October 2022

Toolbox, DEI and Governance

Between 27-30 October 2022, the coordinators of the Understanding Europe project met for the first time in Italy. Since 2020, there has been a desire in the network that one of the two annual Coordinators’ Meetings could take place in one of the network’s project countries and could be organised by the team on site. For a first edition of this idea, all coordinators’ travelled to Trieste at the end of October, where they were supported by Daniela Cappuccio, a long-time trainer, peer educator and coordinator and her team. The project team of the Schwarzkopf Foundation closely supervised the organisation and programme design in the run-up to the event.

On Thursday, October 27, 2022, all participants arrived in Trieste, and immediately after a welcome and introduction, they had the great experience of being able to experience team building in a castle. We drove with the group to Miramare Castle, where we took a guided tour of the castle and then used the gardens of the castle for team building.

On Friday, October 28, 2022, the day started with a panel discussion with local funding partners from Understanding Europe Italy, the Central European Initiative Trieste and Europe Direct Trieste.

The local partners were very interested in the educational work of the network and encouraged the coordinators to contact local offices of their institutions in other countries as well. The rest of the day was dedicated to informing and exchanging information about various activities in the network that had happened in 2020. On Saturday, 29 October, the first Understanding Europe Governance Day took place. The desire for a regular format to talk about strategy, fundraising and the future of the network, and thus also to enable coordinators to have a say in strategic network decisions, was expressed particularly clearly at the Coordinators’ Meeting in May 2022 in Berlin. Project leader Thimo Nieselt spent a day preparing insights into the network strategy and led workshops in which the coordinators were able to develop, discuss and present their priorities for the future of the network. This important day was rounded off by a dance lesson for the group and a small celebration, because the Coordinators’ Meeting in Trieste was the 20th Coordinators’ Meeting of the network. This was celebrated with a cake, and together photos of all the Coordinators’ Meetings that have taken place so far were looked at and developments discussed.

The last day of the meeting, Sunday 30 October, provided an opportunity for the Foundation’s team to present an outlook on planned activities in 2023 and to prepare the coordinators for upcoming calls, dates and events. After additional space for exchange in an open space, we ended the Coordinators’ Meeting in Trieste with a view over the Bay of Trieste and a lot of inspiration and appreciation.