The Education and Culture Committee of the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe launched its working group on Lifelong Learning

Volonteurope enjoys participatory status with the Council of Europe. This is mainly reflected in its participation in the Conference of INGOs.

The Conference of INGOs holds two plenary meetings a year, during the January and June sessions.

The Conference of INGOs has established three thematic committees which are responsible for its work in the priority fields of:

  • Human Rights
  • Democracy, Social Cohesion and Global Challenges
  • Education and Culture

In June 2017, as official representative of Volonteurope, I was elected Vice-President of the Education and Culture Committee for a three-year term.

The Committees’ purpose is to facilitate co-ordination between the INGOs in specific interest areas, serve as common interlocutors for all the Council of Europe bodies, and ensure more effective participation in the activities of these bodies. When planning their work, the Committees take into account the Council of Europe’s main concerns and topical issues and the general lines and the programme of activities pursued by the Conference of INGOs.

To face the rise of populism – fuelled by the quest for identity, massive urbanisation, digitisation in daily life and the fact that the economy shapes politics –  the Education and Culture Committee appoints four working groups in order to raise awareness of the issues and make proposals for actions.

The Education and Culture Committee has opted to focus on four topics, a combination of current educational, cultural, religious, artistic, societal and civilizational issues. The four working groups are part of an overarching project aiming at building, enhancing and strengthening the European cultural identity.

The roadmap for 2018/20 is available here.

During the summer session from 25 to 29 June, the Working Group on Lifelong Learning of the Committee on Culture and Education was launched. I’m in charge of its coordination.

It is based on the premise that our societies today are evolving rapidly and profoundly. These changes lead to a weakening of the individual, which impacts the collective and ultimately endangers our democratic values.

Adult education is a concept interpreted and applied in very different ways in Europe. We think adult education is essential and must be approached in a way that does not only take into account the employment dimension. This vision is complementary to that developed by the Council of Europe.

The Council of Europe provides tools to train people in the importance and exercise of democracy.

The Council of Europe advocates:

  • Quality education to prepare young people not only for employment, but also for their lives as active citizens in democratic societies, and to ensure their personal development and the development and maintenance of a broad, advanced knowledge base
  • Competence based education systems that contribute to the progress of democratisation of

European societies through the development of a culture of democracy – values, attitudes, skills, knowledge and critical understanding (source)

The educational policies of the Council of Europe are organised in 3 strands:

  • Competences for life in a democracy
  • Inclusive approaches to education: leaving no one out, including migrants
  • Ethics and integrity in education

The main activities developed by the Council of Europe focus on children and young people. New tools have also recently been created to ensure inclusion for all through education; for example the toolkit for the linguistic integration of adults. We have work to do for INGOs to appropriate and use them.

As INGOs, through this working group, we therefore want to build an advocacy and manifesto for adult education and the right to lifelong learning, highlighting our expertise and practices and disseminating effective tools that can be used by all INGOs to serve this purpose.

The minutes of this meeting and the steps to be taken to contribute to the content of this working group will be communicated to you in September.

In the meantime, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me:


Julianne Lagadec