The Council of Europe invited schools to participate in the European Year of Citizenship under the motto "Learn and Live Democracy". The aim was to launch a campaign throughout Europe to popularise and put into practice the education for democratic citizenship policies and programmes developed within the Council of Europe. The launching conference, which was held in Sofia on December 13 and 14, 2004, drafted an Action Plan which should enable countries to implement inititatives.
The year 2005 brought some anniversaries for Austria which were really worth a celebration. The initiative of the Council of Europe, to proclaim 2005 the "European Year of Citizenship through Education" fitted in wonderfully into the celebrations Austria held over the so-called "year of remembrances 2005".
If you want to learn more about Austria, you should not miss the Austria Portal.
Austria joined the EU on January 1, 1995. Some people were sceptical and reluctant then, and some still are not 100% sure whether they agree that Austria became a member.
The project "25 PEACES" tried to make us remember, how difficult the years of war were for the population. Aphorisms and actions in public places, tried to make people reflect on what had happened - and that it should never happen again!
But especially in times of humanitarian crises and natural disasters like the one which happened - also to many Europeans! - in south-east Asia at the end of 2004, we should appreciate that a growing number of European countries cooperate and support each other.
Austria celebrated the 10th anniversary of its EU memebership with a Europe Conference in the Vienna Hofburg.
In May 2005 Europe celebrated the 60 year anniversary of the end of World War II. Let's never forget, what war did to our continent and the whole world, and let's do all we can to make Europe a model for peaceful cooperation for the whole world!
Otto Pirzl invited the visitors of his Homepage Europa to participate in a project called 60 years of peace.
2005 was proclaimed the European Year of Citizenship through Education. The 60 years of peace in Europe were a wonderful occasion not only to improve our knowledge of politics, but also to do all we can to secure peace for the future.
On May 7, 2004, the project A Letter to the Stars organized a Vigil of Silence for the vicitims of the Nazi-Regime in Mauthausen.
On May 15, 1955 the Austrian State Treaty was signed and made the country free and independent again after 6 years of war and 10 years of occupation by the winners of World War II. Various celebrations took place! Here you can read the real story behind the famous sentence of Leopold Figl: "Austria is free!".
The Project oe2005.at - Schüler schreiben Geschichte was an exceptional chance for school classes all over Austria. They collected information about what happened in our country in 720 months - from April 1945 to May 2005. The final product was a huge "Austrian Newspaper", a marvellous document of present day history.
Vienna celebrated the remembrance of the development of the city over the years 1955 to 2005, with a spectacular light installation on the Rathausplatz.
Please draw your students' attention to a worldwide survey among young people (15-24) on citizenship and identity. The Our World 2007 Survey is ready to go in 8 languages (i.e English, Spanish, German, Polish, Russian).
The Democracy Project contains a number of lesson plans for teachers who are interested in discussing politics and democracy with their students. This is similarly true for the website of the Demokratiezentrum Wien, of the Zentrum Polis and of the Forum Politische Bildung. Also, the Austrian Ministry of Education runs a special website, Demokratie leben und lernen, which encourages young people to participate in the political life of the country.
Polipedia invites young people to actively contribute to political education. D@dalos is the International UNESCO Education Server for Civic, Peace and Human Rights Education.
© Dr. Susanne Pratscher