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EU Talks for Sixth Formers: Information for Speakers


About Civitas

Civitas was formed in 2000 as a politically non-partisan think-tank. Our research agenda includes heath, education, crime and family policy, as well as other issues including social cohesion and civil society. The underlying purpose of Civitas is to deepen public understanding of the legal, institutional and moral framework that makes a free society possible. Our work is described here.

The EU Education Project

The aim of the EU Education Project is to encourage informed debate about the EU among students. We believe that students should be given the opportunity to form their own opinions. However, many of the existing educational resources lack balance.

With this in mind, Civitas' EU Education Project is attempting to provide a degree of objectivity. We provide talks in schools and run an annual National 6th Form Conference on the EU. We also arrange debates on the EU, in conjunction with the European Movement, which involve both pro-EU and EU-sceptic advocates.

Alongside this, we have recently completed a new educational resource for A-Level students and teachers on the EU, called EU Facts, that is available online. This consists of 85 cross-linked factsheets, developed in conjunction with a panel of expert teachers and refereed by both sides of the EU debate to help ensure balance. Containing factual information and arguments for/against various aspects of the EU, we hope this resource will help the many teachers who have pointed to a dearth of good-quality education resources on the EU for A-level subjects.

How can you help?

To facilitate our talks programme, we operate a network of volunteer speakers to give talks on the EU or participate in EU debates. Our speakers are drawn from a wide variety of backgrounds, including MPs, MEPs, peers, business leaders, journalists and activists and represent a range of opinion: some support the EU, some merely have reservations about further EU integration, whereas others favour full withdrawal from the EU.

What is the commitment?

In general, we will ask speakers who are keen to give talks or who live in poorly-covered areas to speak up to once a month, but most people do not give more than two or three talks a year. We have no expectation that a speaker will accept an invitation to speak, and are always happy to ask other members of our network if a date or location is not convenient.

Unfortunately, because Civitas is wholly dependent on private donations for its work and accepts no government money, we cannot offer any payment for talks in schools. However, schools are usually happy to pay expenses on request.

We also have occasional meetings for speakers, where we discuss the latest arguments about the European Union, and how best to present them in schools. We intend these meetings to be a service to our speakers, and there is no expectation that you will attend.

Can you help me in preparing my talk on the EU?

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we are able to offer the following publications free to all our speakers upon request (please contact our EU Project Director, Natalie Hamill, at natalie.hamill@civitas.org.uk):

A Cost Too Far? by Ian Milne (Civitas 2004)
An analysis of the costs and benefits of Britain's EU membership.

Should We Stay? Or Should We Go? by Lord Pearson of Rannoch and Stephen Pollard (Civitas 2005)
Two writers debate the European question.

Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union by Rodney Leach (Profile Books 4th Ed. 2004)
An invaluable reference source for anyone with an interest in EU politics.

The Red Tape Economy by Graeme Leach (Civitas 2005)
A study of the effects of increasing regulation on the British economy.

(To order any other Civitas publications, please visit our online shop and order in the usual way).

To assist speakers, we have also prepared two Powerpoint Presentations, designed to be used as the basis for giving an EU talk. The first is intended to give an introduction to the EU for students without much (or any) prior knowledge, whereas the second focuses much more heavily on the EU-sceptic arguments. This is intended to trigger debate among students who have studied the EU in some form.

To supplement both sets of slides, we have compiled a factfile for speakers, that contains many important statistics on the EU and its Member States. We have also summarised the arguments presented at the European Foundation's 2006 conference in Prague on the future of the EU. All these resources can be downloaded here:

The EU: An Introduction from the Eurosceptic perspective (large file: Ppt)
The European Union: A Eurosceptic View (large file: Ppt)
European Economic and Monetary Policy (large file: Ppt)
Speakers' Factfile on the EU (pdf)
The future of the EU: Where do we go now? Summary of talks. (large file: Ppt)

Feedback

We wholeheartedly welcome feedback about our work and any constructive criticism to help us improve the EU Education Project. Please email our EU Project Director natalie.hamill@civitas.org.uk.