Europe Don’t Forget about Education & Culture!

The article’s title refers to a webinar, which was held during the Diplomacy Festival. The ‘Diplomacy Festival’ is an event that  was born in 2009 from the awareness of the centrality of Rome in the international arena. It has self recognition as a Medal of the Presidency of the Republic in the year 2019.   Promoted by an unrecognized legal entity, a non profit with the honorary chairmanship of Dr. Aurelio Regina and the General Secretariat of Dr. Giorgio Bartolomucci sees in himself as academic participating members journalists, representatives of the economy and the world of international relations.              

In particular, this webinar has focused on the aspects related to education and culture.


The debate began with a reference to Ursula von der Leyen’s proposal to establish ‘A New European Bauhaus’, a cultural project for Europe in which architects, artists and engineers would unite, who would then act as mediators for the duration of the project.                                         

It was attended by Mr. Massimiliano Smeriglio,member of the European Parliament,Mrs. Stefania Giannini,UNESCO Deputy Director-General, Cesare Onestini, Director of European Training Foundation(ETF) and Mr. Nathan Sharansky, President of Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy(ISGAP).


Massimiliano Smeriglio said that culture and education play a crucial role in the welfare and equation of the community in defining common values.In a joint statement, released from the Italian ministers, the best antidote to resolving the crisis of the pandemic in the European community is to reduce the digital divide, and in other projects beyond the Machine and Financial Work Framework (MFF) such as creative Europe.


Stefania Giannini reaffirmed that education and culture are two consequential areas of our public life and yet she also said that digital platforms have ensured the continuity of learning to people with the right means and not to everyone (UNESCO data and ITU data, the U S  system agency responsible for communication and connectivity 48% of the world’s student population do not have access to the internet at home).


To reduce this gap from the outset, UNESCO has created a global coalition, calling for action, providing solutions,the tools that governments need and the educational community. At a meeting of the world community under the leadership of UNESCO, the European Commissioner responsible for International Society stated that it would increase funding for education from 7% to 10% in the next round of funding.                                                            UNESCO has committed itself over the next 15 months to investing in education as one of the main elements of recovery and reconstruction, to look for ways to include as many people as possible, who have been excluded for not possessing the necessary tools,to support teachers and students not to neglect the most important segment of the educational community, one of the cornerstones of public policy

Mrs.Giannini then stated how inclusion as a gold standard for each education system means recognising cultural diversity, make a clear bridge between culture and education or talk about the development of curricula as a lack of attention to theatre and cultural heritage awareness and studies in the development of curricula in Europe, and how educational systems should be better directed towards promoting a culture of democracy, including global citizenship and sustainable development education, in order to respond more transformatively to this pandemic.

Mr. Cesare Onestini, focusing on the development of human capital and in particular on the identification of skills for the future and support for the quality of education and training policies, has been able to convey how education makes an essential contribution in the acquisition of useful skills also in the field of work, giving a great professional qualification. Consequently, it is important to bring quality elements which also compensate for the lack of physicality needed in some school activities, to see the size of training, where and how the work of trainers can be facilitated and new dynamics in investment in skills can be made possible by focusing on the supply side but also by focusing on trainers and on the input of the company, as a complement to what needs to be done for compulsory education.                                                    The situation of Covid-19 has had a negative impact, but the political branch stimulated by this phenomenon has increased exponentially the demand for the mobilization of resources opening up the door to reforms that could really influence a sustainable transition. He concluded by highlighting the need to contain youth unemployment, which can be tackled through cooperation between the private and public sectors, and to listen more to teachers, young people and trainees, meeting the needs that are no longer negotiable, which have also emerged from a survey carried out in the countries of Eastern Europe and the Central Asia region, and carrying out useful reforms in this pandemic situation, but also in the future.


Mr. Nathan Sharansky highlighted the need to address, to understand its relevance, issues that have an impact on society, such as anti-Semitism, in the liberal spaces of universities or in the media of records and cultural institutions. By studying anti-Semitism we understand that it is not perceived as a problem for the Jewish community, which is a small minority in Europe and also globally, or a problem for Israel, but a form of hatred unleashed on society knows no boundaries and comes to attack other members of the population, institutions and democratic principles of society.      

                                                                                                                   
He also highlighted how important it is to work with those who are fighting for democratic principles in the Middle East, North Africa and Islamic countries, marginalize reactionary movements, work with elements of society that are open to tolerance, recognize the other,work in harmony in a globalized world and make sure that democracy is present for the success of humanity.


Culture is fundamental to know how to move in the world, interacting with multiple cultures.The pandemic has shown us how it is of fundamental importance. It is necessary to free it from the concept of mandatory nature and insert it in a context of personal enrichment necessary for each being living.

Links:                                                                                                                                                                                  
A New European Bauhaus: op-ed by Ursula von der Leyen: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/AC_20_1916

Heads of State & Government at extraordinary UNESCO meeting: https://en.unesco.org/news/heads-state-government-extraordinary-unesco-meeting-recommit-education-and-its-financing-during


Private sector should boost finance for education – UNESCO: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002192/219221E.pdf


A Union that strives for more My agenda for Europe – Eunec: http://www.eunec.eu/sites/www.eunec.eu/files/attachment/files/political-guidelines-next-commission_en_kopie.pdf

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