Debating Europe (Friends of Europe ASBL)
The European Union’s motto is ‘Unity in Diversity’, but does the rise of far-right and anti-migration parties mean it is time to accept that “multiculturalism” has failed, and that what divides us is stronger than what unites us?
The Diversity Project will seek to raise awareness of the European Union’s common history and values by engaging Europe’s youth in a series of online debates on major issues concerning diversity across the continent. They will be given the chance to put questions on diversity directly to policymakers and experts from across Europe via a series of online debates, designed to challenge perceptions, encourage tolerance between people from different backgrounds, and ensure the values enshrined in Europe’s foundation, “Unity in Diversity”, are preserved and strengthened.
The project will greatly benefit from our extensive experience in online community building (over 1 million users), and level of policymaker engagement, which will ensure a genuine debate on diversity across Europe.
The active role that citizens will be given is expected to make a lasting impression on their views, as well as inspire tolerance and respect in an increasingly fragmented Europe.
With Debating Europe’s million-strong community, the Diversity Project will aim to involve young citizens from all across Europe, making a large impact on them by providing the opportunity to lead debates on diversity with policymakers and experts.
The project will also focus on including minorities who are often left out of discussions. Debates will be carried out in collaboration with schools across Europe, including faith-based schools, so as to allow students with diverse backgrounds to participate in asking questions to EU leaders and experts.
The project will consist of a series of 10 online debates from Oct 2015 – June 2016, led by young people from across Europe. They will focus on topics such as migration, education, media, minorities, and religion, that are relevant to citizens in their everyday lives, and which reflect the multicultural and diverse Europe within which we currently live.
The debates will be citizen-led from the very beginning, during which they will have the opportunity to question and debate with relevant policymakers and experts.
For each of the debates, a team of journalists will prepare a short introductory article providing the context for the debate, plus a series of eye-catching infographics tackling the policy issues addressed and breaking the issue down into clear arguments.
We would like to hear which diversity-related issues they think we should address, and suggestions on which policymakers and experts from across the EU we should involve.