SCHOOL OF COMMUNITY ECONOMY
Project name: Let's create our future together! It's in our hands! Main activity: Prague, 24-28 August 2015
The project is financially supported by EU funds (Erasmus + Programme, KA1, Mobility of students and staff) - project number 2015-2-CZ01-KA105-014249
Through this summer school we want to motivate participants to think and "imagine" the change they want to see in the world of young people around them. By sharing and discussing ideas and experiences with peers from other countries, as well as with lecturers and entrepreneurs working in the field of community economy, we aim to stimulate their open-mindedness and offer new possibilities and ways to use their own skills. In this sense, we aim to make the summer school a real laboratory for young people's entrepreneurial spirit and creativity.
We believe that what young people need today to get out of the trap of unemployment and exclusion is not just a job offer or vocational training, but above all a greater awareness of their own potential and responsibility for the state of affairs. Without dismissing the crucial importance of the socio-economic, political and legal background of the participants, through this summer school we want to stimulate young people and their intrinsic motivation and determination to become real protagonists and initiators of a new approach based on a community economy with two key aspects: community (versus the individualism typical in today's economy) and a "culture of giving" (versus the "culture of ownership" typical in today's society).
One of our main objectives is therefore to provide young people with a new perspective on their work with other young people and their role in society (especially in the economic sphere) and the processes that take place in it, thus encouraging them to be proactive and creative in finding solutions to the current situation. We believe that young people's innate ability to anticipate new horizons and innovate should be assessed as it is a fundamental prerequisite for any real and lasting change.
Impression of one participant
You just have to be willing to pedal uphill sometimes, I add with a smile. My holidays this year could serve as a great example. I mean, one week in particular. From 24 to 28 August, I had the opportunity to participate in the Summer School of Community Economics, which took place in Prague-Vinor. When I signed up for this event, not only did I have no idea what a spectacular opportunity was hidden behind the name Summer School of Community Economics, but also all the ideas I had formed from the combination of these four words were completely wrong. Looking back, I don't regret a single minute spent in Vinohrady. But if someone had told me in advance what I would experience in those few days, I probably wouldn't have believed them. Although it's really hard to capture the atmosphere of the school in a few sentences, I'll try to give you a glimpse of those moments. The first big surprise that awaited me in Prague was the participants of the school. 65 young people came from literally all over the world (Russia, North Korea, China and Brazil, for example). I think that sharing a room with a girl from Ukraine and Croatia is not going to happen again. The ubiquitous enthusiasm for "the cause" soon overshadowed any differences between us and allowed for an honest, open sharing environment. And that was an important foundation on which to build.
The programme, which started on Monday morning, included not only lectures by four friendly professors of economics (Anouk Grevin, Vittorio Pelligra, Benedetto Gui and Luigino Bruni) who were always on hand to give concise answers to our inquisitive questions, but also many forms of dialogue that were a great opportunity to share our life experiences and ideas with others. There were also workshops during the week in which we tried to put our ideas into practice. I chose the art workshop and I didn't regret it. I had the opportunity to see the enriching work of painter Peter Ettler, for which I am very grateful. Our group's attempt at our own creation was far from advanced art, but fortunately there are no limits to imagination. On Wednesday, we all took part in an open dialogue called Man and the World of Economics, which took place between the well-known Czech economist Tomáš Sedláček and Luigin Bruni at the premises of the University of Economics in Prague, and it completely exceeded my expectations. I am sure that both students of economics and more or less lay listeners were satisfied. Then followed a beautiful tour of the architectural gems of the capital enriched with interesting facts from history, which we ended, as otherwise, with a beer tasting near the Charles Bridge.
In the coming days, we were honoured with the visit of entrepreneurs from Russia, Poland and the Czech Republic, who presented their stories and life experiences. I think that for many young people, especially those who have their entrepreneurial dream in their heads, this part of the school was the most important and encouraging. The amazing programme, enhanced by the beautiful setting of the Mariapoli Centre and the brilliant performances of the local chefs, ensured that a broad satisfied smile was visible on perhaps every face. I was also personally very impressed by the positive atmosphere of the school. It also made me realise that it is confidence in the future that is often lacking, and conversely, if one feels it, it can be a really powerful help and incentive for change.
I must also mention another aspect that contributed to the success of the week, namely building interpersonal relationships. The new friendships that have been forged certainly cannot be counted on the fingers of one hand, or even both. There was plenty of room for conversation and getting to know each other, not just over lunch, dinner or coffee during the break. This collective, based on the belief that each of us has something to offer and can enrich the others, became proof that mutual understanding often does not even require a common mother tongue. The Centre in Vinoř was thus more than a comfortable shelter, it turned into our temporary home. I have to admit that in today's world crowded with different opinions I sometimes feel like a boat without a lighthouse. And since I can't read the stars very well, I am truly grateful when someone shows me their path that they believe in and that, although full of obstacles, leads to happiness. Finally, I would again like to thank everyone who has put their hand to work to help make this week happen. And if you are considering your participation in the next Community Economics School, my advice is the same as it was given to me: Don't hesitate. Everything you put in will come back to you many times over, kind of like a fairy tale. Anna-Marie Dombaj
Conference on Man and the World Economy
Wednesday 26 August 2015
Recording in English
Recording in Czech