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In today's world, many European societies are characterized by an overall anonymousness, apathy and un-reflected self-centeredness of their citizens, going along with a lack of values  and sense of community, in particular the active awareness for certain human values, such as solidarity for others and attentiveness for the needs of people belonging to minorities or disadvantaged groups. Populist voices are becoming mainstream, suggesting negative connotations of "political correctness" and questioning a general consensus about respective democratic principles. Correspondingly, recent reports and studies, as well as daily media reports, show that verbal and physical violence, different forms of aggression - often against weak members of society - are increasing, more and more leading to escalating incidents and conflicts in everyday life, as well as on the internet (cyber violence, hate comments, mobbing etc.). For example, the UK Social Capital Report (Office of National Statistics) shows alarming indicators of fewer and fewer people stating they could rely on others (16%), while active participation, engagement with neighbours/communities is strikingly decreasing (32% of adults). The most alarming trend has been the drastic increase in hate crime, which, in 2017, increased by 29%.

It is obvious that, in such respects, traditional pedagogy has not sufficiently reached learners and does not provide concrete answers and solutions, which is particularly true for supporting low-skilled young adults, who lack chances in occupation and self-determined/reflected life management in general, and often regard themselves as belonging to a marginalised group of society. The empowerment of young people, especially in terms of strengthening their readiness and ability to actively participate in communities of society, goes in line with the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty and represents an important task within the European Union. 

For adult education in Europe, these challenges have brought a need for more holistic and multidisciplinary approaches, especially in terms of basic skills provision, which is where our project "Discover and Use Your Skills and Civil Courage - a new way of empowerment for young disadvantaged adults in Europe" comes in: the project partnership, first and foremost, addresses teachers, trainers, coaches, social workers, counsellors working with young adult learners (16-25) and wants to provide concrete approaches and results for their professional use. The project is based on the need to extend the conceptual and practical understanding of "basic skills" by civil courage awareness, skills and competences young people will require for active democratic participation as responsible and well-rounded citizens in times of societal changes. Respective professionalisation of adult educators (active at schools, training centres, career service organisations etc) will build on new (non-school) learning concepts, environments and activities, in order to enable educators to better reach their learners. 

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