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Winners 2009

FIRST PRIZE

Polska/Poland ´´YOUrope needs YOU´´ AEGEE Krakow

"YOUrope needs YOU!" is designed and planned by members of the European students' Forum AEGEE.

It aims to empower high school students all over Europe to become active members of society. During workshops we will deepen their understanding on European matters, show the opportunities Europe offers and encourage youngsters to seize these opportunities by using methods of non-formal education. The project was conceived by an international team during a European School 2, an advanced training course focusing on project development on a European level. Doing a research the initiators found out that during lessons, Europe is often presented as something artificial, narrowed down to history and geographical boarders.

The fact that no interactive or non-formal teaching methods are applied aggravates the lack of interest towards Europe, European matters and values among high school students. In order to change this situation, YOUrope needs YOU! approaches university students who are willing to share their knowledge by giving workshops at schools and trains them as trainers. The first trainings were held in Germany and the Netherlands, three more will take place in Poland, Spain and Turkey. Endowed with a booklet created by the project team summarising worth knowing facts about Europe and the EU, multiculturalism, European identity and values as well as guidelines on how to organise a workshop, and trained by experts on the fields, the participants are to give workshops at schools.

In December 2008 the first high school workshop took place in Gostyn, Poland. Europe and its possibilities was presented to pupils from Poland and 30 exchange students from France. The teenagers showed great interest in the topic and the methods used and welcomed the change on their curriculum. Currently, the project team can refer to 7 different nationalities working together on a voluntary basis, including EU and non-EU members, eager to share their vision of a tolerant and active society with high school students.

 

SECOND PRIZE

France ´´Festival Européen de Théâtre Universitaire d'Albi´´ Acthéa

Acthéa is a European festival of university theatre and street performance. Acthéa is a week of cultural fireworks - international theatre, concerts in various styles, street performance. Building on experience gained from the ten years during which it has been in existence, the festival has taken shape and filled out over time, and its success today proves what it has achieved - Acthéa has become the biggest cultural event in Albi organised by students. This festival takes place over a week in April. Each evening, the public can see two plays in Albi's theatre, performed with passion by talented young university students from all over Europe. The whole week is filled with activities including a day dedicated to children, in which they are introduced to Europe and its cultures through music and street performance.
The Acthéa team was set up six years after the establishment of Albi-Carmaux School of Mines, by Mr Mathieu Lauras, at the time a student at the School of Mines. Today it is a non-profit student association attached to the students' union (BDE) at Albi School of Mines. It consists of some 30 students from various years in the School. These engineering students choose to get involved in their free time on a voluntary basis, to ensure that the event is a success. The experience gained from the previous ten festivals is of great help.
Acthéa, a cultural opening for all. More than 100 European comedians perform during the week, and help to brighten up the town and to develop the festival further. The main aim of the festival is to open the doors of the world of entertainment to the public at large, in order to encourage an exchange between European artists and French audiences. That is why we have set the admission charge at a symbolic 1 euro, and why admission to concerts is free. For real fans, a special rate of 3 euro has been set for the whole week. Each student company can put on a production in its own language and share its passion for theatre. Stage business, ways of speaking, body movements and gesticulations are all keys to making the actors understood by a foreign audience.
Acthéa 2009. The 2009 festival will be even more international than ever - a number of French and foreign student companies will put on productions at Albi's municipal theatre. This year eight companies will be competing. In particular, we shall see for the first time performances by a Serbian company and a Russian company. A company composed of young disabled adults will also be performing for the third time - Papillons Blancs (White butterflies). This year's Acthéa 2009 can again be summarised in a few figures: a budget of €18 680, 8 competing French and foreign theatre companies, 100 comedians, a theatre audience of more than 200 people each evening, 1 000 posters and 8 000 flyers, audiences of up to 200 for the concerts.

 

THIRD PRIZE

Deutschland/Germany ´´Oberkannte Unterlippe´´ Die Diplomaten in Gummistiefeln

'Oberkante Unterlippe' (Up to Here) is the punning title of an ecologically-oriented practical and research-based learning project, in which young people from the Netherlands, Poland and Hungary, together with their hosts in Soest, are working on a subject with a global political dimension.
In everyday speech, the expression, 'Oberkante Unterlippe'(*) implies that the measure is full, or the barrel is about to overflow, and here it refers to the increasing risk of high water levels and flooding in densely populated cultural areas of Central Europe, where industrial progress has supposedly led to the canalisation of natural watercourses. At the same time, however, 'Oberkante Unterlippe' is also the name of a specific regional-planning study of the lower section of the River Lippe, a tributary of the Rhine.

The project deals with the political challenge posed by flood protection, as both a democratic challenge to local authorities and a task that goes beyond territorial boundaries. The floods that occurred in the summer of 2007 brought home to us yet again the fact that flood protection must be treated as a matter of urgency, so that in periods of bad weather people living near rivers are not haunted by the constant fear that those rivers will burst their banks. Since human beings are the principal agents of climate change, and therefore of the flooding problems linked to it, we have an obligation to find ways of solving this problem. Because we regard our observations on flooding problems not just as a local problem, we contacted young people in our twinned towns of Strzelce Opolskie (Poland), Sárospatak (Hungary) and Kampen (the Netherlands), told them about the results of our study of the River Lippe, and we invited them to discuss the subject with us, in practical terms, on site, because nature and environmental protection know no boundaries: problems must be analysed and measures developed on a cross-border basis.

They then carried out comparable flood-situation studies in their home countries: on the River Oder near to Strzelce Opolskie, on the Bodrog in Sárospatak, and on the IJssel in Kampen. We were then able to use those studies as points of comparison for our joint research on those sections of the Lippe's water meadows which have been restored to their natural state. In the autumn of 2007 we all got together, as an international working party, on the banks of the Lippe, and carried outjoint ecological and biological field studies. 'Are there local answers to global problems?' That was the question we adopted as the central theme of our project, in which a link is created between local action and social tasks on a global scale. We aim to demonstrate that the results of globalisation are always felt at local level too, and that they affect individual human beings, but we are also - and above all - looking to identify paths for action which will lead to democratic engagement on the part of civil society. What we are seeking is not resignation in the face of globalisation, but rather encouragement to participate and become actively involved. Those are the prospective goals of our project.

Moreover, the common focus provided by the threat of flooding experienced by the communities in which the participating schools are situated is something that links those communities, in the subject area covered by the study, making it more than simply a partnership between schools. After each team had given a presentation on its local ecological study, we then spent ten days in the water meadows of the Lippe, studying the demonstrable effects of the project which has been carried out there to restore them to their natural state. We did this by forming sub-groups of mixed nationality, which studied individual subject areas in more detail, such as water analyses, and studies of flora and fauna, but also graphic and theatrical presentations of the situation and the environment. Biological reports were accompanied by creative, media-based processing and presentation of results. The results of the studies show that the restoration of the Lippe has been a success, inasmuch as the newly reintroduced natural flora and fauna are proving an effective remedy when it comes to dealing with low and medium flood levels. However, they also show that the results of global warming are also detectable in the bioindicators of the Lippe region. To round off the project we organised a panel discussion involving both decision makers and participants in the project.

Finally, we sent a copy of the practical results and a list of demands for political and ecological action in all the countries involved to the competent parliaments and ministers. Through Dr Peter Liese, a Member of the European Parliament who also took part in the panel discussion, the European Parliament and the EU Commissioner responsible are also being kept informed. The project received a high level of recognition by experts when it won the environment prize of North Rhine-Westphalia, awarded in the 'Jugend forscht' (Youth Research) competition, in which some of our participants gave a presentation on the project. We are currently preparing to continue the project: in the autumn of 2009 we shall be holding an event in the Netherlands under the title 'Effects of climate change in the case of the Netherlands' (working title) under the leadership of our Dutch friends. This will involve young people from five countries (NL, PL, H, S and D). It will be our fifteenth joint European project.

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