Schools in Austria on the Path to Become European Parliament Ambassador Schools

More+More+ ♦ Published: September 26, 2022; 23:06 ♦ (Vindobona)

With a full-day kick-off event with European Parliament members Hannes Heide and Thomas Waitz at the House of the European Union in Vienna, teachers from 20 schools, started the Ambassador Schools Program of the European Parliament for the school year 2022/23.

The European Parliament offers a special program for schools in the field of European politics, which enables participating schools to have their school certified as an "Ambassador School of the European Parliament". / Picture: © Flickr / Dimitar Nikolov / [CC BY-SA 2.0(]

The aim of the "Ambassador Schools of the European Parliament" program is to promote awareness of Europe and the European Parliament as well as European democracy among young people.

The program is a Europe-wide program of the European Parliament and was implemented in Austria by the Liaison Office of the European Parliament together with the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research and the polis center.

The certification is based on the implementation of six predefined criteria of the program, which were evaluated by the European Parliament and the Zentrum polis during a visit to the school.

A kick-off event for ambassador schools

Among other things, MEPs Hannes Heide (SPÖ) and Thomas Waitz (Grüne) spoke to the teachers about their work in the European Parliament and emphasized the importance of legislation and European democracy. Conversely, the MEPs appreciated the commitment of the participating schools.

MEP Heide explained the importance of familiarizing children and young people "with the EU and its institutions as early as possible and raising their awareness of the European idea." According to Heide, the European Parliament's Ambassador Schools are a success story and a prime example of how this goal can be achieved. Thomas Waitz emphasized the important role of teachers "for political education and young people's knowledge of the EU." According to Waitz, it is all the more important to maintain direct contact with these ambassadors.

European political commitment is rewarded

The European Parliament has been offering a special program for upper secondary schools since the 2016/2017 school year. Teachers can take part in training and professional development in the field of European politics and have their school certified as a "European Parliament Ambassador School" by setting activities around the EU.

The candidate schools for the title "Ambassador School of the European Parliament" participate in a specially developed European and democratic policy program. This program includes in-service training activities for teachers and school-based activities around European integration, democracy, and EU values.

If these schools meet all the criteria at the end of the program, they can call themselves "European Parliament Ambassador Schools" in the future. At the same time, they become part of an EU-wide network of more than 1,500 schools that maintain particularly close cooperation with the European Parliament. The program has been in place in Austria since 2017, and 86 schools from all federal states have been certified so far.

European Parliament - Liaison Office in Austria