2024 Mar/13

The Council of Europe chooses UCV to share innovative experiences for the development of a democratic culture among universities

This honour and responsibility was delegated during a pivotal meeting that took place 21st-22nd February in Belgrade, bringing representatives from Serbian and European universities together to discuss the integration of competences for democratic culture into higher education programmes. The meeting was part of the joint “Quality education for all” action initiated by the European Union and Council of Europe, which focuses on continuous improvement of educational standards in Serbia.

This event focused specifically on higher education institutions, addressing the introduction of the Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture (RFCDC) into the Serbian higher education system. Following the opening remarks, international experts from renowned universities such as Queen’s University Belfast, the Catholic University of Valencia, the University of Barcelona, the University of Humanistic Studies Utrecht, Leeds Beckett University, and the University of Helsinki, shared their experiences and insights on integrating RFCDC into higher education.

Day two featured vibrant discussions among the representatives from Serbian universities and international experts on adapting and implementing the presented strategies and practices within the Serbian educational context. Among the diverse perspectives and ideas exchanged were strategies such as aligning university policies with the values of the RFCDC, fostering diversity among university staff, incorporating research and education with a social purpose, actively engaging students with local communities, and introducing courses that integrate different aspects of the RFCDC.

Professor Tamar Shuali Trachtenberg, director of the European Institute of Education for Cultural Democracy of the UCV and expert of the Council of Europe, presented various initiatives promoted by the Catholic University of Valencia as part of the institute’s research highlighting the INNO4DIV project. She also showcased the extra-curricular training initiative that the institute carries out within the framework of Science Week titled “Imagine learning to live together addressing controversial topics,” which was held this year for the third consecutive time.

Moving forward, Shuali highlighted the role of European universities in mitigating “social illness” such as Racism, Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and anti-gypsyism, and explained  the usefulness of the RFCDC as an innovative educational tool for the development of European values and a sense of belonging in the context of various university degrees that feature a special emphasis on teacher education.

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