We often hear that our world and our societies are becoming increasingly divided, that economic and social inequality is on the rise and that technological advancements, along with their many positive aspects, also have many drawbacks. As a result of that, we are faced with some new challenges that we sometimes fail to respond to as adults. In all this, the role of the educational system is also not entirely clear, leaving the teachers and other educators unprepared to respond to these challenges and keep up with a changing society and environment.

 With this presumption in mind, the final conference of the project “Start the Change: Embracing differences through intercultural education and volunteering” intended to bring together experts, educators, teachers and students from UK, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia to discuss the difficulties educators face in working with young people in today’s world and to share the results of the 2-year long project.

The final conference took place on the 23rd of November in Zagreb (Croatia). Around 120 participants joined the conference and actively participated in different lectures, panels, and workshops. CSC was present as project partners, together with 4 teachers coming from two different schools: two teachers from the Classical high school “Vittorio Emanuele II” and two teachers from the lower high schools within the institute of “Casserà-Guida” in Partinico.

The conference was held in the building of the Journalist Association in Zagreb, and was programmed for a full day, from 9:30 until 17:00, including lunch.

The conference started with official openings from the president of Forum’s Governing Board (coordinator of the Start the change project), and included lectures from different experts, such as a key-note speaker Michalis Kakos from Leeds Beckett University, United Kingdom on democracy in education, Manju Patel-Nair from the UK on critical thinking and global education in youth education, and Bojana Ćulum Ilić on the importance of civil education for teachers. On the agenda were furthermore two panels, one with students and one with teachers and project managers, on the impact of the project for those who participated. All present teachers and students also had the change to explain their local projects more and listen to other experiences during the Project Market, which featured posters from participating teachers and students on their local project.

The conference ended with a more practical touch, during the workshops. The participants were divided over 4 workshops on different topics, organized by the project partners. To read more about the final conference and see the photo impressions, please look here: https://startthechange.net/the-final-conference-start-the-change/

The conference was perceived very positive by the participants. A final evaluation showed a high level of satisfaction and also during the day, teachers and other interested parties were interested, inspired and touched by the contribution of the lecturers, the students and the contributions of partners. The Italian teachers were very happy with the conference, praising the interesting lectures, workshops and conversations with other teachers during the day.

During the conference, the book of good ideas was distributed. To see the online version, please look here: https://startthechange.net/book-of-good-ideas-school-projects-promoting-social-justice-diversity-and-critical-thinking/

START THE CHANGE is funded under the Erasmus+  Key Action 3: Support for Policy Reform and aims to fight the radicalization among young people, a process that starts as soon as in the primary and secondary schools. In order to deal with this issue, START THE CHANGE organized a large-scale coordinated action with the participation of 40 schools, 110 teachers, and 2000 youngsters across 4 European countries. The project will finish the 31st of December 2018.

The project partnership consists of four organizations around Europe:

For further information please visit the website www.startthechange.net or contact Vidjaya Thelen at vidjaya.thelen@danilodolci.org