Council and Union

About the project

The Council of Europe (CoE) has continuously engaged in programmes aimed at reinforcing democracy and the rule of law and preventing human rights violations through promoting human rights education and democracy in schools and communities around Europe. In 2010, the Council of Europe’s member states adopted the Council of Europe’s Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education. The Charter is an important step forward in mainstreaming human rights education in both formal and non-formal education, with the aim to provide real support for both governments and non-governmental partners in making access to EDC/HRE a reality.

The three Baltic States have found various ways of putting in action this important political framework, for example through the Baltic Summer Academies organised in cooperation with the Council of Europe and the European Wergeland Centre, hosted by rotation every year by each country since 2015. A more recent development is the current project „Baltic Partnerships for Human Rights Education and Education for Democratic Citizenship“ undertaken by the Estonian Institute of Human Rights, the Youth Leaders’ Coalition from Latvia and the Cultural Centre In Actio from Lithuania in 2017. This project brings together various state actors who join their efforts in contributing to the advancement of the educational practices as a response to current challenges. Besides reinforcing ties at national level between educational authorities, non-governmental organisations and schools, the project reaches out for regional cooperation in exchange for good practices and further policy development in the three Baltic states. The project also makes use of the valuable resources produced by the Council of Europe in the field of EDC-HRE, in particular the “Teacher training in EDC/HRE – how to develop the ability of students to assess information from media and social networks?” and “Teaching controversial issues – developing effective training for teachers and school leaders” by their translation into 4 languages (Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian and Russian), adaptation, further development and dissemination, piloting of these tools and supporting their introduction in the education systems of the three participating countries.

The similar historical background of the Baltic States and circumstances today give reason to look into those problems together and cooperate in strengthening the educational efforts at local, national and regional level. The circumstances and specific challenges related to EDC and HRE are very similar in all Baltic countries. The main problem might be described as a gap between what is foreseen in the curricula and what actually happens in the classrooms. According to the curricula of the Baltic countries, human rights and democratic citizenship are core values of general education. The curricula and strategic documents prescribe such goals and principles for the education system but the actual practices of teachers and headmasters are not always in compliance with them. The reasons for that are the lack of awareness and understanding about human rights and relevant teaching methodologies and, even more importantly, often the mind-set of the educators.

Besides the educational actors, there are also civil society organisations, research institutions and other stakeholders who tackle these problems, promoting learning about diversity, cooperation, human rights and values education. However, it is often the case that these efforts are not always mutually reinforcing and systemic, therefore regular stakeholder meetings are necessary.

Baltic Forum on Human Rights Education and Democratic Citizenship is an excellent opportunity to examine these issues in-depth. This gathering provides an opportunity for all three Baltic countries to exchange good practices and plan the actions for the advancement of EDC/HRE via transnational cooperation and mutual learning.



The forum is funded within the Framework of a Joint Project between the European Commission and the Council of Europe.