ALLEA Prize used to set up “Fund Lenaerts-Grimonprez” for a stronger EU dimension at school

Koen Lenaerts, Professor of the University of Leuven and President of the Court of Justice of the European Union, was awarded the 2017 ALLEA Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values in Budapest at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences on 4 September 2017

Koen Lenaerts (University of Leuven) receives the 2017 ALLEA Prize certificate from ALLEA President Günter Stock. Credit: MTA/Szigeti Tamás

On 4 September 2017, Koen Lenaerts was awarded the 2017 All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values in Budapest at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences to honour his outstanding scholarly contribution to European law. This prize, endowed with 20 000 euros, was established by ALLEA, the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities, and co-sponsored by Compagnia di San Paolo.

Koen Lenaerts has donated the ALLEA prize as a starting capital to a new Leuven University Fund that he created together with his wife, Kris Grimonprez, both alumni of the Faculty of Law of Leuven University. The Fund is named ‘Fonds Lenaerts-Grimonprez voor een sterkere EU dimensie op school’ (‘Fund Lenaerts-Grimonprez for a stronger EU dimension at school’).[1] The Fund is an organisation within the University, governed by a steering board in which the donor Koen Lenaerts and his wife are represented, as well as several academics of the Leuven University. Vice-Rector Bart Raymaekers is its financial manager.

The purpose of the Fund is to raise the quality of EU learning at school. Specifically, it seeks to broaden and deepen the EU dimension within key competences acquired by pupils at school.

Raising the quality of EU learning at school

The purpose of the Fund is to raise the quality of EU learning at school. Specifically, it seeks to broaden and deepen the EU dimension within key competences acquired by pupils at school. Reflecting the importance of the EU in society, the EU dimension should be more consistently present in the learning content of several subjects in primary as well as in secondary education. For example, it does not suffice to learn about the European Coal and Steel Community in history, or to know some EU institutions. The aim is to empower all young people (not only pupils in some optional courses) to become conscious EU citizens who are informed and critical thinkers, combining their national identity with a European one, ready to participate in the democratic life of the Union. Democracy presupposes enlightened citizenship.

To this end, support will be given to the training of future teachers and research about the EU dimension in school curricula and learning outcomes. In this context, modules with a specific EU dimension and adequate teaching materials will be developed. The essential starting point are the texts on which the EU is founded (the EU Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union) and the EU values and principles that they express. As the EU and its Member States are based on democracy, respect for fundamental rights and the rule of law, this Fund also aims to work in line with the Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education of the Council of Europe,[2] whereby in particular its EU dimension needs to be concretised.

The Fund wishes to reach the ‘ordinary’ pupil in mainstream education, living in Belgium and attending school in Flanders or in a Dutch language school in Brussels. The money is not designated to support mobility of pupils or teachers, nor is it for language learning or extra-curricular activities.

An annual prize may be awarded for work corresponding to criteria set up in detail in different phases. If the project leads to successful results, translation of modules into other EU languages as well as European cooperation may be envisaged.

*Text provided by the Fund Lenaerts-Grimonprez

[1] http://www.kuleuven.be/mecenaat/en

[2] http://www.coe.int/en/web/edc/charter-on-education-for-democratic-citizenship-and-human-rights-education

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