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Migration and Home Affairs

Call for participants: RAN Y&E meeting on Working with community or religious figures in and outside schools

“The role of non-formal learning environments”

This online meeting will take place on 05-06 October 2021 from 09:30 – 13:00 CET.

For our RAN Youth & Education Working Group meeting on the topic of ‘Working with community or religious figures in and outside schools’ on 5 and 6 October 2021, we are looking for school administrators and managers of youth work organisations who have experience in collaborating with religious and community figures.

Other practitioners who can provide concrete examples from daily practices, or who experience challenges around this specific collaboration are also invited to respond to this call for participants. Religious or community figures with relevant experience on the collaboration with schools and youth work are also welcome.

Background and aim of this meeting

The involvement and the support of communities are fundamental in the prevention of radicalisation. Besides school, young people can be part of several non-formal learning environments like sport clubs and thematic or religious organisations. These environments can serve as a protective factor and contribute to a person’s sense of self, identity and belonging.

They can empower youngsters to have a greater degree of self-determination, autonomy and control over their lives, support them to handle challenges they face, and boost their resilience to violent ideologies by developing critical thinking. As such, non-formal learning environments can have a positive effect on the prevention of radicalisation. However, they can become problematic and feed radicalisation when these environments promote anti-democratic values.

Since these non-formal learning environments play an important role in the lives of youngsters it is important that educational staff collaborates with religious and community leaders to ensure a shared pedagogical climate, and possibly flag any concerns that may arise. However, there is a need for knowledge and tips on how to ensure collaboration with the right community or religious leaders, particularly those who truly represent different communities and who are in line with the common values that the EU is built on.

This meeting will build on the outcomes of the RAN plenary meeting and the previous Y&E meetings on formal and non-formal education, communityengagement and cooperation with religious organisations. It aims to explore the role of community and religious figures in schools and how they contribute to the prevention of radicalisation. Furthermore, it will explore how to create a collaboration with relevant and trustworthy religious figures and select the right ones to work with.

The outcomes of this meeting will be summarised in a conclusions paper that will present concrete recommendations stemming from daily practice on how to establish collaboration with relevant and trustable community and religious figures in order to prevent radicalisation more effectively.

Questions that will be discussed during the meeting include:

  • What role can community and religious figures play in schools?
  • How does this help in P/CVE?
  • How to select the right persons to work with? How to make sure you engage with the right religious leaders?
  • How should collaboration between practitioners in education, youth work and community or religious organisations look like? What are examples of effective collaboration between them? What are the main challenges?

How to register?

We are currently looking for the following practitioners: school administrators, managers of youth work organisations, and religious and community figures who have experience in the collaboration with schools or youth work. If you are a teacher or youth worker with relevant experience or challenges regarding this specific topic, you are also welcome to register your interest.

If you can provide concrete examples from daily practices, or if you experience challenges around this topic, please register here. We will invite participants based on the information in the registration link.

Please note that participation is not guaranteed. Attendance is limited to ensure valuable exchange and interaction.

If you have any questions, please contact Pomme Wolters, Esther Zuiderveld or Boy Broeders.