The Future of the Council for Education in World Citizenship

The Council for Education in World Citizenship (CEWC), since its foundation in 1939, has made major contributions to the citizenship debate, the education of individuals, and to the development of policy and institutions in the United Kingdom.

There is every reason to continue this work into the future; the need has not diminished. CEWC has however lacked any substantial core funding to support its mission since the British Government withdrew its grant in 1994. This led to a formal suspension of operations for the organisation from 2001 until 2003 when a legacy bequest from Margaret Quass, former Director of CEWC, permitted a resumption of activities, albeit on a more limited scale than previously.

Over the past five years much useful work has been accomplished including: Substantial citizenship educational programmes focusing on Human Rights, Corporate Responsibility, and Globalisation; Model United Nations General Assemblies; Instrumental support for the revival of the UNESCO Associated Schools Network in the UK; and the establishment of international partnerships and networks.

Whilst funding has been received to deliver some specific projects, CEWC, despite extensive canvassing, has not succeeded in attracting sufficient financial support for its central organisation and infrastructure costs, which have been met to date largely by drawing on its reserves. The current level of activity can only be sustained for a short period of time before the reserves are finally depleted.

CEWC Executive Board, after careful consideration, concluded that there is no realistic long-term prospect of CEWC continuing as an independent organisation. The purpose for which CEWC was established in 1939 has not lost its urgency or relevance, but new and sustainable means of achieving it had to be found. It was agreed that we should seek a collaborative arrangement with another organisation in the field which has similar purposes, and an extensive conversation has since taken place with the Citizenship Foundation, with whom CEWC shared offices in St Swithin’s Lane in the City a decade ago, and worked together to advise on the government’s Citizenship Curriculum.

The aims of the Citizenship Foundation are compatible with, and in many ways similar to, those of CEWC. It is also a substantial mature organisation with good infrastructure and governance. The Citizenship Foundation fortuitously is already seeking to widen its international remit and perspective, and CEWC would bring complementary reputation and experience. The Citizenship Foundation has welcomed the approach by CEWC, and has proposed to invite the appointment of a member of the CEWC Executive Board to their Board of Trustees, and to establish a joint advisory board to develop a future programme. The CEWC brand may well be used to promote appropriate activities in the future but that will be one of the various issues for the joint advisory board to consider.

The Executive Board is unanimously of the view that the best way forward available is for CEWC to be dissolved as an independent organisation and incorporated fully within the Citizenship Foundation. The proposed arrangement will be mutually beneficial to both CEWC and the Citizenship Foundation and will permit the continuity of the aspirations of the founders of CEWC and sustain its legacy.

I hope that you will wish to continue to be associated with, and support, the work of CEWC in this new context.

Professor David Miles, CEWC Chair

Views expressed on this blog are not necessarily those of the Citizenship Foundation.

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