About Foundations for Futures Europe

The Aim

The aim of this project is to develop a network of Higher Education and Civil Society (NGOs) Partners to engage citizens in debates and discussion groups around the future direction of the European project. These groups will explore the common socio-political and economic views and experiences of European citizens, across a range of age groups and within the context of social and digital inclusion, using adult education, community development and experiential learning theory and practice. It will utilize academic and advocacy staff in various settings, both institutional and community, providing a structured educational encounter which will act as a base for exploring the shared European experience in terms of history, culture, values and ideals. The 6 partners from 5 countries involved will seek to engage

Partner Experience

The FFE project partners are deeply committed to the realization of citizen equality and human rights in their fields of higher and community education, youth work and community development and European social policy advocacy.

Maynooth University has a robust academic record in the fields of European Social Policy, Adult and Community Education and Human Rights/ Equality. They were one of the earliest universities in the republic of Ireland to engage with disadvantaged communities through their outreach adult education programmes and professional training in community development and youth work. With a strong access policy, the university has a diverse student body with over 45% of its students coming from households where neither parent has completed third level education. All three civil society partners have significant experience of European policy and projects.

 

EAPN Ireland and Greece are affiliated to a larger European Network and are concerned with creating a more inclusive Europe free of poverty through the democratic participation of under-represented groups in European policy formation.

 

Urkraft is an innovative and forward thinking organisation that works in solidarity with young people and in particular those with mental health issues. They are experts in empowering and enabling people in a way that goes beyond the individual, fostering a sense of collective responsibility and solidarity and valuing diversity.

 

The universities of PECS and Novi Sad are based in an area of Europe that has experienced deep divisions and tensions as a result of conflict and migration. PECS has pursued a policy of internationalization with the aim of creating a diverse student body and making the city a vibrant intercultural space winning the UNESCO lifelong learning city award in 2017. Novi Sad is the largest educational centre in central Europe with a diverse student body of over 50,000, extensive outreach programmes and experience with a range of European funded projects

Objectives

The work program will focus on achieving three primary objectives

engaging a diverse range of citizens from across the EU in a participatory process of reflection in informal and formal settings, using a blended approach that builds solidarity and encourages collective analysis and action on a common policy agenda.

The development of a network and digital communication platform to facilitate the participation of young people and underrepresented communities in cross European policy debates and maintain the possibility for further collaboration

The establishment of an open access journal to encourage the co creation of shared resources and to encourage the greater involvement of higher education in engaged research that focuses on participative democracy and European social policy.

Fitting the Objectives

The project responds to the call for the promotion of societal engagement and solidarity and will seek to engage citizens from a range of socio economic, geographical, cultural and ethnic backgrounds on themes of common interest in the framework of rights and responsibilities of the European citizen.

Recognizing the isolation and inequality caused by digital exclusion, and compounded during this current global pandemic, the project will seek to enhance the digital capacity of citizens to engage in mutual dialogue in order to bring about a shared collective understanding of European culture and identity

The partners acknowledge the impact of poverty and inequality on participative democracy and seeks to empower citizens to develop a common analysis and in doing so to contribute to the policy making process. The project aims to achieve this by involving event participants in the active development of policy position papers and to contribute to the wider European debate.

By building an on line network of civil society and higher education organisations , the project aims to create a sustainable platform for the further and future participations of citizens in cross European dialogue and policy formation.

Impact and Outcome

This project centers on the achievement of mid and longer-term goals in order to ensure sustainability of both the partnership network and citizen communication platform. These goals include the building of a community of practice between higher education and NGO 's in the context of broader European civic and societal engagement.

 

The project also seeks to embed the community engagement in higher education especially focused on the access and participation of those most disadvantaged. Central to this program ideation is the experience of the Higher Education and Community sectors during the Covid crisis and the challenge of building the digital capacity of underrepresented citizens and that of using on line platforms to deliver participatory workshops and learning with groups that would usually rely on face to face facilitation and group interaction.