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History at close quarters

Under the Europe for Citizens programme, the students of the Polytechnic of Economics Alternative Secondary Grammar School studied how civil society had contributed to the fall of dictatorship and the transition to democracy. Within the “Let’s Build a Democratic Europe Together” project, they examined the issue in five European countries: Hungary, Germany, Poland, Slovakia and Greece. Besides the programme events, the era was also presented through video interviews made by the students, as well as questionnaires and exhibitions. We asked Project Coordinator Adrienne Varga about the experiences.

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Our Cultural Heritage Differently

The project called Reveal YouropEaN Cultural Heritage (ENriCH) was launched in autumn 2018 in a partnership of five countries. They have set an ambitious goal: they want to fill the term‚ ‘cultural heritage’ with a new meaning for youth. We asked programme coordinator Anna Knauer, colleague of the Strategic Department in the Municipality of Veszprém about how they plan to achieve that.

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Beyond enviromental protection and EU issues: „Our primary goal was to get to know each other better!”

The project called Local Environmental Efforts in the Light of the EU’s Environmental Policy was implemented with the support of the Europe for Citizens Programme Town Twinning measure. Although the emphasis was on environmental protection, the project covered a number of other areas, too, from EU institutions through gastronomy to folk dance. I asked project coordinator Gabriella Borbásné Gazdag, International Relations Officer at the Municipality of Várpalota about the achievements and challenges of the project.

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Choose life instead of prejudice!

Why do we still need to talk about the Holocaust?, many people ask, many times. The remembrance project of Szembenézés Alapítvány (Facing the Past for the Future Foundation) gives an answer to that question, which is both strong and different from former ones.

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Anyone can contribute to resolving life-changing issues

“Even us, the Little Ones Count a Lot” - that is the motto of the latest international project of Kőszeg Town Twinning Association, implemented under the Europe for Citizens Programme. The EULOCAL initiative studied how small communities and nations can contribute to common achievements concerning issues of global significance. We asked Dr. István Mátrai, Chairman of the association about the project.

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What can the past teach us?

How do we live together with the darker chapters of history today? Can we save future generations from the threats of wars and totalitarian regimes? What do we need to do to prevent xenophobia, intolerance and discrimination from gaining prevalence? These were the questions to which the international project called Scratched on a Cell Wall, implemented under the Europe for Citizens Programme, sought answers. The Hungarian coordinator, Klaudia Lippai told us about the project.

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More than camping

Camping shared the same purpose: to be together and to communicate, to get in touch with and get to know each other. It’s just the same today – only now we can use more consciously the power inherent in international meetings for good purposes. We discussed that with the Head of Communications at the Municipality of Gödöllő in connection with their youth camp implemented under the Europe for Citizens Programme.

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History at Close Quarters

Within the Europe for Citizens programme the students of Polytechnic of Economics Alternative Secondary Grammar School study how civil society contributed to the fall of dictatorship and the transition to democracy. In the project, called Let’s Build a Democratic Europe Together they examine the question in five European countries: Hungary, Germany, Poland, Slovakia and Greece. Besides the programme events, the era was also presented through video interviews made by the students, as well as questionnaires and exhibitions. We asked Adrienne Varga project coordinator about the experiences.

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Europe is a Coherent, Living Whole

Through The Citizen’s Path in the Mirror of History project, six nongovernmental organisations from four countries launched a dialogue about the freedom and rights ensured by the European Union. Due to the crossgenerational programme, the younger generations have also become aware that we need to build and protect our common values. The outstandingly successful initiative has recently been recognised with an European award, awarded to NGO’s contributing to building democratic communities. We talked to project coordinator Kata Kádek, representative of the Hungarian partner, Regional Association for Hungarian Identity.

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Social Enterprises for Sustainability

What’s a good programme like, where countries and towns cooperate with each other? It should focus on topics that are relevant and current for each participant, it should allow them to exchange good practices and it should also offer a potential for long-term partnerships. The Municipality of Gyula now attempts to build such a supporting network through its granted project, called Network for Successful Social Enterprises.

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Freedoms in Focus

The programme series called EU3doms was held with the involvement of young people from Hévíz; the programme series was implemented under the Europe for Citizens programme, focusing on the four freedoms of the European Union. While the children learnt about their fundamental rights and the mechanism of the European Union, the adults involved in the project discussed serious issues concerning the free flow of capital, goods and services, as well as the free movement of persons. We asked József Kepli, Mayor of Hévíz about the programmes implemented.

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Exchange of Experience with Music, Dance and Singing

950 years: that’s what Alsónémedi may be most proud of. That’s how long people have provenly lived here between the rivers Danube and Tisza, in one of the longest inhabited settlements of Pest County. Such a long-established settlement has a lot to say to its „neighbours”, and, due to the Europe for Citizens programme, the citizens of the town have had an opportunity to exchange experience with their twinned towns several times.

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Solving Public Affairs Together - Students Preparing for Active Citizenship

The lack of a local hospital, the decreasing number of jobs available or alcohol and drug consumption among youth are not typically the issues left to secondary school students to solve; however, they, too, are interested in more serious issues, and if the appropriate circumstances are ensured, they gladly work on the solutions, as it turned out during the implementation of the Civil Courage project. Students from six countries were given an opportunity by Cikk (Article) Association to practice the cooperative techniques of managing public affairs. We asked specialist leader László Edényi about the project results.

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More Than a Camp

The state in Hungary takes care of children whose parents are unable to do so for some reasons. It provides them accommodation, education, food and clothing. However, there is something it only has a limited supply of: love and caring. It has been a long-standing problem that when these children become ‘adults’ and get out of the social care system, they become perhaps even more helpless than before their years spent within the institution. They don’t know what to do with their lives or how to do it. That is where Csepp a Tengerben (Drop in the Sea) Foundation tries to help them – recently through the opportunities provided by the Europe for Citizens programme. We talked to Zsófia Restár, the Foundation’s volunteer and project manager.

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Twinned Towns in Dialogue

Under the Europe for Citizens programme and as part of the measure town twinning, citizens from small Hungarian, Serbian, Romanian and Slovakian towns and villages held a meeting in Tompa in August 2017. The project, called Solidarity, Sovereignty and Future of Europe Post-Brexit involved nearly 270 participants. We asked László Véh, Mayor of Tompa about the event series.

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Everyday Life Behind the Iron Curtain - As seen by the Millennial generation

Students from four Central-European countries revived the history of communism and socialism through making their own movies. The ‘Behind Iron Curtains’ project combined interactive learning and free creative work to encourage secondary school students to study closely an era which they had only known from the pages of history books. Project Leader Norbert Szári, researcher of the Committee of National Remembrance answered our questions about the project.

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Focusing on the Future of the European Union

Republikon Foundation has already implemented a number of projects under the Europe for Citizens programme. Last time they addressed the issue of fighting against political extremes and Euroscepticism. The project was co-funded by the EU programme, and it focused on major issues affecting the EU through research, studies and discussions. On behalf of the Foundation, Dániel Mikecz told us about the project.

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Joint Thinking in Eight Countries

The town of Békés is implementing its project under the Europe for Citizens programme in cooperation with its twinned towns and partner towns. They seek to present the opportunities and processes of the European Citizens’ Initiative to the citizens of the countries involved. The project, implemented with the involvement of ten partners, seeks to call the attention to the importance of active participation in European affairs.

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They Got Involved in Sensitisation Unaware

“Equal opportunity is not about declaring that people are equal. We are diverse and different; we must give everyone the kind of help they need”, said Gergely Karácsony, Mayor of Zugló, at the opening ceremony of the event organised under the Europe for Citizens programme. In the project, professionals specialising in people with disabilities came to Zugló from four countries to exchange experience about the situation of education, the employment opportunities of people with disabilities and relevant EU programmes. These were the topics we discussed with Rita Andrasek, Head of Applications Department at the Mayor’s Office, Zugló, and Orsolya Kovács applications officer.

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A Strong Commitment to Europe in 6 Acts

As part of the project called European Citizenship from a Local Perspective, the South Plains Regional Social Science Research Association (DARTKE) organised an international meeting in cooperation with the municipality of Szeged. The programmes organised between 18 October 2013 and 7 September 2014 were attended by, among others, Hungarian, German, Romanian and Serbian experts, who held conferences to discuss such EU issues as the free movement of persons and services, employment security, or what it means to be a European citizen. We asked Gábor Dániel Nagy, Chairman of DARTKE, about the project which involved five countries and cost € 145,000.

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THE MEETING IN TÚRKEVE ENHANCED THE EUROPEAN EXPERIENCE

The ‘Past-Present-Future’ project brought together twin town citizens in Túrkeve between 6 and 9 September 2013. The event commemorated the 205th anniversary of Túrkeve becoming a town. The programmes of ‘Town’s Day’, coupled with the twin towns’ meeting, were attended by 112 foreign guests from Porabka (Poland), Nagyszalonta (Romania) and Auchel (France). Besides the delegations from the foreign and Hungarian twin towns, the programmes attracted many visitors and volunteers from Túrkeve, as well. We asked Ildikó Nagyné Bedő, Head of Department at the Joint Municipal Office of Túrkeve and Judit Tereminé Hanász Senior Counsellor about the 15,000-euro project, the varied programme offered and the most important outcomes.

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Preservation of Nature by Small Settlements

This summer, the ‘Four Generations for Europe’ European Picnic was held in Felsőnyék as part of the ‘Europe for Citizens’ programme, mobilising 180 citizens from 13 foreign municipalities. During the meeting, the participants mainly focused on environmental protection, sustainable development and the responsible use of new and renewable energy sources.

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European Cooperation for a Rural Future

In June 2014, 780 citizens from five countries visited the event in Varsány called ‘5th anniversary meeting under the auspices of family farms – for the revival of self-sufficient farming’. The meeting focused on the exchange of experiences, since the majority of the participants had had considerable practice in the field of self-sufficient farming, which is of a particularly great significance in rural areas.

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Students' Movies About the Holocaust - The Vitrine Project

Anthropolis Anthropoligical Public Benefit Association has introduced a new method, suitable for use in secondary school history education. The method of digital storytelling encourages students to use photos and objects to present their personal experiences and family stories in short movies which can be shared with others. Within the framework of the Vitrine project, shocking, astounding and thought-provoking works were created.

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FAMILY IS THE CORNERSTONE OF EUROPEAN CITIZENSHIP

The three-day-long event series called St. Michael Day’s New Wine Festival has been organised each year for 22 years in Nemesnádudvar, Bács-Kiskun County, where locals can meet people coming from their German, Serbian and Slovakian twin towns. This year’s event, held between 26 and 28 September and financed by the Europe for Citizens programme, focused on the issue of family. We asked one of the project coordinators, Mátyásné Jaksütz about the experiences of the project and the twinned town relations.

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“Everybody Loves Belonging to an Intellectual Community”

The Hungarian founding member of the Phiren Amenca international network, RGDTS, has been operating for five years, coordinating the work of a number of volunteers all over Europe from Budapest. Its goal, however, is much more complex: it offers self-respect, civic engagement, European identity, and, in particular, a dialogue between Roma and non-Roma people. With grant support from the Europe for Citizens programme, the organisation has been given an opportunity now to assess, summarise and make available for others the experiences of its members. Coordinator Marietta Herfort told us about their activities.

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Everyday Heroes: When Helping Is Not an Obligation but a Lifestyle

Although many have sounded the alarm, saying that today’s generation Y is irreversibly lost in the world of smartphones and game consoles, there is an organisation to show us a great counterexample. In the Be an Everyday Hero project, students learn in a playful way what it means to be a volunteer.

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Effective Solutions to Young People’s Problems

The project implemented by For Cultural Life Non-profit Association, Nyíregyháza, focuses on solving problems which affect young people. Their goal is to identify the difficulties young local people face, to adapt foreign methods and to inform decision-makers about what should be done for a solution. We talked to Coordinator Gábor Dombóvári.

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Society Can Help Without Regulations

According to the assessment of Claudia Piovano, Managing Director of Galileo Progetti Italian-Hungarian Non-Profit Ltd., their project implemented under the 'Europe for Citizens' programme made the young people involved aware of the meaning of historical differences, as well as the fact that the consequences of decisions made in the past are still with us. The most important result was the demonstration of the fact that remembrance is not about reliving the past but to help the future.

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Arts for Tolerance

In a project implemented with support from the Europe for Citizens programme, the Local Government of the town of Nagyecsed focused on improving the self-knowledge, cultural heritage and integration of Roma communities. They tackled the issue through artistic activities implemented with their Romanian, Slovakian and Polish partners. We talked to Project Leader Szilvia Erősné Balog and Coordinator Zsuzsanna Ivánku about the project.

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Developing Europe’s Future Together

This year, the town of Bácsalmás has held its traditional twin town meeting as part of the Europe for Citizens programme. The delegations from the twin towns shared their good practices in the fields of local economic development, the prevention of unemployment and public security at professional workshops. Coordinator Kinga Némethné Légrády told us about the project.

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Exemplary Traineeship Programme Against Youth Unemployment

The town of Mórahalom implemented its project under the Europe for Citizens programme with the involvement of a number of twinned towns. Our most important goal was to develop and launch a joint traineeship programme which could set an example all over Europe, as traineeship is a widely accepted tool that facilitates the transition from the educational system to the world of work. Coordinator Zsolt Berta told us about the project.

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