society they believe in; the second line relates to their own training and keeping updated, the third line is the care and commitment for the younger generations, their empowerment, their education, the opportunities they need to also become people who are prepared and committed to the transformation of the world they need to build.
In this respect, they are particularly committed to develop internships, coaching and experiences of voluntary work in socio economic contexts both in their own country as in the more deprived regions of the world. The objective is to link theory and understanding of their profession with the skill of implementing them and the positive and life generating attitude needed to transform social contexts. Their specificity is the development of competences, which relates to their professional mission and the global citizenship nature of those who can build new, interconnected, caring and interdependent societies. As well as slowly build, collaborating with many other groups also committed in this direction, an ethically responsible interdependent world.
This is done by projects-examples:
1-“Archimedes” relates to architecture and looks at the formation of Architects. More specifically, it refers to the profession and the educational needs of the Architects in the Mediterranean Region. This project was done by a group of Universities and Professional schools of the region and was coordinated by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, one of the oldest and more recognized universities in Greece. EDIW professionals and young professionals interviewed social groups in the area, reflected and worked together to come up with a new profile of architect these new societies need as well as some tools and methods to develop this profile. It is co-financed by the European Commission as a Strategic Alliance.
2- “Integration without Borders” relates to the social worker´s profession and more specifically to the profile that those working with migration and minorities ought to develop in the present context. Palacký University Olomouc, the second largest university in the Czech Republic was the coordinating institution and EDIW proposed the project and intensely contributed in three of the four meta-competences which were defined and developed: Intercultural competence, project development and entrepreneurship. The fourth was management for diversity. The group of universities and associations, predominantly from Eastern Europe worked for a position of responsibility and commitment during the refugee crisis and the situation that follows. Integration without Borders is also selected as a Strategic Alliance project to be co-financed by the European Commission.
3-The strongest example is “the Tuning Project”, coordinated by the Universites of Deusto and Groningen which relates to university teachers and where EDIW has and is called to have an intense involvement. Some of the EDIW professionals were part of the initiating group and the association as such is a member of the latest projects: Tuning India and Tuning South East Asia as well as taking part in the coordination of the teachers ´training group of the pilot project Comparing Achievements of Learning Outcomes in Higher Education in Europe CALOHEE. This project keeps the EDIW family in touch with large numbers of professionals in 126 countries who are passionate about higher education and invest gratuitously time and efforts, research and practice to improve it. The university teachers in this project learn together and exchange experiences with colleagues from the region and from different countries of the world. There have been several Tuning projects, some under Capacity building in the field of Higher Education and others under special actions related to Africa, USA or China.
Other groups are also in existence for years such as the group on health, entrepreneurs and so on. Others are emerging such as the group of International Relations or re-emerging such as the language teachers…