Inter Alia’s Strategy on Political Engagement 2021-2023
Inter Alia aims to contribute to shaping a civic-minded and assertive European demos and to support collective elaboration of sustainable solutions to its challenges. Inter Alia is involved in a wide array of initiatives at local, national, EU and international level and has extensive experience in organising activities related to citizenship, policy making, education, culture and remembrance. Activities within the EU polity aim to:
- Explore and communicate channels of collective action;
- Promote active citizenship and direct democratic practices;
- Foster a debate between the public, experts, policy makers and stakeholders;
- Conduct research on socioeconomic phenomena, perceptions and attitudes;
- Empower small communities and vulnerable groups emphasising on youth and migrants.
The work plan fosters a journey of European citizens to self-awareness through a manifold debate on the future of Europe and the EU, involving civil society organizations, scholars, policy makers and stakeholders. It sets off from the need of the EU as a political community to become more relevant, present and accessible for Europeans. Yet, this demand should be collectively shaped and articulated.
We argue that the existing EU strategy that attempts to accommodate conflicting ideas and value systems under the umbrella-narrative of functionality has resulted in growing grievances, citizens’ disinterest and EU’s tendency towards disintegration. Ideology is seen as an embedded feature of any political debate. The planned activities attempt to trace it and look into its application in selected policy areas which are crucial for the future of the EU and its introvert or extrovert orientation. Partner organizations are firm believers in the constitutional idea of the EU and in the need for an inclusive, bottom-up reform process in line with its values and contemporary realities. In specific, the plan aims to:
- Improve conditions for civic and democratic participation by:
- fostering reflection on the role and obligations of EU citizens for upholding Europe’s democratic traditions;
- highlighting the role of values and ideology in the ongoing political discourse;
- raising awareness on the importance and the available channels of participation with emphasis on youth;
- promoting an active and critical stance towards political developments in Europe;
- cutting across disciplines for elaborating European-wide responses to current challenges.
- Cultivate empathy among EU citizens and between citizens and other populations by:
- empowering civil society organizations to take up an active role and suggesting innovative, sustainable solutions;
- reflecting on Europeans’ own hardships and experience and the ways they have shaped European political tradition;
- analysing and improving the quality of information available regarding EU politics;
- reflecting on expressions of different cultures and identities in Europe and framing diversity as a source of richness;
- promoting volunteering and alternative educational methods and approaches.
- Shape a citizens-driven vision about the future of the EU and support the process of political reform within the EU by:
- exploring fundamental EU principles such as equality, solidarity and good governance
- tracing the application of these principles in central political processes of the EU;
- enabling a structured debate based on equity and empathy;
- communicating the outputs to decision-makers at all levels.
Annual Work Programme 2021
Inter Alia’s work plan tackles 5 major issues related to EU’s political community:
- Representation: Distance between decision makers and citizens and scarce direct accountability mechanisms have rendered the EU irrelevant for many citizens. Reasoning on this perception and suggesting alternatives should be done through a structured and inclusive process.
- Inclusion: Several activities follow an intersectional approach with a view to promote oppressed identities, raise awareness on issues of discrimination experienced by individuals and groups and build their capacity to further their causes.
- Civil society financing: Civil society Organisations are agents of change, not just service providers! This role is primarily earned through the efforts of the organisations themselves and their capacity to be resilient and faithful to their vision and mission. However, a more favourable environment, supportive of change and experimentation and, essentially, more forgiving to mistakes is also crucial.
- Migration is a critical issue for the EU political community. A civil society with expertise in the field of advocacy, ties with policy-making institutions, legal and technical knowhow, is crucial for finding positive-sum solutions that can foster social cohesion and integration.
- Quality of information: As negative images, stereotypes, racism and discrimination are constantly gaining ground, the quality of information available to citizens on EU politics is becoming increasingly important.
- Sustainability: Asserting solutions outside the prevailing socioeconomic paradigm is central for upholding EU’s profile as an advocate of social rights and processes.
Methods and Activities
The work-plan 2021 emphasizes on participation, learning and research. Regarding participation, the plan foresees citizens’ involvement in debates, cultural and artistic events. In the field of learning, the work plan features diverse non-formal activities that apply experiential learning, group learning, peer learning and learning through arts. Research includes the organization of conferences, field and on-line research, the production of a documentary film and a collective volume.
What you should be looking out for
Solidarity in a Future Europe – Series of Conferences on the Migrant Question across Europe
Solidarity in a Future Europe, is designed to connect citizens from across Europe in a series of conferences that will encourage better services to and better understanding of migrants and refugees, their daily lives, and the circumstances that brought them to the European Union. Representatives and volunteers from refugee service organisations and local citizens will attend conferences that will empower them to engage in intercultural exchange while offering direct paths for engaging in policy advocacy and volunteering.
Positively Different Short Film Festival & Special screenings
Gender, sexuality, race, class, ethnicity, religion, able-bodiness – are determinants of our present and future, life prospects and obstructions. PDSFF2021 focuses on their intersections and follows stories of characters, individuals and communities that experience oppression due to identities they carry. Shedding light on life paths of “others” – often through realism and humor and other times through abstraction and experimentation – the festival aims to give space to co-creation, networking and shaping of collective claims. Our aspiration is to turn PDSFF into an institution for promoting intersecting identities and raising awareness on issues of discrimination and oppression experienced by individuals and groups that fall through the cracks of representation in contemporary polities. All information here
Outcast Europe aims to reclaim and reconfirm the faith of the majority of Europeans in the foundations of our intellectual tradition and value system in spite of the uncertainty triggered by a changing world and nurtured by politics of fear and division. Setting off from the current migrant situation, and exemplifying populations of Europeans who survived and thrived as an outcome of humanity and solidarity of others, the project argued that each person on the move has the right to live in dignity, safety and freedom. In this framework, Inter Alia redevelops and enriches the digital collection Outcast Europe — i.e. the thematic collection that pools content related to migratory and refugee experiences, including the digital copies of the material objects that were gathered and digitised during the homonymous project, implemented from September 2017 to February 2019.
Public makers – Toolkit/Online Course
The course is divided in 4 modules: (1) Ways of thinking, (2) Ways of working, (3) Tools of work and (4) Living in the community. The first module will give an introduction to the open data to its students. Visualisation of the data and its accessibility are the topics that will be covered in the second module. How to use open data tools and sources to create a change in the community is what will the students of the Public makers course find out in the third module. Last but not least – the fourth module will be focused on the lobbying for change.
STEP Online Series “Social Transformation & Ecology
A series of online local seminars on issues of ecological sustainability, circular economy, environmental justice and activism. During this seminar, activities related to the STEP project will be implemented online. After the completion of the seminar series, participants will develop local sustainable intereventions dedicated to important environmental days such as the Global Degrowth Day and the International Environment Day. 5 online meetings have been foreseen.
Our yearly work plan in Europe involves CSOs, grassroots organisations, networks, think-tanks, universities and municipalities. Cooperation is primarily made on a project-basis. However, Inter Alia has taken up an effort to include partners in a new decision making body within the organisation, the Board of Members, and to broaden the ground for statutory agreement with other civil society actors.
The work plan aims to a direct outreach of 4.000 persons and an indirect outreach of 100.000 from across Europe and beyond. Activities aspire to mobilise and engage citizens, in accordance with the objectives of the work plan, at local, national, regional, EU and international levels.
Policy/decision makers; Civil society organizations; University students and volunteers; Migrant communities; Young cinematographers; EU citizens with migrant background; Scholars; Journalists; Rural communities
- Documentary movies
- Awareness campaigns
- Policy analyses and recommendations
- Cultural exhibitions
- Film festival
- On-line platforms & learning modules
Apart from EU funding, IA will continue cooperating with private and public international organizations, local and national authorities and donors. In specific, we have received or applied for financial and in-kind support to embassies, ministries and private donors.
Summary of the Strategic Plan 2018 – 2020
Citizenship is a right that in most polities was conquered through collective effort and sacrifice. This has not been the case with EU citizenship which basically resulted from intergovernmental agreements. Arguably, this is one of the reasons that a significant part of Europeans have appeared disinclined to defend their belonging in the EU. Aiming to reverse this trend, IA’s strategy stresses on the need of EU citizenship to be continuously debated, delimited and demanded.
Starting from 2018, there are two thresholds that will guide our actions: the EP elections in June 2019 and the new budget that will be voted in 2020. Held in a volatile political setting of growing nationalism and mistrust, the EP elections are the most critical in EU history. We aspire that citizens will make informed decisions about their participation. For this reason, we embark on the aforementioned journey of Europeans to self-awareness through the work plan 2018 and similar actions in 2019. With regards to the budget 2020, we aim to unite our voices with other movements, organizations, think-tanks and institutions throughout Europe for a bolder EU budget investing more, and more sustainably on citizenship.
In pursuing our objectives, we opt for a persistent extension of our network through partnerships based on a common agenda and diverse expertise. Further fragmentation of citizens’ networks with the creation of a new instrument is considered unnecessary at this point.
Regarding the elections, we aim at causing a ripple effect that will improve the quality of representation in the EP. On the short term, this will be attained by increasing the turnout in Greece and the EU. On the medium & long term, our activities aspire to upgrade the discourse on EU affairs by enabling citizens to participate and articulate true political argumentation. To this end, we will utilize and extend our network throughout Europe and will organize activities that tackle the issue through different approaches, methods and tools. We plan activities in different scale and diverse areas of EU countries with a view to promote reflection on participation among the citizens in line with predefined criteria (see part C.4). By the end of 2018, we aim to plant the seed of reflection on the importance of upholding EU citizenship. In 2019, until the elections, we will intensify our efforts for informing and debating participation with EU citizens. We foresee the participation of more than 4000 citizens in our activities in 2018 and a similar number of 2019.
As regards our involvement in the process of charting the EU budget, from June 2019 onwards we will host events in different European countries for deliberating on a common strategy for extending citizens’ participation and representation in the EU. To this end, after the EP elections, IA aims to start a new office in another EU country in order to be better positioned to mobilize citizens and put pressure on EU instruments along the lines of our strategic plan. Given that Inter Alia has not been officially involved in this process before, we will join forces with networks that we are already members of (EMI, Europe for Citizens, European Alternatives, ALDA). Over 100 organizations from all EU and candidate EU countries will be involved in the sessions that will be stations in a single process and make use of diverse tools. Events will be open for citizens and aim at the attendance of 8 000 citizens in 2019 and 2020.