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IP/02/837

Brussels, 10 June 2002

New projects to support intercultural dialogue amongst young people

The European Commission has selected 178 new projects for funding under the framework of the YOUTH and EUROMED YOUTH programmes, with the aim of promoting intercultural dialogue, active citizenship and minority rights in the Mediterranean basin and in South Eastern Europe. They will offer young people possibilities for personal development and active participation in exchanges, voluntary service or other initiatives. The funding for the selected projects will be worth 4.2 million Euro. Many projects will go ahead with the co-operation of international organisations such as the United Nations.

"Participation of young people in activities of social and humanitarian character, such as those offered by the YOUTH and EUROMED YOUTH programmes is of utmost importance as they are signs of an active citizenship and a strong commitment to the development of democracy. I am proud that the European Commission supports the projects of 110 000 young people in Europe and in the Mediterranean area every year. The new selected projects will increase the opportunities offered to young people and contribute to a better dialogue between cultures" European Commissioner for Education and Culture, Viviane Reding, said.

EuroMediterranean projects

Amongst the 178 selected projects, 76 aim at promoting a better understanding of the respective environments and cultures of young people, mutual understanding and tolerance as well as different forms of democratic participation in society between Europe and the MEDA countries.

Example: In a seminar, 32 participants from Jordan, Turkey, France, Italy and Sweden will discuss the importance of youth participation in local government and also raise sensitivity among local government officials to this subject. Youth projects for the future will be encouraged to reinforce co-operation at local level between grass-roots organisations and local government.

Projects in South East Europe

23 selected projects linked to South Eastern Europe address specific challenges in the region. Themes for youth exchanges and training activities with the region vary from health care and intercultural understanding to peace building.

Example: 25 youngsters from Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Germany, Greece, Romania, Turkey, Serbia and Montenegro will participate in an exchange on the theme of minorities and the protection of their rights.

For the first time the European Commission will organise European Voluntary Service projects in partnership with other international organisations such as the United Nations. These projects allow a young person to be a volunteer in another country for a specific time period and to carry out tasks, which bring an added value to the local community. For example, under the new selected projects, two young Spanish volunteers will be helping UN field staff in a refugee camp in Damascus, Syria, with their humanitarian assistance mandate in Palestinian refugee camps.

The YOUTH programme (2000-2006) supports the participation of about 110 000 young people every year, in mobility and non-formal educational activities, such as youth exchanges, European voluntary service or youth initiatives. It offers financial support for their projects, but also provides them with information, training and opportunities to develop new partnerships across Europe, including pre-accession countries and beyond. In addition the EUROMED YOUTH programme, a joint action between the YOUTH programme and the MEDA programme, give the 12 Mediterranean partner countries the same opportunities. Their aim is to facilitate the integration of young people into social and working life with a view to developing intercultural dialogue, as well as stimulating the democratic processes of civil society in the Mediterranean partner countries.

The list of the selected projects is available from the spokesman.

For more informations about the YOUTH Programme :

http://europa.eu.int/comm/education/youth.html


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