The Project (*):
An Intercultural Dialogue, by Means of a Neutral Language, Between European Schools

The aim of the project is the creation of partnerships between European schools in which the neutral language, Esperanto, is being taught. They use it during communication at a distance and during organised meetings in Europe (there are two meetings each year) because it is a neutral bridge-language, guaranteeing to all participants equal opportunities for communication, respect and maintenance of multilingualism in Europe and the rest of the world. The schools already interested in this project now are in the following countries: Portugal, Poland, France, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Romania, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Spain, Italy and Britain (the project is open to all schools who wish to be included). They will take the first step towards mutual acquaintanceship and cultural exchange, which while respecting the different histories, cultural inheritances and traditions of the different European countries taking part, will stimulate mutual knowledge and learning of their national languages, using the neutral language, Esperanto, as a bridge-language. Many initiatives will be realised involving teachers and pupils who will participate together with other organisations and put forward topics and ideas they have in common. Co-operation will be based upon an interchange of information about the historical and cultural legacies of their different regions and countries, by means of practical experience in the field of information technology, and modern-language teaching, studying an idea of the present and future of the European citizenship of new generations. The outcome of this project, with knowledge of the cultures and traditions of other European countries, and the creation of friendly links with students and teachers living in them, will contribute towards breaking down the communication barriers between different communities with different languages, presenting them with the same challenges. To fulfill this project we are using the international language, Esperanto already well-known but not yet the official language of the European Union.

The use of the same language, not the mother-tongue of any of the countries taking part, but taught in schools in their countries, will create a sense of equality and equal rights, starting with the most basic right: the right of speaking and communicating one's own ideas, both in one's national language and the neutral one, and will encourage young Europeans to be aware that an effort of communication in order for each to approach the other is already a sign of acceptance and respect of differences, and therefore a symbol of tolerance.

Aims of the Project

a) Critical consideration by the students of "isms" (nationalism, colonialism, racism etc.) by arranging local and international debates about human rights, with research, exhibitions, internet forums and contacts with participating contemporaries and other co-operating schools.
b) Exchange of cultural, traditional, linguistic, geographical and historical experiences.
c) Introduction of a common culture and informing participants about language differences, this by learning everyday words and phrases in the languages of those taking part in the meeting.
d) Crossing the communication barriers in the European Union by means of a common, neutral language.
e) Contribution to the formation of a spirit of European citizenship.
f) Development of students' personal abilities in team work, a wish to co-operate, and competence in the solution of communication problems.
g) Improvement in the assimilation and practical use of new communication-technologies (email and video-conferencing) in order to achieve better understanding between the schools taking part.
h) Motivation of students towards better engagement in their school's activities thanks to prompt publication of the final results.

Implications and Actions

Project Co-ordinator
Professor Mariana Gencheva
maries972@yahoo.com
Ul. Targovska 101
BG-5180 Polski Trambesh
Bulgaria
The coloured montage was created by
Ermanno Tarracchini
ermanno.tarracchini@tiscali.it
Via Pascal, 46
IT-41100 Modena
Italy


(*) a plan developed from the original idea of Luis Ladeira's project: "AKEL" (Alternative Communication between European Schools).
English translation by David. R. Curtis