How can we “Learn to live together”?

The Council of Europe is organizing a
conference in June this year on the theme of learning to live together.
Yulia, why is that happening now? And what do you hope can be achieved
with this event? This conference was actually foreseen
already five years ago, and it’s part of our regular review. We are looking today at what has been in
Europe over the past five years and we will prepare a report on the state
of citizenship and human rights education in Europe. The conclusions of this report will be
discussed at this conference, which is entitled, “Learning to live together:
a shared commitment to democracy” We will look at what has happened,
what we can learn from it, and how we can do this better in the years
to come. And how do you think that we can learn to
live together as equals in increasingly diverse societies? Well, we all learn to live together
everyday, but what education can do,
is to provide space. Where, for example, we can discuss
controversial issues in a safe space. Where we can resolve conflicts,
in a peaceful manner. Where we can take part in decisions,
that concern us directly. And, through these experiences, we can
develop what we call “Competencies for democratic culture” which is something that we all need
in order to live together. How can education for democratic
citizenship and human rights education have an impact on the way
we live in society? I will give you an example: The Council of Europe has published a
video “Beat Bullying” and this video, first of all, provides
statistics and describes what bullying is. It shows what a bullied person goes
through, what kind of experience they live, and it also shows you what you can do
in order to help this person and to prevent bullying from happening at
school, and in this way, we can really make a change in society
when people know about the existing problems, know how to
address them, and they take action. And finally, how can one address
discrimination, prejudice and intolerance through education? Well, first of all, it’s important to
react when discrimination happens and to also to reflect on the reasons
why it occurs, but another part which is also very
important is prevention and citizenship and human rights
education plays a very important role in this respect. Another important dimension is that
we really need to give a human face to the other, because, for example
segregation of education is a very important challenge
in this area. When people do not have an opportunity
to meet the other, it’s much easier to be intolerant
or to adopt practices that are discriminatory towards these people. Yulia, thank you very much for that.