The International Cooperation Centre was born in 2017 from the union of the Training Centre for International Cooperation (operating since 2008) and Osservatorio Balcani Caucaso Transeuropa (operating since 2000 within the Opera Campana dei Caduti Foundation in Rovereto).
The Training Centre for International Cooperation (TCIC) was established in 2008 according to the law 04/2005 of the autonomous Province of Trento on international solidarity. This law introduced a fixed percentage of the budget (0.25%) allocated for international development cooperation initiatives and it regulated TCIC, its main task being to contribute to the strengthening of competences and capacities of those working in the field to improve their effectiveness (OECD, 2005). TCIC becomes one of the two operational units constituting the ICC today: Competences for Global Society (CGS).
The Autonomous Province of Trento, the University of Trento, the Municipality of Trento, the Municipality of Rovereto, and the Opera Campana dei Caduti Foundation are currently partners of the ICC. A specific memorandum of understanding further regulates collaboration with the OECD Trento Centre.
The vision and mission of the ICC. Increasing interdependence between local and global levels requires all regions to strengthen their alliances with other regions to capitalise on their specific features, resources, and competences, in order to contribute responsibly to combating inequality and social and economic inequity. International cooperation is proposed as a strategic and practical tool, as it helps to develop effective local responses to global environmental, economic, and social issues; to reduce inequalities and promote social development and cohesion; to interpret the autonomy and self-government of Trentino (an autonomous province in the Italian legal framework) as opportunities to promote its informed and responsible role in the national, European, and international context.
2. Global citizenship education
UNESCO defines GCED as the set of knowledge, attitudes, skills, and competences that make each person a “global” citizen. What defines “global” is still far from being identified and unequivocally recognised, but it is nevertheless assumed that it has to do with an expanded perception of the world, with the ability to see and perceive “others”, who are different from oneself, as bearers of culture, interests, and rights, with the ability to understand the effects of individual actions (first and foremost their own) not only at a micro-level but as part of a highly interrelated system. This vision makes GCED an educational exercise which is at the same time expression and necessity of complex contemporary societies. This is because GCED presupposes the possible and actual immersion of each individual, albeit to different extents, in a system of global and continuous interactions and therefore in a potential condition of lifelong learning. It is not difficult to see in these characteristics the deep connections and features common to GCED and to international cooperation at large, such as an opportunity for reciprocity, as it has been interpreted and carried out over the years by the ICC through its own activities.
Since 2015, the ICC (TCIC and then CGS) has chosen to pay increasing attention to GCED since it introduces elements that are of absolute importance and materiality in the training for international cooperation. First of all, a paradigm shift from a vision of meeting others driven by a feeling of closeness regarding their needs or hardships, to one based on common citizenship, with shared ownership of rights and obligations. Thus, it involves recognising the centrality of citizenship as such in a relationship of exchange, not of help, among people. This perspective reversal also has important consequences for training, starting from the target audience: GCED is not a body of knowledge for professionals, or for a select few, or enthusiasts. It is, by definition, a body of knowledge for each and every one. And it is not even optional anymore, but rather it is a reality of living in complex societies of the third millennium.
The Global Teachers Centre. Since 2018 ICC has activated the Global Teachers Centre, a thematic hub that offers consulting, training, and coordination services to teachers and associations involved in GCED in formal and non-formal contexts. The GTC offers teachers the opportunity to discuss GCED-related topics: environmental sustainability, interculturalism, human rights, social justice, global interdependence, etc… Another aim is to support teachers in the implementation of interdisciplinary GCED courses by helping them network with regional associations and simultaneously offering schools the possibility to be informed about and involved in the local, national, and European projects in which the ICC is involved. Throughout the school year, the GTC offers training activities for teachers of all levels with the goal of promoting GCED competences in line with Provincial Law (art. 2 paragraph F of Provincial Law n.5 of 7 August 2006) to integrate global themes into curricular programmes. The ICC is accredited by the Provincial Institute for Research and Educational Experimentation for the recognition of training hours as in-service training, and actively collaborates with the UNESCO office in Venice.
In addition to Profadel, ICC collaborates within the following networks:
- along with the OECD and the EAFIT University of Medellin, is among the promoters of the CODEL-LAC Network (Red Comunidad y Desarrollo Local en América Latina y Caribe), which brings together Latin American institutions and civil society organisations involved in sustainable local development.
- At the European level, the ICC has been part of the DARE (Democracy and Human Rights Education in Europe) network since 2016, when it participated in the Networking European Citizenship Education conference in Zagreb. Approximately 50 civil society organisations from 26 European countries have joined the network with the goal of improving the quality of democratic citizenship education and human rights education. The DARE network aims to strengthen their recognition, visibility, and dedicated resources in formal and non-formal European education systems.