ERASMUS+ - Understanding Europe

Strategic Partnership for Adult Education 2016-2018

KICK-OFF MEETING in VIENNA, AUSTRIA - 26-29 October 2016
Host: Die Wiener Volkshochschulen

Most of the partners already knew each other from previous EU-collaborations. The more we were curious to get to know the new partner, the "Bulgarian Development Agency Sdruzhenie" from Sofia, Bulgaria, better.

After a short introduction by the project leader Herbert Depner with reference to the goals of the project, the presentation of partner institutions was the next topic: history, structure, goals, target groups; ways to deal with integration of refugees and migrants were mentioned.

Nina Andresen (Fonds Soziales Wien on behalf of the administration, Vienna) chaired the Round table discussion “Welcome to Vienna”, presenting “the Viennese refugee program” ; basic care for refugees, infrastructure; and a comparison between the situation in September 2015 to the situation in autumn 2016.

Anna Smuck and Günther Stockinger (teachers of German language courses at VHS Hietzing, Vienna): They presented examples of how to “present European values” to refugees in class by means of comparing them to “values” of the refugees’ home countries.

The next working day was dedicated to the topics Project work distribution / Time table/ Partner agreements/Installment of working groups/Financial management of the project/ fixing of dates for the project meetings and – after a lively discussion – we came up with a first rough structure of our Output.

The Handbook

1st draft of the European Handbook written by Kerstin Weertz, Heike Kölln-Prisner und Angelika Brechelmacher (until February 2017):

  • Methodology: Democratic principles; participatory approach; comparison of values: Europe – country of origin; experienced-based approach; value-based approach
  • Horizontal topics: Gender, minorities, environment, nationalism
  • Each chapter contains: Content, links, Application to different language levels, pitfalls

Host: Bulgarian Development Agency Sdruzhenie

Every partner did his/her work!

So we were able to discuss the first chapter of our handbook – History, and it was a vivid and interesting discussion, for not all of us knew every detail of the history of the partner countries.

Another working module lead to the decision to adapt the history chapter according to the following guidelines:

  • The transition period from Monarchy to Democracy
  • Antisemitism / Shoah
  • The social welfare state
  • Link to Europe: The respective national way leading to the EU-membership / Europe the Peace project versus Nationalism
  • Religion


European handbook

Heike presented her document focusing on facts. Angelika will write an alternative version of the text focusing on narrative elements. After we know this version we will start the discussion which text is best suited to reach our goals and objectives


„Fruitful“was the most mentioned word in evaluating the meeting, then „we learned a lot of things”, and “it was a pleasure of meeting you”. Things are starting to get into a shape. We worked in an open and constructive atmosphere where the others opinion had its value. First step from theory into practice was made.

Next steps

We fixed a timetable preparing the next meeting in Konstanz that will mark half of the projects lifetime, and the project coordinator gave a short outlook to the upcoming interim report scheduled for the end of July 2017.

Host: Sprachendienst Konstanz

Handbook – remaining chapters

After a serious discussion during the Konstanz meeting with many “requests to speak” we came up with a list of keywords in order to make the next step in our projects work for Chapter 3 and 4 to be finished in March 2018.

Chapter 1 – History – was definitively closed and accepted by every partner.

For Chapter 2 – Institutions – Poland and Belgium did excellent work, the rest of the partners will have to work on small adaptions for this chapter.

Herbert Depner as project coordinator held one-to-one talks with every partner concerning the requirements for the interim report.

We fixed a timeline in order to meet the 31st of July when the interim report is due to be sent in.

We agreed on the format of the handbook.

Kerstin Weertz from Belgium presented the highly acclaimed website.

We left Konstanz in a good mood, and the anonymous evaluation after the meeting showed that almost every participant at the meeting is convinced that our handbook will be valuable product worth spending 1 ½ years working on it.


As the first step of our dissemination strategy we will collect addresses that would be interested in our final product:

  • Info points Europe (may have different names in the different countries)
  • School administration
  • Adult education
  • NGOs
  • Teachers associations
  • ESC-members
  • Print business cards with our website address

Please look for the name of a contact person in the different associations, administrations, not just the main address.

If helpful one could present the first part of our handbook, as a draft or a teaser.


Kerstin presented the website and the logo - and earned many compliments for it.


In Romania, partners could start the discussion on the content of the national and the European handbook (Chapter 3) on the first day.

Though having different opinions on Europe and its future developments, each participant is still convinced about the relevance of our project and the final product(s).

We were impressed by the two external presentations from Flavius and Simona Ilona-Loga representing AidRom and Cristian Chionecel, Vice-rector of the University of Resita. It was heart-warming to find pro-European personalities in every corner of the EU-member countries, who are willing to strengthen every form of European cooperation.

After a serious discussions on high level the partners agreed on further adaptations ofthe handbook, “Democracy, participation…” (to be send in the final versionto the coordinator in two weeks’ time).

On the second day, the coordinator presented a timetable, starting with the final step and breaking down the different tasks to be fulfilled.

Finally, we added two more to the final chapter “Living in…”: Migration policy and gender issues as a cross-sectoral theme concerning all the other keywords (media, housing, education, labour market and economic system, sports, religion, migration policy, arts and culture, gender issues as cross-sectoral theme).


The final meeting will be held in Brussels, Belgium.
In the first day, the 1st of March 2018, the consortium invites to a multiplier event. For details see