The Innovative educational and media practices for an inclusive and participatory Europe is a program that is bridging the gap between university and non-formal education (ENGAGE) by working on political participation through the media and the educational process.
The exclusion and withdrawal from the political life and traditional institutions is particularly visible among young people living in disadvantaged areas, often crossing with other forms of marginalisation linked to gender, culture and/or community.
For those young people, the anthropologist Jacinthe Mazzochetti identifies four non-exclusive types of behaviour and ways of existing in the city: withdrawal, self-affirmation, the logic of gangs and territories, and religious logic (Brussels Studies, n°63). Does this stated withdrawal mean they are not interested in their community life and future? Certainly not. The Bondy Blog experience showed at its level that encouraging the meaningful participation of young people involved was a powerful tool for longer-term engagement in their communities/society.
Active citizenship requires that young people have opportunities and capacities, and can benefit from an enabling environment to use their right to participate and to be included in democratic processes.
The withdrawal from traditional political forms of engagement does not affect only marginalised groups: less than 29 % of young people (aged 18 to 24) turned out to vote during the last two European elections. Young men and women are traditionally more active politically in universities, but are today more and more disillusioned and excluded from policy development. Addressing both target audiences (discriminated/disadvantaged young people and high education students) makes full sense.
Since both formal and informal engagements are interlinked, and both are needed for the democratic debate, the heart of this project consists in working on political participation through the media and the educational process.
- Create a platform of expression for youth in our partner countries.
- Create a common platform (European platform).
- Include young people in training and modules of the University.
- Organize itinerant workshop in partner countries.
- Organize a Summer School in Brussels in summer 2018.
All along the project, practice and continuous analysis are linked for mutual enrichment. There are lessons to be learned about multiple issues, such as:
- Better understanding mechanisms of radicalisation among young people and general disenchantment with democratic values and institutions.
- Exploring and assessing new ways to stimulate intercultural citizenship as a way to prevent this disenchantment; new processes for media literacy education, journalistic and educational participatory and intercultural methods.
- Promoting synergies between formal and non-formal education settings in order to prevent discrimination against marginalised young people, thereby enforcing their right to participate in the public debate.