4 November 2014 (14.00-16.00) - Room 3 – Palais de l’Europe, Interpretation: FR/EN


Young people need to learn how to influence public policy by examining problems and finding potential solutions. However, they usually lack the power to implement their ideas. What are the challenges to develop and implement an action plan, what are the dos and don’ts? Will governments open up for youth and consider their suggestions?

Project Citizen, Center for Civic Education, USA

Through Project Citizen, young people learn how to monitor and influence public policy. Project Citizen engages students in cooperative learning activities guided by teachers and other facilitators. Working in teams, youth interact with their government and community leaders through a five-step process that entails identifying a public policy problem in their community, gathering and evaluating information about the problem, examining and evaluating alternative solutions, selecting and developing a public policy proposal to address the problem, and developing an action plan to bring their proposed solution to authorities with the power to implement it. During this process, young people create a portfolio of their work that is presented to civil society groups, community leaders, and policymakers to build public dialogue and collaboration in solving local issues.

Website: http://www.civiced.org/programs/project-citizen


Mr John HALE, Associate Director, Center for Civic Education, USA

In his capacity as Associate Director, John Hale works with all of the Center’s domestic and international programs. Mr. Hale has directed numerous institutes and scholarly conferences, both in the United States and overseas, and he has recently presented at international conferences in China, Taiwan, and Morocco. He has written student texts, policy papers, and articles in professional publications. He co-directs the Campaign to Promote Civic Education and is also a member of the Steering Committee of the California Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools. In 2012 he received the Roy Erickson Award for Civic Education Leadership.

Mr Charles QUIGLEY, USA, Executive Director, Center for Civic Education

Charles N. Quigley is a prominent American curriculum and program developer in the field of civic education. He is the author and editor of many textbooks, curricular materials, and articles on civic education.  He is the creator and director of the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution and Project Citizen programs, the CIVITAS Model Civic Education Curriculum Framework Project, the National Standards for Civics and Government project, and Civitas: An International Civic Education Exchange Program.

Project Citizen, Moroccan Center for Civic Education, Morocco

Project Citizen has been adapted into Arabic and implemented in schools and NGOs across Morocco by preparing university faculty, school teachers and NGO leaders in its use. Through this initiative, students, youth and NGOs use cooperative learning to select a public policy problem, research the community problem, identify options, select a policy to advocate, and develop an action plan to address the problem. Typically these action plans involve youth in working with policymakers and other authorities to adopt their public policy. The main goal of the initiative is to create a democratic dialogue on public policies between the citizen and policy makers.


Mr Elarbi IMAD, Morocco, President and Executive Eirector of the Moroccan Center for Civic Education

Elarbi Imad is the President and executive director of the Moroccan Center for Civic Education. As a civil society activist and education expert, Imad has developed, translated and adapted numerous textbooks and materials on citizenship education that promote a democratic culture. Imad has presented at and chaired democracy education conferences in Morocco and international sites. He maintains a cooperative relationship with the mass media and is often consulted and interviewed by newspapers, radio, and television. Imad was awarded the Penn Kemble Award recognizing his contributions in disseminating and promoting democratic education values. Recently, the U.S. Department of State selected Imad as a “Gold Star” representative for the International Visitor Leadership Program and the University of Ottawa, Canada awarded him an Honorary Doctorate.


Ms Zineb MOUSSAFIR, Morocco, Teacher of Family Education and Volunteer at Moroccan Center for Civic Education

Zineb Moussafir is a high school teacher of family Education. Zineb has got a Master degree in Bioengineering from the Faculty of Science and Technology, Settat, Morocco. She is an active a member volunteer of the Moroccan Center for Civic Education. She has participated in several conferences on civic education and education for democracy and she has also taken part in national and regional training workshops including Project Citizen Initiative that she has implemented with teachers and students. Zineb has contributed to hosting and organizing a number of events in civic education. Currently she is preparing her PhD dissertation.


Discussants are invited to make critical comments during the lab on the impact, transferrability, sustainability and risk of the initiative.

Mr Moussa LARABA, Algeria, Deputy Secretary General of the Conference of African Constitutional Courts

Moussa Laraba is Deputy Secretary General  of the Conference of African Constitutional Courts since Mai 2011. He has served as a judge at the Algerian Constitutional Court from 2004 until 2011. From 1998 until 2004 he was Secretary General of the Constitutional Council in Algeria. Before that, Laraba had the position of Director of Documentation at the Constitutional Council.

Ms Elizabeth Queen UMUTESI, Rwanda, Founder of HELP Group

Queen comes from Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali. Recognising the need in a nearby school for students to receive financial assistance for school fees, Queen decided to do something about the situation. At the time, Queen had received $300 in the East African Community Essay Competition and she decided to use this money to pay for the students’ schools fees and insurance. Queen, however realised that this money would only last the students a month and therefore mobilised her friends to form the HELP Group – a group established to raise funds to help provide consistent support to students in financial need.

Mr Wanhong ZHANG, the People's Republic of China, Associate Professor of Law at Wuhan University School of Law

Zhang Wanhong earned his Ph.D. in Law from Wuhan University School of Law, Wuhan, where he now holds the position of Associate Professor of Jurisprudence. He has mainly been working on legal issues related to human rights, public interest and civil society. He was Edwards Fellow at Columbia University School of Law, New York, USA, in the spring semester of 2005. As the Director of Wuhan University Public Interest and Development Law Institute, Professor Zhang and his colleagues are also working in the field of protection and promotion of human rights of the poor and marginalized in China, say, migrant workers, persons with disability, among others. In 2008, Professor Zhang was invited to participate in the drafting of China’s first National Human Rights Action Plan 2009-2010, which was released in April 13, 2009.


Mr Dirk VAN EECKHOUT, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Belgium to the Council of Europe, Consul General of Belgium

Dirk Van Eeckhout is Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Belgium to the Council of Europe since 2013. From 2009 to 2013, he has been Ambassador of Belgium to Santiago de Chile and was from 2007 to 2009 Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Vice-Prime Minister Karel De Gucht. He has been Ambassador of Belgium to Nigeria, Benin and Togo and Permanent Representative of Belgium to ECOWAS (Economic Organization of West African States) from 2004 to 2007. Before that, Dirk Van Eeckhout was Consul General of Belgium in Osaka and First Secretary at the Belgian Embassy in Tokyo, as well as Representative of Belgium to the ITTO (International Tropical Timber Organization).