The European Cultural Centres set up and developed
an original system of European citizenship education, by putting
into practice an optimistic philosophy of Europe.
They propose much more than simple meetings of
young people. They are based on a real project of common life:
Europe experienced and applied daily.
an innovative project
When the idea of the sessions on culture and
citizenship germinated in 1989 Saint-Jean d'Angély, the
project of the European Cultural Centre had to fill the existing
gaps regarding education in Europe. Everything had to be done in
this field. Indeed, until then, European construction left the
cultural dimension aside. The prospects for widening made such
actions necessary and urgent.
Photo ECC St Jean
An innovative project in many ways, the creation
of European Cultural Centres follows the statute of non-profit
associations. The project is based on intercultural and
multidisciplinary pedagogy, in order to create a human and more
harmonious Europe. The Centres offer an original synergy between a
European cultural objective and innovative teaching methods.
A philosophy of daily action on the cultural,
civil and sensible dimension of Europe founds the approach.
Moreover, appropriate intellectual and teaching accompaniment is
essential to explain the general and historical context of the
construction of a united Europe to the first public: young people.
During sessions, the Centres implement an original manner of
confronting the latter with their europeanness to make them realise
that they will be and already are the actors of a Europe in
young people, engine of Europe
Initiatives such as those carried out by the
European Cultural Centres are necessary because Europe has not yet
acquired a daily dimension and it remains still unknown to those
who make it up. As young people have an essential role to play in
the future of Europe and as its success or its paralysis will
depend mainly on them, it is necessary to form them so that they
become aware of this role. In particular, they have to realise that
culture is a significant dimension of the Europe of tomorrow as
well as of today.
They must also understand that ignorance generates
fear of otherness and conflicts and that it is necessary to know
the Other in order to know oneself better. The centres are given as
objective to participate in peace education.
Photo ECC St Jean
Through understanding, exchange, creation of
positive interactions, respect, one is able to see common values
and common desires, beyond borders and languages (and in spite of
specific and inevitable frictions). This sensitising must be
carried out at an age when all is still possible, when prejudices
can be called into question easily.
to build and commit themselves as "young european
The sessions organised by the European Cultural
Centres bring together pupils from different countries (three
simultaneously) in order to make them reflect, learn and live
together in both a festive and a serious environment. The
definition and acceptance of common rules, or the development of
compromise between educational methods constitute a training of
daily citizenship. They carry out a work on themselves and on their
representations of Europe. The various activities stir their
curiosity about the Other and about new knowledge.
Each must understand the importance of being a
full-time actor in his activities with the ECC and in his future
life. This active participation, this personal engagement in the
life of the community, makes young people feel that they
participate in integral citizenship.
The vocation of the ECC is to take part actively
in the education of young people to create actors conscious of
Europe, to give them the intellectual tools and the human formation
that will allow them to live their own history concretely. They
thus keep in their memory the fact that the construction of a space
of freedom and democracy is a daily struggle.
partnership with the european institute of cultural
The European Cultural Centres and the European
Institute of Cultural Routes share the same values and the same
philosophy. An increasingly thorough collaboration was thus
established between them, which led to the signature, on November
1, 1999, of a convention that makes official the relations woven
for several years (between the pilot Centre of Saint Jean d'
Angély and the EICR).
The network of the ECCs works on topics and
actions that coincide with the topics of the cultural routes of the
Council of Europe. The convention aims at making the two
institutions benefit from their respective network in order to set
up a joint and coherent project.
Thus, a synergy arises from their activities in
favour of a culture directly involving the European cultural
dimension and the sensitising of the school public.