EWC’s Ingrid Aspelund participated in a panel debate arranged by Teskedsorden and Forum for Levande Historie. The event title was “How to prevent another Utøya?” and EWC was invited to talk about our new project “Learning democracy at Utøya” and how strengthening young people’s democratic competences is a part of preventing hate, intolerance and extremism. Among the participants were Daniel Nolander from Nationella samordnaren mot våldsbejakande extremism, Lisa Bjurwald, journalist and author, and Jessica Olsson, Head of the teachers union in Sødermanland District in Sweden.
In Europe today different anti-democratic views are increasingly gaining more support. This is perhaps especially visible online, with the spreading of hate speech against different groups in society. The panel debate was based on an understanding that international dialogue is necessary, especially between the Nordic countries which share many similarities. The Nordic countries should exchange good practice and learn from each other when it comes to education as prevention of extremism and promoting democratic citizenship.
The EWC representative stressed the importance of strengthening the confidence of the whole school to promote democracy and human rights. One way of doing that is by empowering both teachers and youth themselves to facilitate and participate in dialogues about democratic dilemmas and controversial issues. There is a need not only to prevent violent extremism, but to promote democracy and active citizenship.