Posts Tagged ‘NGO’

New group will turn Denmark into the birthplace for 21st century citizenship 

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

By Michael de Laine, Copenhagen, 5th June 2010 – Constitution Day

Danish society should be freer, more cohesive, more responsible and more tolerant, says Citizen 21, an organisation of all citizens who believe in democracy, humanity wherever it is, life in all its forms, freedom and peace. The organisation, which was officially launched today, also wants to spread these values around the world, just as the philosophy of Grundtvig has spread worldwide over the past 150 years.

Denmark is rich in islands, but it is not an isolated island in the world,” says Aziz Fall, the founder and resident of Citizen21, which terms itself an organisation of all citizens who believe in democracy, humanity wherever it is, life in all its forms, freedom and peace.

Officially launched today, Constitution Day, the organisation will work to turn Danish society into a freer, more cohesive, more responsible and more tolerant society that can become the birthplace for 21st century citizenship.

Using the Danish constitution – first signed on 5 June 1849 by King Frederick VII to mark Denmark’s transition to constitutional monarchy, thus putting an end to the absolute monarchy which had been introduced in Denmark in 1660 – as the background for Citizen21, Aziz Fall says, “Denmark has something to give to the world, and the time is right. We have the resources, the spiritual ballast and we have something in our mind. From this foundation we can build bridges and conquer the 21st century.”

He adds that doing this means the Danes themselves must wake up and become conscious and active citizens who will work to promote Citizen21’s ideas

The organisation “will draw on the country’s history in democracy, liberty and sense of social responsibility to show how a society can prepare for the challenges of the 21st century.

As well as turn Denmark into the birthplace for 21st century citizenship, Citizen21 wants to strengthen Denmark’s good reputation around the world. It will promote a more responsible civic society, where individual and joint responsibility go hand in hand, as well as consolidate the principle of freedom of expression, democracy and respect for diversity.

Aziz Fall, a Senegalese who came to Denmark 10 years ago, says the members of Citizen21 are “united by the single will to see the country more open, where everybody who lives here feels part of a human adventure where respect, dignity and active citizenship are a reality; where everybody is aware of their opportunities and obligations toward themselves, each other and the world around us.”

Citizen21 and the speakers at the official launch drew on the philosophy of Nikolaj Frederik Severin (N F S) Grundtvig, a Danish pastor, author, poet, philosopher, historian, teacher and politician whose philosophy gave rise to a new form of nationalism in the last half of the 19th century.

Grundtvig and his followers are credited with being very influential in the formulation of modern Danish national consciousness. It was steeped in the national literature and supported by deep spirituality.

An inspiration for many educationalists around the world, Grundtvig is regarded as the ideological father of the folk high school movement through his ambition for a school for life. Grundtvig believed schools should provide life-long learning preparing students for active participation in society and popular life, so practical skills as well as national poetry and history should form an essential part of the instruction.

Through his, for that time, highly unorthodox way of teaching, Kristen Kold, one of Grundtvig’s followers, gave the folk high schools a broader democratic basis in comparison to the initial religious focus.

Grundtvig was also active in discussions about the development of the 1849 constitution.

The founders of Citizen21 say they have no unity of political views or religious obedience or cultural background. They say they “are a pure reflection of the society and our belief is that the core values of democracy and humanity that founded our community provide us with tools to overcome differences and build a 21st model of society.”

Women’s organisations to demonstrate against DPP’s plan for greater gender inequality

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

By Michael de Laine, Copenhagen, 7th March 2010

At the approach of International Women’s Day (IWD) tomorrow, 8 March, Danish women’s groups are planning a demonstration against proposals by the Danish People’s Party (DPP) to increase gender inequality and return women to the kitchens.

Proposals by the Danish People’s Party to increase inequality between women and men, “return women to the kitchens”, downplay support of elderly citizens and ban employees in the public sector from wearing scarves have triggered plans for a demonstration by women’s groups next weekend.

“Prohibiting women from wearing scarves in their public sector jobs is not only deeply unsympathetic and discriminating it is also extremely stupid,” says Hakima Lasham Lakhrissi one of the people behind the planned demonstration.

Hakima chairs the Association of Danish International Women (FDIK) and is a member of the board of the Ethnic Minority Women’s Council (EMKR).

“There are so many different reasons why women wear scarves,” says Hakima, who does not wear the type of headscarf associated with women from ethnic minorities. “For some wearing headscarves is a religious act, for others it is simply a tradition – just as it was for ethnic Danish women a generation or two ago. But why should wearing a scarf disqualify these women from contributing to the Danish society that they see themselves being a part of?”

Noting that 8 March is International Women’s Day (IWD), Hakima says, “A lot of work has gone into getting these women on to the labour market – and this is starting to become successful. There is a real need for these women, who to a large extent care for the elderly. And now DPP is trying to destroy all this good work. DPP is damaging the efforts towards women’s equality and the proposals are detrimental to the many elderly who need their care. And what DPP wants is not least deleterious to integration.”

The demonstration will starts at Rådhuspladsen, Copenhagen city hall, on Saturday, 13 March, at 2.00 p.m. and will last an hour.