European Summer School 2021

Hybrid as the new normal

After a long time of digital trainings and courses, Understanding Europe is slowly turning back to the “new normal”. Combining both of best worlds, this years’ European Summer School was a hybrid meeting, with 14 Peer Educators and 6 Fellows participating on site, while 3 Peer Educators and 2 Fellows joined digitally.

The program included several trainings on Understanding Europe’s educational approaches and didactical methods. In addition, our 2021 Fellows introduced their new workshops on topics related to Digital Europe and Media and Democracy. We were also joined by external experts, who offered an Anti-Racism training and discussed the topic of “Critical Youth Citizenship” with the participants.

  • European Summer School 2021 in Duisburg © Stefanie Loos

1. Peer Educator Role & Educational approaches of Understanding Europe

What are important qualities of a Peer Educator? What do we actually mean when we say that we do Peer Education? How can we ensure that our educational formats are inclusive and diversity-sensitive? And what is actually this “controversy principle”? In this module, we discussed these and more questions, in order to build a common understanding of how we want to work with young people. The Peer Educators also took time to reflect on their own competences and define which ones they would like to develop throughout the year.

2. Anti-racism workshop

In an anti-racism training, delivered by the trainers Lawrence Oduro-Sarpong and Hien Vuong, the Peer Educators and Fellows learned about the different levels and characteristics of racism, as well as its colonial history and continuities. They reflected on their own privileges and societal position, as well as how structural racism shapes our institutions. At the end of the workshop, they were also given tips on how to be a true ally. In a next session, the Peer Educators discussed how to transfer their learnings of the workshop to their own work in the Understanding Europe network.

3. Introduction of new workshops

Our 2021 Fellows presented new workshop formats that they have developed during their Fellowship. In interactive sessions, they introduced the Peer Educators not only to the topics of their workshops, but also showed how they can be introduced into the classrooms. In the following months, the Peer Educators will share these new workshops with their teams of Peer Trainers during the Trainings for Trainers (T4T).

4. Designing a Training Schedule

What do we have to think of when designing a T4T programme? Which training elements should a training always entail? And what are the differences between a digital, hybrid or in-person training? During this module, the Peer Educators took time to design training schedules for different settings. After presenting their schedules to each other, ideas and best practices were shared.

5. Fostering “critical youth citizenship” in Understanding Europe?

In a conversation about Critical Youth Citizenship, Yael Ohana discussed with the Peer Educators and Fellows the creeping depoliticization of youth work in Europe and its consequences, as well as the possibilities for change. Central questions were: why should youth work be more rather than less political not less? What exactly does ‘political’ in this context even mean? And how can we foster critical youth citizenship in the context of our different Understanding Europe country projects? Yael has been involved in youth work since more than 20 years and has worked in all of our project countries.

You can find out more about her and her work at: