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School of Public Life

Budapest, Hungary
Joined November 2017

We work to ensure that marginalized groups are conscious of their rights, are able to articulate their needs and interests and possess the skills and knowledge necessary to enforce these in practice.

Presence in: Hungary
Focus: Citizenship & Identification, Education, Right to Information, Women's Rights

Democratic engagement and civic participation are core values that create links among societies transcending cultures and continents. For a real democracy, members of the community have to be aware that their powers as citizens go beyond casting their ballot every 4 years. To participate effectively in public life and shape the decisions that affect them, citizens need the individual skills and collective capacities to articulate their needs and voice their concerns effectively. Amidst ongoing public discussion about the democratic deficit of the European Union as well as the U.S., Hungarian democracy is ailing. Despite the transition to a multiparty election system in 1989, most citizens feel alienated from politics and people who experience social exclusion are particularly powerless when it comes to representing their interests. Civil society organizations are often too dependent on the state to exercise meaningful critique and tend to work on an ad hoc basis.

As a hub of citizenship education, the School of Public Life offers theoretical and practical training for marginalized individuals and the groups/organizations that represent them. In order to empower civil society organizations to become better advocates, we support them in developing their advocacy, communications, base building and strategic planning capacities. We also produce critical knowledge via 1) participatory action research that supports the work of social movements and social justice organizations; and 2) publishing literaturein widely accessible language (teaching materials, books and articles on social movements, activism and progressive politics) related to our mission and activities.