Tolerance in Europe: How Can Young People Help?

One of the most chilling aspects of the massacres in Norway was the meticulous planning. The victims were not random, but carefully selected.  Authorities said that the suspect, Anders Behring Breivik, motivated by an irrational fear of Muslim migrants, detonated a bomb in Oslo and then traveled to Utoya Island, knowing that there he would find a distinctive collection of Norway’s youth.  Many of the victims on the island were migrants or children of migrants. In the words of Torbjorn Eriksen, a former press secretary to Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg, the young people had gathered “to learn about and be part of democracy.” And so they represented a threat, perhaps the greatest threat to extremism in Europe: youth actively engaged in the ongoing struggle to promote and maintain open society in Europe.

Recognizing the positive and unique role that youth can play to strengthen and promote open society, we're inviting them to submit proposals for new and innovative projects that encourage tolerance and inclusion in Europe.  Applications to promote the full participation of youth with mental or physical disabilities are also strongly encouraged.

We're focusing our funding on projects in France, Belgium, Hungary, and the Czech Republic.  In France and Belgium, priority will be given to applications from cities where the Open Society At Home in Europe Project has been conducting research: Antwerp, Marseille, and Paris. In Hungary and the Czech Republic, we will also prioritize projects that raise awareness and help achieve the goals of the Decade of Roma Inclusion, an initiative that aims to improve the welfare of Roma through improved education, employment, health, and housing.

We invite applications that focus on the following:

  • political and civic engagement of youth;
  • integration of minority and majority communities;
  • use of new media tools to counter xenophobia and tackle discrimination;
  • raising awareness of the importance and benefits of inclusion;
  • promoting inclusion of minority groups like the Roma in the economic, social, political and social life of the community.

Grants award will average €2,000, and the total amount available for grants is €500,000.

See the complete application guidelines and instructions on the Open Society Youth Initiative website. I encourage you to apply.

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