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New Perspectives for Learning - Briefing Paper 66

Intercultural Active Citizenship Education  

This is an initial Briefing Paper of the project that started in March 2004

Context of the Research

As European Union borders expand, people are becoming more mobile, when seeking job and education opportunities. In addition, the migration of people from outside the European Union is transforming many European cities and increasingly rural areas, resulting in local and to some extent national demographic changes and different characteristics.

Europe is now, on the whole, composed of multicultural societies where later generations of foreign descent, whether from within or outside the European Union, have become established and have added new features and perspectives to European society. Countries need not only to welcome future citizens of the European Union, but also to make the most of their presence in order to establish closer links with the countries they originate from and to rethink European citizenship itself.

Although at different paces, European societies have undergone and are undergoing profound changes in the fabric of their population. European citizens are moving in-between countries, for personal and professional reasons. Therefore, the concept of national citizenship has to become more flexible in order to make space for European and global citizenship and to allow new citizens to participate fully.

European and national institutions have been attempting to rule change, but they cannot change the mentality of their citizens. Education has an important role to play in the preparation of future citizens. However, teachers, being at the same time citizens and educators, need themselves to be educated to adopt a new approach that will enable them to engage reflectively and critically in these changes. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are useful partners to schools for they have the practical knowledge about the transformations that societies are undergoing. The media also play an important role in this process for they filter the information that is provided to society.

This project is focusing on the perceptions, experiences and expectations that teachers have about the intercultural dimension of citizenship education, both as citizens and as educators. It is also looking at the relationships that teachers establish with NGOs and on the way they use the information they receive from the media.

The project is focusing on teacher education related to intercultural education and from a broader perspective since it will take into account their development as citizens themselves in order to examine their needs in terms of professional development. The project will analyse both inputs and outputs in teacher education i.e. their sources of knowledge, both content and experiential knowledge, and the possibilities they can create in order to become active participative educators within the scope of intercultural citizenship education.

Key Issues

This project is focusing on the intercultural element of citizenship and human rights education. It aims to provide guidelines for teacher education in this area. The project will address the issues relating to the intercultural dimension of: -

The project aims to contribute to the effective implementation of official guidelines and to the expansion of good practice within schools.

Further Information

The full title of the project is: “Intercultural Active Citizenship Education”. The final report is due in 2007.

The project web site at

This is a Specific Targeted Research Project (STREP).  The maximum EU financial contribution to this project will be 550.000 Euro for a total duration of 36 months.

Research Institutions

Centro de Estudos Sociais, Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal
Danmarks Paedagogiske Universitet, Denmark
Universidad de Valladolid, Spain

Contact Person

Dr. Manuela Guilherme
Centro de Estudos Sociais
Colégio de S. Jerónimo
Universidade de Coimbra
Apartado 3087
3001-401 Coimbra

Tel: +351 239855570
Fax : +351 239855589

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Last updated 28 June 2007