4.5 Initiatives promoting social inclusion and raising awareness
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Intercultural awareness as such has not been promoted by government initiatives. The Council of Europe 'No Hate' campaign, including intercultural elements, has been heavily promoted by the Ministry of Youth and Sports in 2016, by organising the Non-Formal Learning Laboratory targeting young leaders and youth workers in order to multiply the message and other events promoting the 'No Hate' message.
The Romanian Interethnic Relations Department is implementing and financing projects promoting intercultural awareness. Most of these projects include cultural events, sport events (until 2020) and documentaries produced. The main target group of these projects are not young people, but young people can be targeted together with other age groups. In 2017-2018 a civic education programme for intercultural dialogue - "I'm from a minority so I count" - was implemented in schools targeting young people. About 120 young people took part to the lessons.
European Funds are used in Romania to promote intercultural awareness in schools in multi-ethnic communities, especially in communities with significant Roma population. The projects are financed by the Human Capacity Operational Programme under the Priority Axis dedicated to schools and education and these projects for intercultural education are not monitored as such (intercultural awareness and education). Therefore, they are not reported and centralised separately from other projects in schools aiming at reducing school drop-outs and early school leaving.
Since 2010, intercultural education can be a subject taught in high school, based on a curriculum at the school's decision. The schools can chose this subject from a long list of optional classes they can organise. There is no information at national level on the number of high schools in which this subject - intercultural education - is taught (how many schools how many schools have chosen to teach intercultural education).
One of the most important actions within the 'No Hate' campaign in Romania, together with the 'No Hate' Non-Formal Learning Laboratory, was the partnership of the Ministry of Youth and Sports in organising the 'No Hate' Youth Roma Forum in November 2016. Over 100 young people participated in the forum.
The first Youth Summit took place in Timisoara in November 2016. It was organised by several youth NGOs, but the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Ministry of Education and Scientific Research and representatives of the Romanian Presidency participated in the event. Since 2016, in 2017, 2018 and 2019 a Youth Summit have been organised in the city designated to be the Romanian Youth Capital City of the respective year. The 4th edition of the Romanian Youth Summit took place in Iasi, the 3rd edition took place in Baia Mare, and the 2nd edition in Bacau. The Romanian Youth Summit is main mega-event of the programme Romanian Youth Capital, organised based on the European Youth Capital model. The programme and the summit offer the infrastructure and opportunities for large debates on youth rights and youth policies.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Youth Summit 2020 was organised online and the event planned for 2021 was postponed for 2022.
The Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU in January-June 2019 aimed at stimulating the solidarity and cohesion of the EU through promoting policies on combating discrimination, ensuring equal chances and equal treatment between men and women, as well as through increasing the involvement of the citizens, in particular the youth, in the European debates. Main objectives of the debates at the EU Youth Conference in Bucharest in May 2019 have been:
- promoting the efficient countering of racism, intolerance, xenophobia, populism, antisemitism and discouraging hate speech.
- promoting the countering of online misinformation and fake news through better media literacy and the development of European mechanisms to share good practices in countering misinformation.
- promoting and supporting the legislative initiatives focusing on social progress and reducing development gaps, equal opportunities between men and women, as well as ensuring access to education and training for disadvantaged categories.
- countering gender discrimination in the labour market and business environment as well as the pay gaps between men and women.
Moreover, in December 2019, the two largest youth NGOs in Romania: Romanian Youth Council and Romanian Youth Forum co-organised with the Minsitry of Youth and Sports a Forum for Youth Rights. The event generated a Declaration for youth rights, important for the development of the youth strategy after 2020.
Similar to the initiatives to raise intercultural awareness, the closest governmental initiative to the goal to prevent radicalisation leading to violent extremism is the active participation of the Ministry of Youth and Sports to promote the 'No Hate' message.