CIVITAS World Congress: Warsaw, Poland, May 23-30, 2006

Members of our Civitas Partnership attended the 10th Annual World Conference on Civic Education held in Warsaw, Poland. The conference was hosted by the Center for Civic Education and the Polish Center for Citizenship Education.

Our partnership was represented in Warsaw by Linda Start, Michigan Center for Civic Education, Ivana Havlinova, Civitas-CZ, Miriam Hubova, Orava Association for Democratic Education(Slovakia), Jane McConnell, LRE Department of the Oklahoma Bar Association, and Jackie Johnson, Center for Education in Law and Democracy(Colorado).

Our partnership co-presented a session on the impacts of Project Citizen on civic development of students in our three nations with Senior Research Associate Sue Root, RMC Research Corporation, Denver.

Our partnership session, "The Impacts of Project Citizen on Civic Development of Students in Three Countries," focused on results from the first year of RMC's evaluation study of Project Citizen, as well as implications for professional development in the Project Citizen program.

The session emphasized three specific recommendations in planning professional development for Project Citizen teachers:

1. Connecting Project Citizen learning to broader principles of democracy.
2. Coaching students so that portfolio studies are socially meaningful and directed toward realistic changes.
3. Engaging students in authentic projects that result in interaction in the community.

2006 marked the 10th Anniversary of the World Congress in Civic Education. During the conference closing ceremony, representatives from all 10 World Congress host nations were recognized. Pictured at right with Chuck Quigley, Executive Director, Center for Civic Education, are Rahela Dzidic (left), Bosnia Herzegovina and our Civitas partner, Ivana Havlinova, Civitas-CZ (right). Prague was the site of the first World Congress in 1996.

Our partnership ate traditional Polish cuisine and celebrated Polish culture at the final banquet held at Firleje, a cultural event center located near Warsaw.

Students from Warsaw schools who are participating in the educational program, "Traces of the Past," have adopted historical monuments in their region and shared their research with World Congress participants. Over 800 schools and over 15,000 students have taken part in this program that builds a sense of civic identity and pride in students of all ages.

A highlight of every World Congress are the students-- many of whom traveled long distances to present their Project Citizen portfolios to an international audience.

Pope Benedict Visit to Poland, May 24-28, 2006:
On May 24, Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Warsaw for his first visit to Poland. He celebrated Mass before a crowd of 300,000 in Warsaw's Victory Square, where in 1979 his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, helped to inspire the Solidarity movement that toppled communism.