Beginning from 2019 Latvian Christian academy joins the Strategic partnership project between Klaipeda University (LT), Malmo University (SE), Warsaw University and Byelostok University (PL), and Latvian Christian academy (LV) “Social professions for supporting youth empowerment in European solidarity context” (proj. nr. 2019-1-PL01-KA203-065091)”.
Website of the project is linked here.
Youth is a special category of European Union citizens, accounting for around 14 percent of the population. Eurostat data shows that almost every third young person is at risk of poverty and exclusion, which indicates the need for diagnostic and methodological actions in the field of opportunities for and threats to the development of the young generation. With a view to new challenges (intensification of globalization, technological development, variability of social structures caused by the effects of migration), it should be stated that there is a parallel, contemporaneous need to redefine the factors threatening and supporting the development of today’s youth. In-depth reflection on broadly understood educational and social initiatives undertaken in this area is also recommended. The issues above constitute the content of study programs in the field of social professions (pedagogy, sociology, social work).
Considering the above assumptions, the project’s goal was defined as the improvement of the didactic offer in the field of youth work at the universities involved in the project by implementing the assumptions of the concept of Positive Youth Development, and especially by strengthening positive resources supporting the development and education of young people. In particular, the project draws attention to building identity based on the principle of communitarianism, volunteering, involvement in the life of local communities or pro-social activity (with special emphasis on the issue of multiculturalism in contemporary societies).
In the initial stage of the project, research on the status of young people in partner countries will be carried out, permitting the diagnosis of problems and identifying available resources. This will be the basis for developing an integrated education program for youth workers (at the undergraduate level). The program of classes will be implemented at partner universities in groups of 10 students led by 2 teachers in a cycle of one semester. The textbook and anthology of texts prepared as a part of the project will be a teaching aid. The first of them will present current factors supporting and disrupting the development of young people, strategies to deal with contemporary threats in line with the idea of globalism (think globally act locally). The second study will be theoretical commentary on youth from a socio-cultural, socio-ecological and socio-political perspective. The crowning achievement of the project will be a summer school and a conference that will allow the exchange of educational experiences of students and academic teachers and promotion of the effects of joint work.
- First meeting of partners was held in Malmo University (SE), November 28-29, 2019.
As the basis for discussions and further development of intellectual outputs the published Discourse of cross-border situation regarding youth situation in partnering countries was used. It was worked out by prof. Skaidrīte Gūtmaneas as a coordinating researcher (Latvian Christian Academy). Study available: http://young.uwb.edu.pl/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Output-1-Discourse-of-Cross-Border-Situation-Comparative-Analysis.pdf
- Second meeting of partners was held in Latvian Christian Academy (LV), September 1-3, 2020 (partially ZOOM online).
The second meeting was dedicated to working out interdisciplinary Course Module for students who study social professions, such as social workers, social pedagogues, sociologists, social entrepreneurs and youth workers. Responsible for working out the Course Module now is Klaipeda University.
In the picture (from the left): Valters Dolacis (Latvian Christian Academy), Alona Ruckienė-Michaelsson and Elvyra Acienė (Klaipeda University), Skaidrīte Gūtmane (Latvian Christian academy), Peje Michaelsson (Klaipeda University). The large screen pictures other participants of the ZOOM online meeting (missing you in person!): Krzysztof Sawicki, Emilia Żyłkiewicz-Płońska, Marta Kuczyńska (University of Bialystok), Irena Dychawy-Rosner (University of Malmö), Danuta Lalak, Elżbieta Bielecka (University of Warsaw).
- Third meeting will take place in Klaipeda (LT), March 2021.
The next step would be testing the Course Module in partner universities and working out Youth work reader and Study handbook for the needs of module. Final will be organizing Summer School for students from the five participating universities.