The ALLMEET project


The project rationale

According to 2010 Census, although 80% of the population is Russian, representatives of more than 100 ethnic groups live in the Russian Federation. The “Concept of demographic policy of the RF for the period till 2025” (from 2007) foresees that the migration flow will cover more than 200 thousand people per year till 2015, and over 300 thousand annually between 2016-2025. This transformation of the ethno-demographic balance will in many regions impact on the conditions of cultural and socio-political stability, and enhance the dangers of increasing xenophobia among the Russian population.

Despite their pressing nature, these challenges are rarely addressed in public discourses and in the debate between social researchers and politicians; there is an identifiable lack of professional expertise to assess the state of inter-ethnic interaction in Russia, as well a lack of competence. Education can play a key role in this process as students and staff should be aware of this phenomenon and their expected role as problem-solvers in the multicultural society. The challenge is how to equip them with the right skills to deal with multi-ethnic diversity and to build an overarching construct of a shared citizenship in Russia. In this setting, enhancing staff and students’ inter-ethnic and intercultural competence and tolerance towards differences in society at large, and in educational settings in particular, can turn out to be a major aim of Higher Education Institutions’ (HEIs) role in society.


Project’s aims and objectives

The wider objective of the project was to support the modernization of Higher Education in Russia, enabling HEIs to play the role of key-actors in promoting actions of Lifelong Learning on topics not usually debated in Russian society such as migration, intercultural education and human rights in order to increase the degree of community acceptance of minority groups.

The specific aims of the project were:

- to build a common theoretical background on concepts regarding intercultural education;

- to map the existing knowledge, practices and policies regarding migration and conflict resolution at local, regional and national level;

- to enhance the capacity building and participation of Russian Higher Education Institutions in planning, establishing and reinforcing positive actions on issues related to migration and minority groups through the establishment and the implementation of six Intercultural Education Platforms and six Personalized Lifelong Learning Services (PL2S) centres.


Partners

The project consortium involved the following HEIs and non-academic partners:

European Union:

Bologna, Italy: ALMA MATER STUDIORUM Università di Bologna (Department of Education Studies)

Vught, The Netherlands: Foundation European Center for Validation of Prior Learning

Glasgow, Scotland, UK: University of Glasgow (College of Social Sciences)

Lisbon, Portugal: Universidade Nova de Lisboa (CESNOVA Centro de Estudos de Sociologia)

Russian Federation:

Moscow: Moscow City Pedagogical University

Kazan: Institute of Pedagogy and Psychology, Russian Academy of Education

Kazan:Charitable educational organization Golden Heart

Naberezhnye Chelny: Kazan (Volga region) Federal University (Branch of Naberezhnye Chelny)

Yoshkar-Ola: Mari State University (Institute of Pedagogical Sciences & Psychology)

Arkhangelsk: Northern (Arctic) Federal University (Institute of Pedagogy and Psychology


Timing of the project

Start date 1-12-2013

End 30-11-2016

Duration: 36 months


The project’s activity

The first step consisted in the knowledge acquisition on issues related to the ethnic and cultural relationships in the Russian society, which were documented through the production of regional States of the Art, Recommendation Papers and a common Intercultural Glossary. Thanks to this shared research process, the partners succeeded in combining their skills and expertise in order to start planning the establishment of an IEP in each Russian Higher Education Institutions partner. In this phase the EU partners supported the Russian partners in understanding the obstacles and closing the knowledge gaps both in management knowledge and in scientific and operational contents.

EU-partners shared their expertise in the training of so-called ‘do-it-yourself teams’ (DIY), which were integral teams able to design, test and implement the kind of PL2S that matches the local lifelong learning need of individuals and social groups. Through the IEPs and the PL2S centres, the Russian Higher Education Institutions were expected to act as innovative agencies on issue related to migration, social cohesion, intercultural education, human rights and individual empowerment.

The Russian HEIs have been cooperating with civil society, policy and decision makers, offering their competences to develop an increasing culture of dialogue and peace. The Platforms have shared knowledge though the organization of seminars, workshops, counselling services and training courses addressed to researchers, students, representatives of ethnic groups, associations, trainers, policy makers, administrators, practitioners and social workers.

According to the needs of the areas in which the Platforms are located, initial piloting courses for trainers were planned, including e-learning and blended learning modules. After a detailed evaluation of the piloting courses for trainers, all the partners and the trainers involved started to plan the activities of the Platforms, trying to find the best strategies and practices to develop and offer life-long learning programs on themes such as migration, intercultural education and human rights addressed to different target groups. A particular focus was set on the strengthen of the relationship between the academic context, the policy makers and the civil society.

In the ALLMEET project, the new technologies represented not only a communication tool among the teaching staff and researchers, but also an important resource to elaborate didactic strategies and materials for the courses provided by the IEPs. A web platform was create as a meeting point for the different Platforms, to provide an interactive place of dissemination (learning community) for all involved stakeholders and to create a broad communication platform for raising awareness amongst the target groups, policy-makers and professionals in HEIs.

Mobility exchange, training session and workshop have been organized by the EU partners to support Russian HEIs in designing and proposing strategic plans and future development of the Platforms and the PL2S centres sharing with them the best practices of their countries.

While reports, articles and papers have been mainly addressed to the scientific community and administrative institutions, the production of videos constituted the dissemination tool of knowledge and information to a wider public, generating public debate over the issues and themes of the project. As final act of the project, an international conference took place in Moscow.

Project’s results

A network of Intercultural Education Platforms and PL2S centres thatoffers empowering individualized learning experiences to non-conventional HEIs’ target group have been implemented. This supports the roleof the Russian Higher Education Systemas leading actor in directing and facilitating a process of intercultural dialogue in term of an open and respectful exchange of views between individuals and groups with different ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic backgrounds and heritage, on the basis of mutual understanding and tolerance.

During the project, an ongoing cooperation and feedback activity with educational authorities, civil society and policy makers have enabled the Platforms to readjust their focus on emerging issues. The platforms have networked on migration’s issues through a multilevel and multi(f)actor actions, such as:

·         collection and analysis of data and information at national, regional and local level;

·         seminars, workshops and e-learning courses, both for students and civil servants on practices and methods of conflict resolution;

·         vocational training courses for migrants and minority groups in order to enhance their employability;

·         pilot courses for trainers in order to enhance interdisciplinary approaches and foster a Lifelong Learning strategy on intercultural education. 

Deliverables