The project “systemic UPscaling of Peace Education pRactices – UPPER” is developed and realized within the framework of the EU ERASMUS+ Programme. The project is coordinated by the Fondation des Régions Européennes pour la Recherche, l’Éducation et la Formation (FREREF) in partnership with the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (UNIMORE), the Ministry of Education and Employment of Malta (MEDE), the European School Heads Association (ESHA) and the International Institute of Humanitarian Law (IIHL).
There cannot be a more urgent priority for Europe than to educate its young people to be peaceful. The marked change in populations of young people alongside the pervasive influence of technological development and the competing forces of localism and globalisation have given rise to the need to enhance social cohesion, manage rapid transformations in youth populations and prevent violent radicalisation.
The Declaration on Promoting Citizenship and the Common Values of Freedom, Tolerance and Non-discrimination through education, the Paris Declaration, (Paris, 17 March 2015) highlighted the key role of education in fostering equality, social cohesion, nurturing mutual respect and embedding fundamental values in society and urges EU level actions “to cooperate and coordinate, to exchange experiences and to ensure that the best ideas and practices can be shared throughout the European Union”.
Currently, Digital media can be better utilised to promote and develop civic values, participation and mutual understanding, in a synergetic approach with formal education, and to make the existing initiatives more connected and successful. Learning how to structure and conduct dialogue among different people and cultures is a natural complement to critical thinking and innovative/entrepreneurial competencies, two elements already standing high in education policy priorities.
The issue of education being able to create conditions for peaceful attitudes in young people is on the agenda of Governments, educators and communities. Although good practices, good-willing thematic networks and institutional programmes exist at local, national and international levels, not enough is done to connect these initiatives and to develop a more structured, systemic approach to what actually works well, in which situation and why.
Funded by the Erasmus + programme, the UPPER project aims at including peace, intercultural dialogue and civic participation at the core of educational policies and school practice, by scaling up the results (approaches, instruments, and learning resources) of existing good practices identified in education projects and experiences.
1) Analysing, evaluating and reporting on the upscaling potential of the identified “good practices” in terms of maximising their potential for promoting intercultural understanding, peace, tolerance and democratic values in school practices;
2) Assessing the impact and the feasibility conditions for significantly upscaling and mainstreaming the selected good practices by consulting grassroots actors and policy makers in a major international workshop to be organised in Sanremo in collaboration with the International Institute for Humanitarian Law;
3) Piloting and evaluating different sets of combined good practice elements in schools recruited through the participating networks;
ensuring the sustainability of the initiative by securing the support and commitment of relevant actors and synergies with similar initiatives, and by establishing a permanent laboratory on transferability of good practices.