2018 EESC Civil Society Prize
The prize, which has a total value of 50 000 € and will be awarded on 13 December 2018, is open to civil society organisations officially registered within the European Union and acting at European, national, regional or local level. It is furthermore open to individuals.
The deadline for submitting applications is 7 September 2018.
Aim and overall objective of the Civil Society Prize For the European Economic and Social Committee (the "EESC" or the "Committee"), the aim of the prize, which is awarded annually, is to reward and encourage initiatives of civil society organisations and/or individuals that have made a significant contribution to promoting European identity and integration. The overall objective of the prize is thus to raise awareness of the contribution that civil society organisations and/or individuals can make to creating a European identity and citizenship in a way that underpins the common values that are the foundation of European integration.
Theme of the 2018 EESC Civil Society Prize:
Identities, European Values and Cultural Heritage in Europe In the framework of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, celebrating the wealth and diversity of cultural heritage in Europe, the EESC is launching this year's Civil Society Prize on the theme Identities, European Values and Cultural Heritage in Europe. In the spirit of the European Commission's contribution to the Gothenburg Summit of November 2017 Strengthening European Identity through Education and Culture, the EESC aims to raise awareness of the multiplicity and richness of European identities, united in all their diversity, drive the visibility and understanding of the impact of arts and culture to promote inclusive and cohesive societies, and foster a sustainable future for the European project. The European project is currently being put to the test. Today we are indeed in the midst of global developments that question the manner in which globalisation was promoted. With civil society put under threat in many places, it is important to defend European values. More also needs to be done in order for populations from different cultures and beliefs to understand each other. In Europe, a stark increase in migration found populations and governments on all levels unprepared, giving rise to nationalistic rhetoric and putting mutual solidarity to the test. An increase of both actual acts of violence and their perception in the media – terrorist attacks, racial violence, religious fundamentalism, destruction of world heritage monuments – have led to feelings of insecurity and strengthened reclusionist voices. Intercultural exchange could be one of the elements of a solution, EESC-2018-02699-00-00-INFO-TRA (EN) 2/10 driving community cohesion, mutual understanding and an appreciation the wealth every country and culture has to bring to the global community. It is in this context that Europeans need to become aware of the potential of the cultural heritage of Europe: strengthening identities and societies, promoting an understanding of the vast potential of diversity which is the basis of our European history, and countering fear-based narratives. Our common heritage, based both on history, arts and philosophy, also humanist heritage, should be underlined as a key factor.
Against this background, the specific objective of the 2018 Civil Society Prize is to reward innovative initiatives carried out on the territory of the EU which aim at raising awareness of the multiple layers and richness of European identities, exploiting the full potential of Europe's cultural wealth, facilitating access to European cultural heritage and promoting European values (respect for human dignity and human rights, freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law). Overall, it should be noted that in the framework of this prize, cultural heritage should be understood in its large sense, including also industrial heritage, crafts, gastronomic heritage, the culture of work, etc. These initiatives shall have already been implemented or still be ongoing. Initiatives which are planned but whose implementation has not yet started on 7 September 2018 (closing date for submission of applications) are excluded. To be eligible, activities/initiatives shall cover at least one of the following areas:
• promoting European values (respect for human dignity and human rights, freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law) through culture;
• promoting the respect of cultural, religious and linguistic diversity and of the freedom of the arts as European fundamental rights; • promoting the right to freedom of expression and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association at all levels;
• raising awareness of the wealth of Europe's cultural heritage in a broad sense, i.e. both tangible heritage (monuments, buildings, …) and intangible heritage and its impact on contemporary creation (performing arts, visual arts, literature, media etc.);
• promoting European values and European multi-layered identity as a foundation of understanding, exchange and development to combat populist tendencies, propaganda and prejudice;
• facilitating and encouraging the access of a wider and more diversified public to European cultural heritage, including via digital means, by removing physical, social or cultural barriers, or through audience-development activities, taking into account people with special needs;
• showcasing the importance of Europe's cultural heritage to foster a sense of European multilayered identity, social inclusion and integration, e.g. through education and lifelong learning activities, in particular, those focusing on children, young people and senior citizens, local communities and disadvantaged groups;
• preventing the misuse of culture as a means for the promotion of racism, radicalism or nationalism by actively focusing on the diversity inherent in European identity and in European cultural heritage and on the differing interpretations of that heritage;
• raising awareness of the whole spectrum of cultures that over the centuries and at present have contributed and are contributing to the creation of a multi-layered European identity;
• exploiting the capacity of culture and of intercultural and interreligious dialogue to prevent conflict and foster reconciliation and stability between different communities.
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