About the project
In 2018, the project – which has come to its 5th edition “Mediterraneo: Beyond the walls of the mind” – has been extended to the whole national territory, opening up to new Italian and Mediterranean institutes. This has been made possible thanks to the support of Otto per Mille della Chiesa Valdese – Unine delle Chiese Metodiste e Valdesi, to the contribution of the European Parliament’s Information Office in Milan and of the European Commission Office in Milan, and to the partnership established with the magazine and study center Confronti.
700 students and 30 teachers have so far been involved in activities of citizenship education and interculturality through a network of Italian and Mediterranean secondary schools. The countries that have taken (and/or are taking) part into the project are: Albania, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia, and Italy.
In winter 2018, a series of seminars has been organized for the secondary school teachers involved in the project: four experts presented the Mediterranean geopolitical framework and discussed in depth Europe’s role with respect to Mediterranean and Middle Eastern issues, to the peace economy, to the energy resources of the region as well as to the issue of migrations and citizenship rights.
HOW THE PROJECT HAS EVOLVED
CIPMO has been promoting the project “Mediterranean. The Mirror of the Other” since 2013, with the aim of fostering intercultural dialogue and “citizenship education” amongst the youth of the Mediterranean and the Middle Eastern region, thanks to a network of Italian secondary schools twinned with institutes in different countries on the other side of the Mediterranean.
Over the five editions of the projects, schools from Egypt, Israel, Iraq, Morocco, Palestine, Turkey and Tunisia joined the initiative and were twinned with Lombard secondary schools, carrying on a process of mutual understanding and working on specific topics chosen by the students and their supervisors.
Through a virtual exchange (e-twinning) between the classes of the secondary schools of the Mediterranean countries, the project aims at: fostering knowledge about the Mediterranean countries and their recent history among the younger generations, particularly through dialogue among peers; promoting the development of critical judgment and analytical skills regarding current phenomena; expanding the knowledge of the participating teachers on Mediterranean and Middle Eastern history and societies, by means of specific training sessions; improving the students’ linguistic skills through the interaction in English and French.
In 2000 a twinning project was initiated between two Middle Eastern schools (the ‘Holy Land’ school in Bethlehem and a Jerusalem High School) and the Italian school Liceo Classico Beccaria in Milan, in cooperation with the Municipality of Milan. The participants were 145 students: 57 from Milan, 44 from Palestine and 44 from Israel. The students became pen pals and remained in touch also by exchanging presents and traditional products. Liceo Beccaria organized an internet forum on its school website.
The project lasted until 2002. At the end of it, a delegation of 5 Israelis and 5 Palestinians went to Milan for a one-week stay. During this visit, they took part in many activities and events.
After a first “pilot” year (2013-2014), from the second edition on (2014-2015) the project has annually adopted the following structure:
Project workshop for the Euro-Mediterranean teachers involved. Held in October 2014 for the 2nd edition and in October 2015 for the 3rd one, the workshop aims at defining in a participative manner a common framework for the project activities, at planning the exchange activities between the classes, at identifying tools and methodologies, and at meeting the Italian classes involved in the project;
Exchange activities between the classes via different platforms (such as closed Facebook groups, WhatsApp group chats, Skype calls, emails, etc.), coordinated by the students’ supervisors and monitored by CIPMO (from November to May);
Teacher training on topics related to the geopolitics of the area, with the aim of updating them on the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern situation, while promoting the transmission of such knowledge to their students;
School-work programmes for a number of students from the schools participating in teachers’ training sessions and in other initiatives of the Center (from the 3rd edition);
Meetings and seminars with CIPMO experts on current Mediterranean and Middle Eastern issues at the adhering schools;
Closing event with the presentation of the outcomes of the e-twinning activities, as an occasion to take stock of, and reflect upon, the whole experience;
Trip to the European Parliament in Strasbourg for a number of students involved in the project, thanks to the support of the European Parliament’s Information Office in Milan.
In 2016, a contest open to the classes involved in the project was launched to draw the Project Logo that would be displayed on all communication materials. The contest was won by the students of the Liceo Candiani of Busto Arsizio.