EPIC partner Symbiosis was honored by the European Parliament with the European Citizen’s Prize for 2020 for the activities of the School of Political Studies in Greece. This prize is an award for exceptional achievements in developing and strengthening democratic processes, strengthening civil society and promoting democratic initiatives.
“Based on the premise that there is no one right way to educate for democratic leadership, but understanding that democratising the educational process is important, the Symbiosis-School of Political Studies in Greece aims to foster democratic governance and participation in public debate by promoting democratic political culture, civic participation, free media, and by giving a voice to those marginalized or unheard. It seeks to further research and the implementation of knowledge.” Despina SYRRI, Director of Symbiosis-School of Political Studies.
In 2014, Symbiosis in collaboration with the Council of Europe, established the School of Political Studies in Greece, affiliated to the Network of Council of Europe Schools of Political Studies. This Network is an initiative of the Council of Europe since the early 1990s which aims to develop and strengthen democratic processes, strengthen civil society and promote democratic initiatives. Today, the 21 Schools that make it up focus on the challenges that arise for democracy and its institutions.
The educational programme of the School in Greece consists of an annual cycle of seminars, participation in the Council of Europe World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg, as well as education, co-operation and dialogue among civil society, policy makers, experts and the media. It focuses on human rights, anti-discrimination, social inclusion, democratic citizenship, freedom of expression, democratic governance, equality and gender-based violence, migration and the protection of the environment.
Symβiosis has already built a strong cooperation with Schools in Turkey and the Balkans, while there is growing collaboration with Eastern Europe, the Caucuses and the Southern Mediterranean.
Recent seminar themes have included:
- discrimination and social cohesion in Greece;
- the rise of xenophobic parties and elections in Europe;
- challenges of democratic participation and representation in Greece;
- reception and integration of refugees;
- safeguarding fundamental rights in the midst of increasing migratory flows;
- media freedom and human rights.
Read the Congratulations Letter by Snežana Samardžić-Marković, Director General of DG Democracy, Council of Europe
Press release from the European Parliament Office in Greece