Present projects:

Youth Returns (a.k.a. ProWork and HomeTown programme):

‘Youth Returns’ is a business-based, inter-generational programme to make:

  • Young people return to work, in their own countries in southern Europe (Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain);
  • Youth to return to the life of European senior citizens who choose to retire on the sunny shores of southern Europe;
  • Financial and social returns on investment in the youth, for private and public investors of the programme.

Youth Returns is creating scalable retirement communities for senior European citizens on or near the seasides of southern Europe. These communities are serviced by local youth who otherwise would be unemployed or forced to move abroad for finding a job. The senior citizens can choose between full-year retirement in the south on purchased or rented property, or part-time retirement during the low-season months on suitable and vacant existing tourist facilities. Youth Returns, formerly known as ProWork initiative, was launched in 2014 in Greece, under the patronage of the European Parliament, granted by its President Martin Schulz.

The state of Youth Returns implementation in target countries: Greece – pending, Portugal: progressing, Italy and Spain: exploring.

The Advisory Board for Youth Returns in Portugal currently consists of: Ambassador Luisella Pavan-Woolf, Chair; Lília Bispo Martins, lawyer, European Parliament, formerly at Faro municipal administration; Gonçalo Costa Cordeiro, former Head of ProWork Portugal; Filipa Freire, representing local and currently or formerly unemployed youth; Fernando Ruas, Member of the European Parliament, EPP group; Carlos Zorrinho, Member of the European Parliament, S&D group.

Project team Youth Returns in Portugal: Luís Pestana (Lisbon), Filipa Freire (Tavira), Ian Morgan (London), and Geza Tessenyi, project leader (London/Strasbourg). Contact: info (at) intercivil.net.

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European Reunion (ERU) between newly arriving asylum-seekers and their hosts:

The ERU project is to select, train, connect and provide support to talented young adults, both from the local host population and the newly arriving asylum-seekers, to act as agents of cooperation, opinion leaders and trouble-shooters between and within their groups. The project is expected to lead to less misunderstanding, less conflict and less tension between the two groups and to developing better integration capacity and practical cooperation between hosts and the new arrivals. ERU may result in reduced policing costs, less attacks or political backlash.

We are building cooperation on the first pilot projects in Germany and Sweden, as the main refugee hosting countries in the European Union, with governments, civil society and Offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. After the pilot projects, ERU is intended to extend to any European country or municipality where there is need and demand for it. A modified methodology is being designed for Greece and Italy, as the main front-line states in massive arrivals.

Project team: Maja Warnstam Brogi (Cardiff), Aimé Sindayigaya (Stockholm), Geza Tessenyi, project leader (London/Strasbourg). Contact: info (at) intercivil.net.

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Project in an exploratory stage:

Disaster Displacement: Climate change and disaster displaced persons

In popular language, they are called ‘climate refugees’. It is recognized that rising sea levels, desertification, wildfires, floods, high-intensity storms and other events are displacing a growing number of people from their habitat. Some of them will relocate within the same country while some others will be unable or unwilling to do so and will cross international borders. We are exploring whether and how The Intercivil Society could contribute to such international solutions to cross-border disaster displacements that will

  • be proactive, prepared and planned, rather than retroactive, ‘too little, too late’ reaction to population movements;
  • not disperse population groups of the same culture, language and ethnicity but allow them to re-settle together elsewhere, with self-sustaining work, and with an adequate degree of self-determination;
  • be beneficial to the host country and its population, in particular in the areas surrounding places of re-settlements.

We have initiated consultations with competent international agencies and experts on these questions and, depending on the outcome, we will decide whether and, if so, how to develop this into a project, in partnership with the public, private and civic sectors. Contact: info (at) intercivil.net.

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Past projects include:

  • Intercultural training in secondary schools

This project ‘Our Future – Our Keighley’ has been a three-year intercultural leadership training programme to establish an intercultural network of young people in Keighley – West Yorkshire, United Kingdom. The young people as participants, aged 13-15, came from Keighley’s three secondary schools. The members of this network were working together to change negative attitudes in their communities to reduce the tensions, and the project developed the capacity of participants to act as positive role models in their schools and communities. Between 2013 and 2015, the project has delivered 39 days of workshops to 90 young people. The interactive sessions involved training and facilitated dialogue on the following subject: Critical Thinking, Ethical Reasoning, Emotional Intelligence, Frameworks of Power, Communication Skills and Rhetoric, Conflict Resolution, Negotiation Skills, Social Media and Networking, Teambuilding and Partnership, Leadership, Methodologies to Analyse Community Tensions, and Dialogue Sessions on respect, racism and gender relations. Project delivery partners have been the Keighley Association Women and Children’s Centre and the Bradford City Council. The Joseph Rowntree Care Trust has financially supported the project. Project leader: Mansoor Abbasi, Chief Executive.

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  • Intercultural training for professionals

This project ‘Strengthening Community Resilience’ has been carried out to design and deliver a training programme for front-line professionals faced with countering extremist narratives on campus and beyond. Delegates attending the training workshops have been strategic and operational level practitioners from the police, neighbourhood services, education, higher and further education institutions, emergency planning services, youth and probation services. The training included subjects such as cumulative extremism, what constitutes an ‘extreme’ narrative, managing values and agendas, practicalities of partnership working, simulations that test systems and processes for dealing with community-based incidents. The Bradford Metropolitan Council, West Yorkshire Police, Teeside University and ICLS have been the partners in delivery of the workshops. Project leader: Mansoor Abbasi, Chief Executive.

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