“Preparing educators for their action in a multicultural environment”

On 4-5 March, 2014 the Council of Europe organised a seminar “Preparing educators for their action in a multicultural environment” in Strasbourg. 

Participants included representatives of Armenian and Azerbaijani civil society, in particular those who work with children and the youth on a daily basis and would be able to use the knowledge and skills gained during the seminar in practice. The seminar was facilitated by experts from the United Kingdom, Portugal and the Russian Federation, who contributed their own positive experience in the area of education in a multicultural environment in different social and political contexts.

CoE experts stressed the importance of building a partnership between different actors of present-day educational process in a multicultural society, and discussed with the participants challenges and advantages of using multiperspectivity in the educational space of multicultural societies. Particular attention was paid to competencies that educators need in order to be able to help young people to acquire intercultural communication skills in the contemporary world. Council of Europe representatives presented a Council of Europe perspective on the possibilities and challenges to education in the multicultural world of the XXI century, and pedagogical tools that could be used during this process. The representatives of Armenia and Azerbaijan were also given the opportunity to share their experinece in this sphere. Marina Juharyan, PR officer of the NGO WFD presented the experience and achievements of the organization in the presentation “Peace and Conflict Peaceful Resolution Education in schools of Armenia”. 

It was stressed that the role of contemporary teachers is complex and is not limited just to passing on knowledge. Teachers should be able to develop open-mindedness and flexible thinking in order to better understand the context and specificity of a multicultural society. That is why the term ‘educator’ is better adapted to the current context. The role of the civil society as educators is crucial. Notwithstanding the fact that state institutions and state authorities play a decisive role in the education process, educators are often in a better position to develop the necessary sensitivity to a multicultural environment and skills to cope with it by establishing closer links with other key actors in the education process, such as families, teachers and students. 

Participants resolved to continue the work in their respective countries. In particular suggestions were made to develop concrete proposals in the following directions:


  • Organise a campaign “Dialogue with the Other”;

  • Work on the elaboration of a handbook for multicultural education; and

  • Organise practical trainings on multicultural education, notable based on the handbook.