School Group Projects

Economic historians tell us that, in the beginning, people used the tools and consume the products they could produce. In due time, society evolved, and trade became the primary source of acquiring products for the daily life: the shepherd would exchange his wool for the farmer’s oil, so that they could both eat and keep warm. Up until the 19th century, this was the golden rule of the market and most companies would try to manufacture what it took to provide products or services to customers in-house. However, the 20th century brought massive changes that altered our ancestors’ perspective on outsourcing.
Outsourcing is what happens when a company buys their means of production from other companies. The consequence is economic and productive interdependence. Today more than ever, companies rely on a network system to provide goods and services to their customers. It is often stated that social media connects everybody everywhere; more and more, however, economic necessity brings us closer than anything else. However, what is the link with education?

Truth is, economic interdependence seems to have reflected upon it: more and more we need our colleagues’ help in performing tasks we do not excel at in order to ensure that our deliverable is the best possible. Team work is no longer a desirable quality on an employee: it’s a necessity. And the best known way to improve youngsters’ behaviour as a team is through group projects. The aim of this essay is not to argue whether group projects are beneficial for students, but trying to understand how these groups should be constructed in order to excel their performance.

In any school, the act of learning can be structured under three different goals: in a competitive learning structure, students compete against each other, their goal being to stand out when compared to everyone else; opposing to some extent, in an individual learning structure, students set out goals for themselves unrelated to those of their peers; contrasting both these structures, we find a cooperative one, where students work together to achieve common goals. Group projects fit into this last category. However the simple act of joining two (or more) students will not result in automatic successful group work (Johnson, Johnson & Smith, 2014). There are conditions that need to be filled in order to accomplish true cooperation. According to the authors, these conditions are positive interdependence, individual accountability, promotive interaction, social skills, and group processing (Pennsylvania State University).

Positive interdependence means that all members share a sense of personal responsibility for the success of the group and realize that their individual success depends on the group’s success. Johnson, Johnson, and Smith (2014) argue that this type of cooperative learning tends to result in learners promoting each other’s success. One way to accomplish positive interdependence is to divide the work into small parts and assign each of them to a student so that every member of the group takes part in the final work. This is called the Jigsaw Method.
As to individual accountability, we can look at this requisite as a follow-up of the first. It means that each member of the group is assessed individually based on his share of the finished work. The goal of this feature is to impart responsibility in students by making them accountable for their actions. Once it is shouldered by all members of the group, individual accountability guaranties that every student commits to the team and the group does indeed become the sum of all its parts (Anderson, 2007).

In theory, this would ensure that everybody does their fair share of work. Instead, what we see happening in classes everyday are substantial gaps in group projects’ motivation caused by this division in tasks. More committed students present elaborated pieces of work while less motivated students show poor output. As a consequence, dedicated students feel less motivated to engage freely and open-mindedly in group projects, while less driven students feel even less motivated in face of their peer’s hostility. How to fix this raging problem?
According to an article by Yee (2013), a second-grade teacher explains that when she first started teaching, her classroom was a handful: her faster learning students would finish their assigned work very quickly, get bored of waiting for the other kids, and misbehave, while students who took longer to understand the subjects would feel frustrated for taking longer than the others, and act out. Trying to solve this problem, Mrs. Sears, the teacher, divided her class into smaller groups, according to each ones’ abilities. She would teach the same material using different approaches which, in her words, drastically decreased classroom problems.

Dividing a classroom in smaller groups according to individual abilities is one of the most controversial subjects that modern education has yet faced. During the ’80s and the ‘90s, a number of books, essays and studies were published ensuring that this division did more harm than good. This idea was based on the assumption that teachers would focus more on higher achieving students than on those thought of as less able, not providing them with positive enough learning environments (Oakes, 1985).
Nowadays, however, more and more published studies show that the opposite is also true. When divided in groups, less struggling students push each other into going further while not making their struggling peers feel inadequate. There are growing theories supporting this division, and most of them defend themselves against discrimination accusations by agreeing that these groups should be fluid and altered if need be.

And yet, mentality is, as history has taught us, the most difficult characteristic for a society to change. This means that, instead of dividing classes, most education theorists still stand for promotive interaction among the member of the group using their developing social skills and group processing, rather than their physical separation.
Promotive interaction is what happens when students share with the members of their group their knowledge, essentially through dialogue. According to Wong (2001), promotive interaction presents a number of opportunities for students to confront ideas, develop listening and understanding capacities and, most importantly, learn to accept criticism.
The fourth condition to successful cooperative learning are social skills, intimately connected to promotive interaction. Through debates, discussions and presentations, students will see their interpersonal relationships improve. According to Wong (2001), after being exposed to successful group projects, students registered positive growth in tolerance, ability to listen, respect for others, as well as in terms of decision-making. Communication and presentation skills have also been known to improve with resource to group projects.
Every once in a while, students should also objectively analyse their strengths and weaknesses inside the group and as a whole – group processing (Pennsylvania State University). This means that at some point in every group project some time must be taken to reflect upon what has been done, what has worked, what didn’t work and what can be improved. Through individual and collective feedback, students will then reflect upon their share of the work and set new goals, improved ones from which they will further develop their skills and abilities.
Once again, though, it all comes down to the co
mposition of the group. Conditions like promotive interaction, social skills and group processing weigh more personality-wise than positive interdependence or individual accountability. Children who are shy are less likely to actively engage in a peer discussion, even if they don’t agree with what is being said.

There are, of course, contradictory theories about extrovert versus introvert directed classes. In her book, Cain (2012) states that, as opposing to what happened in pre-20th century school, classes nowadays are structured as to prepare children for the competitive work world, forcing them into oral presentations and debates. While this may not be a problem to more extrovert children, she believes that this leads introverts to regard their personality as an obstacle to overcome, making them self-conscious and, therefore, even less open to class participation. The author then presents a solution to this problem based on the numerical composition of the group. Essentially, she suggests that instead of large groups, students should be paired. If there are just two people in a group, they will be forced to socialize, share ideas and communicate in such a way that they don’t feel pressured by their peers or their teachers (Cain, 2014).

Classrooms are not only a place where children learn but also their first sociologic secondary group. Nonetheless, it is primarily the place where children learn. According to the data gathered on the topics of positive interdependence and individual accountability, students should be grouped according to their abilities and achievements since, more often than not, disparities in abilities inside one same group can result in personal conflicts and demotivation of all involved.
As to the group’s composition, it results from the information that there is a link between the size of the group and the personalities of its members: if the groups are small in size (only two people, for example) then there should be a mix between extroverts and introverts, since they will both push each other into learning how to deal with different types of people; however, if the groups are bigger it would be best to separate extroverts and introverts, since, in big groups, introverts tend to shy away, and extroverts tend to forget about them.
Only through careful group organisation, commitment and effort from both teachers and students, will the latter enjoy taking part in school group projects and learn to appreciate team work, such a necessity in today’s highly technological and specialized world.

About the author

Leonor Frade
Leonor Frade (18) participated in the “My Europe” Workshop in Lisbon in 2014. She has since then been a member of the working group on Gender Equality and now writes for the Education group. She is a Law student and enjoys discussions about politics, education, employment, science and philosophy. She presents the result of those discussions in short essays and hopes you will enjoy them.

1. Anderson, D. (2007). Up your business!: 7 steps to fix, build, or stretch your organization. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.;
2. Cain, S. (2012). Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking. Crown Publishing Group;
3. Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T., & Smith, K. A. (2013). Cooperative learning: Improving university instruction by basing practice on validated theory. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, 25(3-4), 85-118;
4. Oakes, J. (1985). Keeping track: How schools structure inequality. New Haven: Yale University Press;
5. Pennsylvania State University. Five basic elements of cooperative learning. Retrieved from;
6. Teachnology. Does grouping students by ability work?. Retrieved from;
7. Wong, T. T. S. (2001). Group work in science learning – International scenarios and implications for teaching and learning in Hong Kong. Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching, 2(2);
8. Yee, V. (2013, June 9). Grouping students by ability regains favour in classroom. The New York Times. Retrieved from

Religious Education

Religious education : something to be taught in the private family circles or something that belongs in the public classroom ? For some countries like France school and religion shouldn’t have anything to do together whereas in some states in Germany religion is handled as a mandatory subject at school.

Who is right ?

I spent my whole school time in a french school in Munich Germany. I so have been raised in a setting where religion and school were strictly separated. Religion is treated as a private thing which has no place in the public domain of school education. And I understand it. Religion is our outmost privacy: wether you are a christian, jew, muslim or atheist, it is what personally relates you to god and your beliefs. Also the separation of religion and State gives us the assurance that education doesn’t favor or discrminate any kind of religion

But we also have to take into consideration that religion is also a big part of culture. The Notre Dame in Paris, the Blue Mosque in Istanbul or the Dohány Street Synagogue in Budapest are all buildings that are culturally and religiously relevant. They are the result of centuries of beliefs that integrated themselves in our everyday culture and make for some of the most beautiful landmarks we have in Europe. It therefore seems all the more shocking that once I graduated from highschool I knew close to nothing about our constantly surrounding religions.

So is teaching religion in schools the right way to go?

We can take the example of Germany where religion classes are mandatory in most States. They teach the beliefs and traditions of one specific religion, most often christianism. However there are also classes teaching about Islam or Judaism so that people who do not affiliate to christianity still can pursue a religious upbringing. If the kid does not express himself as belonging to any religion or to none of the religion taught, the parents can also disengage their kid of religion classes by having an official meeting with the school’s headmaster. Every school is then responsible to offer a separate non-religious class in exchange.

This kind of religious education seems however to be a quite tunnel-visioned view as the classes stay limited to one religion and are designed in a religious setting rather than a purely educational one.

Which solution seems to be the right one then ?

I think neither of them. In a as religiously diverse social setting as we are in now in Europe, we have to acknowledge the importance of knowledge about these different religions. Therefore, I believe that there is a need for an impartial class on religion, so that the fundamentals of religion are acquainted by the time a student reaches his majority. Something like the Ethic classes in Germany. The goal is not to brainwash students into another religion or ensure a religious upbringing in any kind, it should rather be designed as a classic school teaching explaining the different religions by exposing the facts; much like a history class. It might be a step forward to build up tolerance towards different cohabiting religions and deconstruct false stereotypes about them. It might even be a step towards a more harmonial Europe.

About the author
Clara (20) took part in our “My Europe”workshop in Munich in 2013. She is one of the winners of the international writing contest from the workshop and has been actively representing the voice of young Europeans through the “Youth Council for the Future” (YCF). She is the Project Coordinator of the Working Group on Religion. Clara is currently studying at SciencesPo Paris Campus Nancy She likes to write and play basketball.

In Search of Globalization

Globalization defines our era perhaps more than anything else, transcending markets to become embedded in our nature, part of our social DNA. Decades of discussing, analysing and defining have not brought us any closer to a consensus on what “Globalization” truly means. Steger (2009) defines it as ‘not a single process, but a set of processes that operate simultaneously and unevenly on several levels and in various dimensions’. Kenichi Ohmae’s The End of the Nation State or Thomas Friedman’s The Lexus and the Olive Tree present the phenomenon as a by-product of the techno-economic development of the world, which has spread Western values across the world.

For decades, globalization was seen as ‘a powerful economic and technological bulldozer that effortlessly shovels up states and societies’ (Amoore, 2002). Recent years have seen some attempts in presenting socio-political resistance to Globalization, with media and academia alike talking about the unruly power of Transnational Corporations (TNCs), the protests against globalisation, the rummaging of third-world country and the economical ‘new slavery’.

One of the defining issues of globalization is deterritorialization, the way global connectivity surpasses borders, meaning that trade economic activities are no longer dependant on their geographic limits. People, goods and services are instantly available from all over the world, with countless examples of thriving international businesses on mega-resellers like Amazon or Alibaba. Some argue against free-markets with their quick access to products and materials, as it also brings huge socio-economic problems (e.g.: sweatshops for fast clothes), the export of pollution or global oligopolies. Deterritorialization is built on political systems, as trade and free movement agreements connect the world. In a changed perception of borders, EU nationals have free access to travel, work and live anywhere within it. The right to free movement is well established in the 1985 Schengen Agreement, which has abolished custom checks between the (currently) 22 EU members and Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. There is, however, opposition to it, as it permits the access of ‘cheap’ labour from Eastern Europe to the Western markets.

The interconnectivity of people, goods and services has led to enormous capital gain and growth, but it also led to the globalization of threats. The diminishing line between local and global and the transition of social relationships to a virtual or transnational state has brought forth a set of ‘trans-sovereign problems’ that include not just traditional global crime rings, but also cyber war, pollution, migration or epidemics (Karnprobst, Pouliot, Shah & Zaiotti). That does not take into account how interconnected economies are susceptible to great changes (Great Depression, Asian Crisis of 1997 or the Global Financial Crisis).

The exponential technological development connecting the world at much faster paces allows for a space-time compression, a phenomenon described by David Harvey and based on Karl Marx’s theory of the ‘annihilation of time and space’. Harvey found that ever since the early 70’s, there has been ‘an intense phase of space-time compression that has had a disorienting and disruptive impact upon political-economic practices, the balance of class power, as well as upon cultural and social life’. The technological ultra-speed plays a pivotal role in our perception of the acceleration time and space, which ‘mediates between postmodern culture and a post-Fordist regime of flexible accumulation in capitalism.’ (Lizardo & Strand, 2009)

This is not something new, however, with some arguing that globalization has been on-going for millennia, just getting exponentially accelerated. From the global dispersion of the population and the invention of writing and the wheel, traces of globalization can be observed. The Age of Empires rose out of the movement of people and goods. Modern-day China is recapturing the commercial prowess of the Silk Road. The British East India Companies or the Atlantic Slave Trade were nothing less than the interconnectivity of the world and the reimagining of the borders, not just physical ones but cultural ones, through defining what ‘civilisation’ is and placing ‘Others’ outside of it.

Globalization does not just shape what happens, but also how it is remembered. We remember the ‘Discovery of America’ by the bold and courageous men following Christopher Columbus, for ‘King and country’. The systematic destruction, slavery and genocide of the indigenous population have been all but forgotten. It remains the same today with the US export of ‘democracy’. One man’s Freedom is another man’s overturn of an elected government that refuses to abide US economic Imperialism (e.g.: Iran ’53, Guatemala ’54, Congo ’60).

Europe’s own instability can be traced back to the 1870 unification of Germany, which disrupted the balance of power. With the second largest population, Germany intensified its iron, coal and steel production. Between 1870-1914, Germany’s agriculture output doubled, and its industrial production quadrupled, thus looking for new colonies and markets to expand its trading power. Meanwhile, numerous monarchies were declining, leaving way for new constitutional and territorial arrangements. Nationalist movements were arising, claiming independence for states under the decaying empires. This state of tension led to the outbreak of World War One, a never-before seen conflict, a ‘Total War’ that engulfed countless nations and their entire populations.

With the victors (Britain and France) in a state of ruin, the United States emerged as the superior economic force. By 1929, US had 42% of the global industrial output, compared with Britain, France and Germany’s 28% (Hobsbawm 1994:97). The US replaced Britain as the world creditor, which is why the Wall Street stock market crash of 1929 shook the entire world in what would become the Great Depression. It showed that states were not independent and isolated bodies, but part of a global interconnected network. Soon after, the ‘Never Again’ sentiment of the First World War was forgotten and war broke again, in the deadliest conflagration in the history of mankind.

Recovering from WWII took an even greater effort, a complete redesign of the world, geographically, socially and economically. The latter was the task of the Bretton Woods conference, whose main goals were the establishment of a stable system of exchange rates and the financing of the post-war European economies. Led by UK and US, the biggest Western economic powers began reversing their Interwar protectionist ideologies. The IMF (International Monetary Fund) was created to enforce the newly tied to the dollar fixed exchange rates. The signing countries were to maintain the fluctuations of their currency to the dollar inside an established interval. The US would in return guarantee to exchange dollars for gold. At the same time, The World Bank was created to offer long-term loans to facilitate capital investment for production, post-war reconstruction and reconverting the economy for peacetime needs.

The direction set by the IMF and World Bank was ever-present: privatising, reducing or annulling economic regulations, supporting competition, government reduction and a stern financial following of the goals imposed by those adhering to the Washington-set neo-liberal agenda. While not solely American, the set of rules known as the ‘Washington Consensus’ was forcefully applied in post-communist Russia, leading to almost catastrophic results for the population, while allowing enormous gain for the wealthy, both domestic – oligarch – and foreign – Wall Street investors. Deterritorialization allowed a hugely international flow of capital into Russia, but it also allowed a drain of it resources.

The Russian ‘shock doctrine’ (Klein, 2007) was the forceful reforms meant to impose a very strong and sudden form of capitalism post-USSR Russia, whose process of democratization had started under President Gorbachev. TIME’s Person of the Year, he defied the Brezhnev doctrine and implemented policies of ‘glasnost’ (openness) and ‘perestroika’ (restructuring). Under his rule, Russia saw free local, parliamentary and presidential elections, freedom of press and an independent constitutional court. Economically, he favoured a Scandinavian model of social democracy with a regulated free market. However, the West – G7, US and IMF – had other plans: a sudden and short opening of the markets. After a failed coup in which Yeltsin emerged as the courageous leader of democracy, Gorbachev began to be seen to moderate. Soon after, Yeltsin was elected and with the backing of the Clinton White House and the financial support of the IMF, Russia was supposed to emerge as a stable capitalist democracy, in a painful process.

The economic reforms were based on the neoliberal ideals, ensuring the creation of a free market and the sudden privatization of the more than 200,000 state companies, which were up for grabs at submarket prices, with Western investors and the former Soviet elite rummaging through Russia’s failing economy. To make matters worse, he companies were being bought with public money. In an article for Moscow Times, Bivens and Bernstein explained that ‘a few hand-picked men took over Russia’s state-developed oil fields for free, as part of a giant shell game in which hone arm of government paid another arm.’ State funds that were supposed to go into the treasury ended up in private banks, which then used the funds to invest in the privatizing of Russia.

This meant the almost total collapse of the country, with a reduction of their living standard of 80% of the population and a 40% decrease in industrial production. Tens of millions of people faced extreme poverty. When people resorted to selling their possessions, the West saw this as the encouraging sign of a young and blooming entrepreneurship spirit. At the other end of the deal, Russia was the capitalist heaven, with obscene amounts of money being made in short-term speculations. It was that speculation that made Russia vulnerable to the Asian financial crisis of ’98, which ‘crashed definitively its already precarious economy’ (Klein, 2007).

Post-USSR Russia is the best example of the perils of a truly interconnected world, where decisions are made for a country. The general population has little understanding to what a millisecond could mean for the Wall Street crowd or how that ends up affecting them, until it does. It is important to remember that no political theory can be applied perfectly. No matter how contested, globalization is happening, taking our differences, borders and time in its whirlwind. Whether on a micro or macro level, it affects everyone, more and more, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worst. There is no going back to a world without globalization. Some would argue that that world never existed. The first step to make it better is to understand it, to study it and to find the best way for our society to accommodate it and for it to accommodate our societies.




About the author:

Simona (23) participated in the “My Europe” workshop in Bucharest, Romania, in 2011. In the Youth Council for the Future, Simona is Project Coordinator of the Working Group Education. She is studying at the University of Bucharest.




  1. Steger, Manfred B., Globalization: a very short introduction, Oxford University Press, 2003, 2nd edition, 2009.
  2. Ohmae, Kenichi, The End of the Nation State
  3. Friedman,Thomas, The Lexus and the Olive Tree
  4. Amoore, Louise, Globalization Contested: An international political economy of work, Manchester University Press,  2002,
  5. Kornprobst, M., Pouliot, V., Shah, N., Zaiotti, R., Metaphors of Globalization Mirrors, Magicians and Mutinies, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008
  6. Lizardo, O.,  Strand, M.,  Postmodernism and Globalization., ProtoSociology 26: 38-72, 2009
  7. Hobsbawm, E., The Age of Extremes, Penguin Books, 1994
  8. Klein, N., The Shock Doctrine, Random House of Canada, 2007

History and Globalization: An Academic Pursue

History and Globalization: An Academic Pursue

In a world ravaged by new technology, one must wonder what will become of the discipline of History in our education systems: will millennials praise the growth of mankind, or will we keep on teaching our children that the wonders of their own Nations overcome those of the world?
From ever since children start school, from such a young age as five or six, they are taught the History of their own country, from the first gregarious communities to occupy the territory up until modern History. Yet, the core points of every History programme remain the same: “how did we affect the world?”, “How did we, as a society, evolved?”, “What happened to us?”
As much as one argues that national identity is something primary to every men or woman, globalization is a phenomena not to be ignored, and the Global Village, anchored on the Internet, is the new Nation that gathers all with access to the World Wide Web. However, world education leaders seem to purposely overlook the facts, and insist on leaving it in the hands of the younger to discover that there is a world out there, with History as rich as their own.
For a better understanding of this issue, let us point out two education systems that differ when it comes to relating national History and World History, and offer a possibility to “cover” the plot of World History in students’ curricula.
On the one hand, in England, a new subject programme was implemented in 2014, named “National Curriculum”, specifying what British students must study and what they should be learning at different ages. Even though the History programme refers the need to “gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world”1, students must focus their attention on British History: local history, the Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings in Britain, Britain and the wider world in Tudor times, Victorian Britain and Britain since 1930.
In Portugal, on the other hand, secondary school is divided in five areas of interest, each with specific compulsory subjects. The History programme2 relies on modules that will first provide the student with political, economic, and social context for every Age, and then introduce the country’s situation given said context. This programme’s main pretence is for the student to “develop a sense of self-criticism, the ability to accept different opinions and to recognise the existence of various working modules of society.”3 Yet, the issue remains: although Portuguese students have a clear image of what Europe as a whole has lived since the invention of Democracy, the rest of the world is a mystery until the 16th century. And even then, History programmes pursue a European-centred perspective.
These self-centred perspectives result, as Europe well knows, in a strong sense of nationalism, in an honest belief that our home country is the best of the entire world, this feeling often being expressed as arrogance and suspicion towards foreigners. It was this feeling of superiority that led to the advent of two world wars that left nothing behind but grieve and destruction.
The question now is how to prevent such feelings from forming? Investigators Robert Bain and Tamara Shreiner from Michigan University claim the answer to these concerns relies
on the creation of a new subject, a World History subject. In the USA, this is a high school subject, growing more and more popular every year. However, the teaching in these classes still goes much on a “Hollywood-based” view of History, opposing to the purest form of historicism Education Ministers should provide.
According to the authors, in order to make sure that World History is about the whole world, and not just the Western part, it is necessary to divide the subject in 4 independent structural patterns that, together, provide students with the most information about World History. They are: “World Civilization Plus”, which offers an expanded version of a familiar narrative that focuses on the development of civilization in the West, specifically Europe; “Social Studies World History”, which offers a multidisciplinary approach to broad themes such as “Time, Continuity, and Change,” but which still does not challenge the “Europe as the Center of the World Model”; “Geographic/Regional World History”, which considers change over time in differing regions and sometimes braids these strands together in separate courses on Africa, East Asia, South Asia, or Latin America in addition to a broadly based world history course; and “Global World History”, which the authors describe as a synthesis of “trans-regional and civilizational studies” that requires students to “look at and across regions of the world.”4
It is fair to wonder whether teaching such a subject is enough to erase the distrustful feelings that mandated international interpersonal relationships over the past few millennia. Ever since Ancient Greece, Xenophon argued that closed societies were better than open societies. Discussion on this topic has not evolved much since 500 B.C. However, it is also fair to argue that World History would help young students to understand other cultural options and thus, to more easily accept different views of the world.

Xenophon: Ancient Greek philosopher, argued that closed societies were better than open societies

This is not an easy discussion. There are numerous arguments in favour and against a subject such as World History. Apart from those already presented, one might ask how to ensure impartiality from those talking of History, given that there are always two sides to the same story. Even if we argue that World History should always be presented through both perspectives, the winning and the loosing, we are still left with the natural inability of Men to not take sides. These are questions we are far from answering with all due certainty.
The examples to prove this phenomena are more than well-documented. If a British student were to travel across the Ocean and discuss British History with fellow North-American students, he would be confronted with a certain difficulty, since what Americans call the “Independence War” is known to the British as the “Colonial Insurgence”. Moving Easter, the Second World War was known as the “Great Patriotic War” in soviet countries for many years.
However important National History might be in building a person’s character, providing them with knowledge that derives directly from their ancestor’s way of life it is fair to wonder how can anyone be expected to discuss, open-minded, freely, about subjects such as History, if they were never given the chance to study, in school, under an advisor and among their peers, the existence of other perspectives, different from their own?
The answer is, they cannot. That is why we advocate a European History subject, directed mostly to high schoolers. Hopefully, the understanding of Europe’s historical evolution as a highly interactive block, with more in common than in difference, will reinforce the bond that unites all of Europe under the same flag of peace and development for all. Consequently, it would diminish the nationalistic and xenophobic feelings that are spreading throughout Europe, today, as it would bring closer the various nations that form the Old World, as a single world, made of different opinions, based on discussion and the well-being of its population.


About the author 


Leonor Frade

Leonor Frade (18) participated in the “My Europe” Workshop in Lisbon in 2014. She has since then been a member of the working group on Gender Equality and now writes for the Education group. She is a Law student and enjoys discussions about politics, education, employment, science and philosophy. She presents the result of those discussions in short essays and hopes you will enjoy them. 



1 –, on december 5th 2017
2 – novo/Curso_Linguas_e_Humanidades/historia_a_10_11_12.pdf, on december 5th 2017
3 – novo/Curso_Linguas_e_Humanidades/historia_a_10_11_12.pdf, on december 5th 2017
4 – Robert B. Bain and Tamara L. Shreiner, “Issues and Options in Creating a National Assessment in World History,” History Teacher 38:2 (February 2005), 241–72

Persecuted Beyond Borders

Image result for lgbt italy

After such a great reception of the article we shared entitled ‘Persecuted beyond borders: why Italy needs LGBT refugee shelters’, the YCF decided to interview the author of this piece.

Claudia Torrisi is an Italian journalist who has a passion for social issues, migrations and human rights. She has a master’s degree in Law and has previously worked with some non-profit organisations and projects such as Chayn Italia.

Torrisi has an extremely open background, working in various positions such as a journalist, volunteer, web editor and even worked on the mayoral campaign in Rome during 2016. She is very versatile in her work and as published pieces with openDemocracy, VICE Media and more.

Her piece focuses on the need for centres for LGBT refugees in Italy and documents how some refugees feel unsafe in the current setup. She tells of how they feel attacked and scared, often sensing that they are isolated when they arrive. Many fear telling their stories and sharing their experiences with those they meet in the crisis centres. Their lives are put on hold as they fear criminalisation for their sexual status.

Join us on 15th November 2017 as we interview Claudia Torrisi live on our social media channels.

Europe’s youth must stand up against populists

Now it has also reached Germany. The fact that a right-wing populist party, the AfD in Germany moves into the Bundestag with official provisional results of 12, 6% is another warning for Europe. Everywhere in Europe, tendencies to close the borders, return to the nation state and abolish a common currency can be seen. The leaders in Europe have been warned sufficiently to take populists seriously and to do everything to ensure that Europe remains a one-of-a-kind entity. Europe’s youth in particular is called upon to take a stand against all positions of populists and clearly choose a free Europe without borders. We do not want to lose all the advantages that Europe has given us in the last 50 years and return to nation-states. We want to continue to be able to travel freely within the EU, pay in a common currency and be able to communicate with all people. Our goal is to maintain a free Europe and to give all people equal opportunities. That is why we launched the initiative European Youth Marathon with the slogan ‘I’m a part of Europe’. Join us and fight for the unity of a free Europe.


About the Author:

Prof. Dr. Manfred Pohl is CEO and founder of My Europe 2100 e.V.. Additionally, he is founder of the future think tank Frankfurter Zukunftsrat, founder and Deputy Chairman of the European Association for Banking and Financial History (EABH) as well as of the Institute for Corporate Cultural Affairs. In 2011 he was awarded with the Verdienstkreuz 1. Klasse of the Federal Republic Germany for his charitable commitment in the European banking and financial sector. Read more…