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.