Contemporary Europe is a symbol of freedom, democracy and tolerance. But for many people, especially in the small settlements, they are meaningless terms and civil society appears something distant and unknown. To change this we rely on the power of knowledge and our initiative is dedicated to interactive civic education on the common European history through creative approach, aiming at cultivation a sense of belonging to a larger community and better understanding of the democratic values.
Tazha village, central Bulgaria
We observe an embarrassing tendency for low understanding of democratic values and no sense of belonging to a larger community. In this regard, the raising vandalism, violation and marginalisation among youth are no surprise. For many people in the region terms like democracy, civic participation and European dimension are just empty words related to politicians and institutions. We attribute this to a gap in the history education where a whole part about the recent past is barely represented. This missing knowledge of major events and turning points in the common European history impacts the ability of citizens, and especially youngsters, to objectively evaluate the aftermaths of utter authoritarianism and the importance of democracy and “united” citizenship.
We believe democracy is built upon shared values and civil society is not possible without empathy. But people are not born with this concept in mind. Tolerance and respect to diversity are taught by a society which understands the price that has been paid for the freedom we have today. In this regard, the implementation of “Remember To Remember” will contribute to local community's understanding of the common European history, the Union’s values and aim that is to promote peace and the well-being of its citizens. By raising awareness of remembrance, reflection and creative approach we intend to cultivate a sense of belonging to a larger community among the residents and therefore enhance their civic engagement and participation. As people do take care of society they feel they belong to.
Starting with the local community, our aim is to engage a larger audience outside the area. In the project implementation will be involved local social activists, representers of the local authority and community center which will ensure a primary network of stakeholders helping us build trust in the local community and allowing to reach all its layers. We will also try to capture all perspectives about life in the recent past by recording memories and opinions of local citizens. Among the specific target groups are:
- local community
- young people
- people not active in civic participation
- marginalized groups
- schools and educational institutions across country
- tourists from the country and abroad
- the general public, contributing to a common European history
Research and data selection - conducting qualitative research about totalitarian regimes with a consultation from historians and relevant organizations to extract proper information and facts
Interviews - interaction with local people to collect memories and stories
Visuals and explanatory materials - processing gathered during the research and interviews information for presentation in engaging formats
Interactive educational space - using designed materials and creative approach to turn the local community’s hall into a combination of classroom, museum and art installation where people of all ages and groups will learn the common history through experience
Exhibitions in public space
Communication materials in digital and print format to promote the project
A positive impact at local and regional levels we foresee in terms of increased knowledge about the common European history, commemoration and better understanding of democratic values. Influencing this way the local community, especially young people, we hope to grow a sense of belonging to a larger society of different nations where the European Union is not associated only to politics, but rather cooperation of people for the people. As we all know, empathy and tolerance are universal values when striving to develop a civil society. We won’t be able to measure our initiative’s impact in this regard, but even the slightest shift for good induced by our work to foster the international amity will be considered a huge success.
Operating as a global community composed of diverse nations what is the core of contemporary Europe requires commitment of each citizen. And the more people support European common values, the stronger the Union will be. In this regard, providing a local community with access to non-ideological civic education on the common history raise the awareness and understanding of liberal democracy values with civic participation being one of them. And turning youth’s attitude towards history from regular factology to story of their own freedom will lead this generation of future leaders, agenda setters, teachers, and parents to less euroscepticism and therefore to strengthening democracy at European level.
We are committed in heart and mind to explore our world, find new answers, get closer to stories that matter and provide educational tools to curious minds around the globe. This is FOREGROUND Foundation’s mission and biggest value. In search of an answer why the contemporary society faces so many challenges, we found that civil society starts with understanding of what to be a human means. And the events from 20th century give us a perfect lesson in humanity. Thanks to the past we have the privilege to live in freedom.
As we believe that for all the things we get from the world we need to pay back and knowledge and creativity are our most precious possessions, providing them is our contribution to the community.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Project administration: 6300 EUR
Data collection and consultancy: 3500 EUR
Visuals and explanatory materials: 6500 EUR
Interactive space design and implementation: 18 500 EUR
Exhibitions: 4500 EUR
Online platform: 4500 EUR
Communication materials: 2000 EUR
Project dissemination: 1500 EUR
Travel costs: 1500 EUR
We will appreciate any kind of support from sharing suggestions and experience to personal involvement in the project to spreading our mission.