Council of Europe

Council of Europe

The Council of Europe grants participatory status to organisations recognised for their competence and expertise. The FEDE, which holds participatory status at the Council of Europe, works through the Council to advance a progressive model for education in Europe.

The FEDE aims to bring universities and independent higher educational institutions together in the name of a powerful ambition: to create a vast shared European educational space.

The FEDE promotes education and learning for all, with a particular emphasis on freedom of education and intercultural dialogue.

Within the Council of Europe the FEDE is a member of the Conference of International Non-Governmental Organisations, which represents civil society at the Council. Acting through the Conference, the FEDE aims to support and promote the work of the Council of Europe.

The FEDE participates as an expert in the work of the Education and Culture and Human Rights Committees.

PARTICIPATORY STATUS AT THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE

Aware that INGOs play an essential role in European society and democracy, the Council of Europe grants participatory status to those INGOSs that it recognises for their remarkable competence and expertise. Since 1987, the FEDE has enjoyed this prestigious status granted by the Council.

The FEDE also assists the Council of Europe by bringing to bear its expert knowledge on higher and vocational teaching, training and general educational matters.

Currently just 325 INGOs, representing, in total, 47 countries, hold participatory status at the Council of Europe.

INGOs can contribute to the work of the Council of Europe in numerous ways – from participating in consultations to collaborating closely with the Council on specific projects. The experts representing the various INGOs (including those from the FEDE) can provide consulting services, participate in the work of intergovernmental committees, address advice and information to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, submit written declarations or make oral presentations to the committees of the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress, and speak at seminars organised by the Council of Europe.

The FEDE took on a new role at the Council of Europe on 29 June 2017 when Claude Vivier Le Got, Chairwoman of the FEDE, was elected Chairwoman of the Education and Culture Committee of the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe.

On 22 March 2018, Claude Vivier Le Got was also elected Observer representing the NGOs at the bureau of the Steering Committee for Educational Policy and Practice (CDPPE).

‘The FEDE wishes to demonstrate its commitment to teaching values via education. We believe that education plays an essential role in nurturing awareness of European cultural identity, diversity and democracy. Strengthening human rights, democracy and the rule of law is not simply desirable – it is a demand that must emerge loud and clear from the mouths of our citizens. I’m convinced that the idea of ‘Europe’ remains vital and progressive and that civil society must firmly grab hold of it.’

Claude Vivier Le Got

THE FEDE’S CONTRIBUTIONS

The INGOs holding participatory status at the Council of Europe regularly meet in Strasbourg (France) for the Conference of INGOs.

The work of the Conference is shared between a number of committees, each with a different thematic focus. The FEDE is a member of three committees but is particularly active in two of them: the Education and Culture Committee and the Human Rights Committee.

The FEDE brings to these committees not only its educational expertise but also the vast experience of its 500 member institutions, its teachers, its researchers and its affiliated professionals and international experts.

Claude Vivier Le Got, Chairwoman of the FEDE, has also chaired the Education and Culture Committee since June 2017.

The Education and Culture Committee focuses on strengthening the fundamental values underpinning harmonious living in Europe. Composed of a group of experts, it has considerable influence on national and European policies. It aims to act as a relay between the Council of Europe and European INGOs, both communicating the Council of Europe’s values to the INGOs and, in turn, communicating the INGOs’ practices to the Council of Europe.

In February 2018 the Committee adopted its 2018-2020 roadmap. Given the rise of populism, fuelled by the search for identity, mass urbanisation, digitalisation, and the increasing influence of economics on politics, the Education and Culture Committee has established four working groups whose goal is to raise awareness and generate policy proposals. The themes addressed by the working groups cover contemporary educational, cultural, artistic, social and civilisational issues and are part of a broader project to construct, enact and reinforce European cultural identity.

The work of the Education and Culture Committee is currently based on the following four themes, each of which is addressed by a different working group:

  • Intercultural cities
  • The right to lifelong education
  • Heritage and creation in Europe
  • Digital citizenship

The overall objective of the Education and Culture Committee’s working groups is to produce, by June 2020, a multifaceted publication – a white paper – proposing a modern definition of European cultural identity. This definition, generated from within civil society, is intended to give new life to our shared European values.

The white paper aims to set out preliminary ideas that everyone (individuals, teachers, towns, States and institutions) will be able to adopt. It aims to detail a range of unique, open-minded approaches that are tolerant of diversity in our contemporary intercultural world.

To this end, the Education and Culture Committee has initiated dialogue between the Council of Europe’s INGOs and various European and international political actors (ambassadors, politicians, diplomats, experts and local representatives) on how we might construct the modern foundations of European identity. The first consultation took place on 27 June 2018 and involved European political actors. The second, held on 9 April 2019, was attended by educational experts from UNESCO. And the third consultation, to be held on a date between 28 and 31 October 2019, will be attended by local representatives and political actors.

The Human Rights Committee focuses on promoting human rights in Europe. In February 2018 the Committee adopted its 2018-2020 roadmap.

The Committee concentrates on the following four areas:

  • freedom of expression and freedom of the media;
  • cyberspace, privacy rights and data protection;
  • the monitoring role of INGOs;
  • poverty.