From Providence to Evidence

Governance and Strategic Development of SiS Activities for Children and Young People in the Context of Change

Report to the SiS Catalyst & EUCU.NET Conference,
Ankara 27th–30th November 2011


The joint conference of the FP7 Project SiS-Catalyst and the European Children’s Universities Network (EUCU.NET) took place between the 27th and the 30th of November 2011 in Ankara, Turkey. It was the first out of four Strategic Development and Embedding (SDE) conferences within the SiS-Catalyst project. Over 150 participants were part of this event. Four Keynotes gave a theoretical input on the following topics:

  • Modernisation of Higher Education and the Role of Young People in Europe 2020
  • European National Academies of Science and Humanities and their role in promoting scientific and technological literacy among young people
  • What makes a Change Maker? Social Innovation and Youth Engagement in Turkey
  • Research on, with and by Young People in the context of change

Workshops as well as discussions contributed to a successful interactive part of the conference and led also to professional exchange between the participants during the conference and beyond it.

Conference Synopsis

The first part of the conference (28th and forenoon of 29th November) focussed on SiS-Catalyst project issues while the second part concentrating on EUCU.NET topics (afternoon of 29th and 30th November). As the main objective of the project itself is to listen to children and young people, six alumni from Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, France, Turkey and United Kingdom of Children’s University type academic outreach programme or the like, were given the possibility to share their experiences at the conference. Prior to the public conference an internal SiS Catalyst consortium meeting was held on the 27th November.
(List of Participants, Agenda SiS Catalyst Partnermeeting and Conference Programme attached below)

Day 1 – 28th November 2012

Key Note “Modernisation of Higher Education and the Role of Young People in Europe 2020”
Joost VAN IERSEL (European Economic and Social Committee EESC)
The conference was opened by the first keynote of Joost van Iersel. He is an active member of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) since 2002, president of the European 2020 Steering Committee and Rapporteur of the Modernisation of Higher Education working group to the European Commission and to the European Parliament. In his presentation he focused on the role of higher education and young people within the EESC and Europe 2020. He pointed out the importance of discussing economic topics alongside higher education and its development. (see attachment 4)

Key Note “European National Academies of Sciences and Humanities and their role in promoting scientific and technological literacy among young people” Rüdiger KLEIN (European Federation of National Academies of Sciences and Humanities)
Van Iersel’s presentation was directly followed by the second keynote by Rüdiger Klein, the executive director of ALLEA, the European Federation of National Academies of Sciences and Humanities. He gave an overview of projects bringing together science academies and young people. One of the main challenges Rüdiger Klein posed was again the link with the economy. (see attachment 5)

Key Notes and Panel Discussion “My personal learning journey and visions for SiS relationships”
Alumni from SiS-initiatives – Children’s Universities and similar projects: Helen Cooper (UK); Moses Reid (Canada); Nuria Vallaster (Austria); Juliana Villada Sáenz (Colombia); Benjamin Chauvin (France); Cagri Tekatli (Turkey); Anton Chinkov (Bulgaria) together with: Joost van Iersel (EESC), Rüdiger Klein (ALLEA) and Tricia Jenkins (SiS-Catalyst)
After the theoretical input a panel discussion involving both the keynote speakers and the Alumni participants took place. Time was given to discuss the alumni’s learning journey and their visions for SiS relationships. Portraits of the alumni and details to their journey can be found under point 5. (see attachment 6-9)

Key Note “What Makes a Changemaker? Social Innovation and Youth Engagement in Turkey”
Yörük Kurtaran (Community Volunteers Foundation TOG, Turkey; Ashoka Foundation Turkey)
Kurtaran Yörük proceeded with his keynote about Changemakers. He is project director of the Istanbul Bilgi University NGO Research and Training Centre and a member of the steering committee for field and volunteer department at the Community Volunteers Foundation (TOG).  He gave an insight into the approach of the organisation he is working for and the project ideas young people seeking help with. He pointed out the potential young people can offer and the need for scientists to address this potential.

Next to his presentation a short overview was given about the “We are the future” event at the 2012 Ministerial Conference in Bucharest; Another event aiming to appreciate children as change agents. Day one was closed by the final presentation about the pan-european action plan, methods and vehicles for SiS benchmarking and mutual agreement. The core team outlined the main character of the SiS-Catalyst project. (see attachment 10)

Resume of Day 1

Higher Education and children’s university projects were discusses from an economic point of view within the system of the European Union. Besides questions about how much economy and higher education should be incorporated, it was made clear that access to information and a more personalised education should be considered as key elements for a future education system. Including children and young people in the discourse was found crucial for an innovative way forward. The fact that children and young people do have a critical knowledge about the educational system and can contribute ideas for innovative project was identified during the day.


“...for the universities to have more passionate students and investigators in the future, it is necessary to offer more unforgettable experiences for children.”

Juliana Villada Sáenz

“...this action is a solution to erase the stereotypes about science in the common thinking.”

Benjamin Chauvin

European Children's Universities Network - EUCU.NET
c/o Vienna University Children's Office
Lammgasse 8/8 1080 Vienna / Austria
T: +43/1/4277-2-4277
F: +43/1/4277-9242
imprint &
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software