How the idea developed: from the focus group to NACE
The idea of developing NACE started in connection with the framework of NECE – Networking European Citizenship Education www.nece.eu. NECE is a platform that helped Europeanise Civic Education and promoted civic education (CE) from South to North, from the Balkans to Ukraine, in a decade. Every year NECE brings together hundreds of practitioners and academics, governmental organizations, and representatives of civil society from all over Europe and since 2012 from the southern Mediterranean to discuss, exchange, but mostly expose and develop approaches that help to solve the pressing issues of the day, giving civil society a strong role in this process. Within this framework, a focus group called Exchange between Europe and North Africa was set up to support the establishment of a sustainable and long-term forum of exchange, knowledge transfer, and cooperation between stakeholders of civic education and civil society from North African states in transition and European countries. Consequently, and evolving organically with the group´s consultations, we decided that we wanted to establish NACE as a sister platform of NECE on the south side of the Mediterranean.
In the Arab Region, there are some practices related to CE that have a long history that could be built upon and further developed. Like all green fields, the core need lies essentially in the shortage of infrastructures: information is bottlenecked, actors are regionally disconnected from one another and cross-sectorial interconnections remain weak. NACE wants to break up the isolation of projects and stakeholders in CE to create a knowledge Hub for CE in the region which empowers the different stakeholders (non-formal and informal CE, governmental and non-governmental) to support capacity development environments, to form a strong community of CE and to create synergies between projects and programs.