The Pocantico Conference Center of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund hosted a series of conferences organized by CCD on the topic of international Democracy Education. This initative developed the Global Strategic Plan for Democracy Education and strategies for implementing this plan The concept of "education for democracy" is one of the core principles of the Community of Democracies. The Warsaw Declaration, issued by the Ministerial Conference in Warsaw, Poland that founded the Community of Democracies in June 2000, included a pledge "to promote government-to-government and people-to-people linkages and [to] promote civic education and literacy, including education for democracy. This commitment has been reaffirmed repeatedly by successive Ministerial Declarations of the organization, including in the Bamako Declaration of 2007, which recognized the Global Strategic Plan for Democracy Education, developed at the first Pocantico Conference in 2003, as a plan that "sets out principles and practical measures for democracy education."
The Global Strategic Plan for Democracy Education
June 8-10, 2003
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The Global Strategic Plan for Democracy Education outlines a series of specific recommendations to improve the availability and effectiveness of approaches to teaching democracy around the world. In November 2007 at the Bamako Ministerial Conference of the Community of Democracies, CD governments endorsed the Global Strategic Plan for Democracy Education in the Bamako Consensus:
“We resolve to… Increase support to civil society especially to facilitate citizens’ engagement in policy making processes and in the provision of civic and democracy education. In particular, we take note of the recommendations outlined in the Global Strategic Plan for Democracy Education (2003) which sets out principles and practical measures for democracy education.”
With this backing of governments, CCD is now working to put the Global Strategic Plan into action. Together with the International Steering Committee of the Community of Democracies and leading experts on democracy education and education policy, CCD will soon be taking steps to seek the support of governments in the implementation of the Plan.
The Pocantico Conference on Democracy Education in the Middle East and Muslim Africa
March 18-20, 2005
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Following a recommendation of the Global Strategic Plan on Democracy Education that called for special attention given to the Middle East and Africa, CCD, The Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, and the American Forum for Global Education organized a second conference at Pocantico, The Pocantico Conference on Democracy Education in the Middle East and Muslim Africa. The objective of mapping the opportunities and barriers for the promotion of democracy education in the Middle East and North Africa brought together 30 specialists from the MENA region as well as from Senegal, Nigeria, Europe, and the United States.
Participants prepared a series of 19 recommendations to be presented to Ministers of the governments of those countries attending the Community of Democracies April 2005 Conference in Santiago, Chile.
Implementing the Global Strategic Plan for Democracy Education
September 22-23, 2008
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CCD returned to the Pocantico Conference Center in September 2008, convening members of the nongovernmental International Steering Committee of the Community of Democracies (ISC/CD) with representatives of national ministries of education, multilateral organizations, and education policy experts from around the world. The subject of this third Pocantico Conference was developing strategies for implementing the recommendations contained in the Global Strategic Plan for Democracy Education. Participants developed national, regional, and international implementation plans to be presented to governments in the Community of Democracies, including plans for partnernship between governments and civil society in strengthening democracy education.
Case studies presented by the national and multilateral organization representatives documented successes and challenges of democracy education approaches currently being taken, providing lessons and guidance for the final report:
- Abraham Magendzo Kolstrein, Coordinator of the UNESCO Chair of Human Rights Education at the Universidad Academia de Humanismo Cristiano in Santiago, Chile, submitted a report of recent steps taken in Chile;
- Krzysztof Stanowski, Undersecretary of State in the Polish Ministry of National Education, described recent initiatives in Poland and some of the results which have been realized;
- Wen-cheng Lin, President of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy and Professor at the National Sun Yet-sen University, presented Taiwan's experiences with democracy education;
- Mary Larkin, Director of International Programs for the NGO Street Law, outlined an educational campaign conducted in December 2005 in the Middle East in partnership with community educator teams in Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, and Egypt;
- Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, described the Council's efforts in Education for Democratic Citizenship for its 46 Members States;
- Jorge Baxter of the Organization of American States described the OAS's Inter-American Program for Education for Democratic Values; and,
- Mark Richmond, Director of UNESCO's Division for Coordination of UN Priorities in Education, described the organization's activities worldwide.