At its most recent Assembly at Neudietendorf, the German Academies, under the roof of their umbrella organization EAD, adopted a new concept for making Europe a priority issue for the years to come.
The concept starts by recognizing that Europe is and must be a key reference point for reflection and action in the discourse of today´s issues. On the other hand, though, Europe for many people is far away and offers seemingly very few opportunities for getting engaged. Academies, therefore, are faced with the dilemma that the reflection on genuine European issues is not always met with a lot of interest. Nevertheless, bringing Europe closer to its citizens and finding ways for peoples´ participation in the political and decision-making process remains to be a crucial task also for church-related academies.
With the new concept, the Protestant Academies in Germany now commit themselves to increase the European dimension in their ongoing discourses and to also increase the participation from other European countries in their consultations. This is an important step towards taking into account the perspectives of Europeans with different backgrounds and from different traditions and contexts. Oikosnet Europe and its members have been identified as key partners in this effort. More than before, the German Protestant Academies want to live up to their commitment to Europe and to an open, transparent and regular dialogue across religious, cultural, political and economic borders.
In addition to this commitment, the EAD Assembly identified two “paradigmatic issues”, through which an alternative understanding of what Europe should be about will be made visible. In order to promote a just, sustainable and participatory Europe, consultations in the years to come will focus on what solidarity means in Europe and beyond as well as on the erosion of democratic structures and the role of civil society.
In April 2015, Directors and Study Leaders from German Academies will visit Brussels in order to explore these issues further.
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