Network

Our youth organizations implement and run the project on the ground

Coordinators’ Meeting, November 2019. © Stefanie Loos

Understanding Europe’s Educational Network is currently active in 13 European countries, inside as well as outside of the EU’s borders: Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Turkey and Ukraine.

The youth organizations and local associations implement and run the project. They are led by Coordinators who manage teams of Trainers and liaise with teachers, schools and other partners, adapting the project to local needs, circumstances and topics. The pedagogical work is implemented by Peer Educators. They train local volunteers who want to become Trainers and thereby ensure that newly committed people become part of the project.

A European network with local roots

Understanding Europe sees itself as a European network with local roots and impact – the Coordinators, Peer Educators and Trainers work closely together within their countries but also across Europe, exchanging information on the challenges and best practices of their organizational and educational work. For instance, they cooperate within topic-specific Working Groups that they set up according to their current needs and organize transnational training events and courses. Three times a year, the Schwarzkopf Foundation organizes events (two Coordinators’ Meetings and the European Summer School) that bring together all youth initiatives and create space and opportunity for further dialogue and joint trainings.

In 12 countries, our local youth initiatives are linked to the organizational structure of the European Youth Parliament. In Germany, Understanding Europe is run by Understanding Europe Germany, an association founded in 2020 by former Trainers of the Schwarzkopf Foundation.

Networking & collaboration

Through networking and collaboration with other European education initiatives, policymakers and organizations such as Connecting Europe, PEGAP Consortium and NECE, the network stays close to current developments, discussions and events in the political sphere, and encourages innovation, collaboration and access to training opportunities beyond the network.

The Understanding Europe Network follows the approach of diversity-oriented organizational developmentwhich we consider to be an integral part of our educational approach. Promoting political participation for all and empowering young, marginalized voices does not only matter in our educational work, but also when building and expanding our network.