What is Advocate Europe?

Advocate Europe is an annual idea challenge for European initiatives and projects realised by MitOst and Liquid Democracy, funded by Stiftung Mercator. We are looking for unconventional and transnational project proposals which strengthen connection and cohesion in Europe. Advocate Europe is aimed at civil society actors who are looking for start-up funding and support to implement sustainable ideas in the fields of civic education, arts and culture, democracy and participation, social innovation or advocacy. We will fund up to 12 pioneering proposals with grants of up to €50,000 each.

Why an idea challenge?

Europe belongs to us, the citizens. We can determine its direction. But we need to start now. And we should do it together - beyond established disciplines and conventional schools of thought. We know that we exist, from Reykjavik to Ankara, from Lisbon to Helsinki, in cities and in rural areas: individuals and groups who want to effect change and who want to pursue innovative work on Europe. As the initiators of Advocate Europe, we are convinced that a unified Europe is the best option for our continent. Only together can we find solutions to our challenges. We want to strengthen connection, cohesion and agency in Europe. Connection is created when people in Europe feel like Europeans and experience the advantages of our shared community.

We encourage you to submit your ideas for a Europe that is co-created by its citizens – one that that is based on open-mindedness and tolerance, that offers justice and equal opportunities, that protects individual rights, that guarantees democracy and the rule of law, and that ensures freedom.

Who is behind Advocate Europe?

Advocate Europe is an idea challenge implemented by MitOst, in cooperation with Liquid Democracy, and funded by Stiftung Mercator.

Stiftung Mercator is a private and independent foundation. Through its work it strives for a society characterized by openness to the world, solidarity and equal opportunities. In this context it concentrates on strengthening Europe; increasing the educational success of disadvantaged children and young people, especially those of migrant origin; driving forward climate change mitigation and promoting science and the humanities. Stiftung Mercator symbolizes the connection between academic expertise and practical project experience. One of Germany’s leading foundations, it is active both nationally and internationally. Stiftung Mercator feels a strong sense of loyalty to the Ruhr region, the home of the founding family and the foundation’s headquarters.

MitOst e.V. connects motivated people in a diverse and open network in Europe and its neighbouring regions. MitOst supports cultural exchange and civil society engagement through its projects. The goal of the association is a lively civil society that goes beyond cultural, linguistic and political borders. More information can be found at mitost.org.

Liquid Democracy e.V. is a non-profit and non-partisan association which works on innovative ideas and software for democratic participation. Since 2009 the association has developed the open source software Adhocracy. This software enables organisations and individuals to participate in decision-making processes through an online discourse mostly free of moderation. More information can be found at liqd.net.

What is Advocate Europe’s connection to the Ruhr region?

One of Advocate Europe’s aims is to strengthen the European dimension in the Ruhr region of Germany. Not all our funded projects need to include a link to the Ruhr region, but we will select some that do. The connection could be through a project partner, a target group or some other aspect of a proposal which relates to the region.