European University Cyprus (CYPRUS)
European University Cyprus (EUC) was founded in 2007 and developed out of Cyprus College, which was established in 1961. Today, EUC operates five Schools, namely, the School of Humanities, Social and Education Sciences, the School of Business Administration, the School of Sciences, the Medical School, and the School of Law, with the mission to educate students for successful careers and life achievement, to understand and serve the needs of society, and to create knowledge through research and innovation. EUC has participated in more than 200 projects funded by a number of programs and organizations such as the Horizon2020, Erasmus+, 7th Framework Program, Lifelong Learning Programme 2007-2013, Directorates General of the European Commission, the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation, United Nations, and governmental bodies. In the last 3 years, the University has accumulated approximately 4M euros in research funding, while it ranks third among the Cypriot universities in terms of total funding from Horizon2020 (first among private universities). Research activity is primarily carried out by a number of research centers, laboratories, and other kinds of specialized settings such as clinics and innovation centers (http://euc.ac.cy/en/research/research-centers).
Prof. Marios Vryonides is the Dean of School of Humanities, Social and Educational Sciences at European University Cyprus, where he is Professor of Sociology, Sociology of Education and Research Methods. He received his PhD from the Institute of Education, University of London (2003). From 2004 until 2009 he was visiting lecturer at the Institute of Education – University of London. He has taught at Anglia Polytechnic (now Ruskin) University (2001-2003) in the UK and the University of the Aegean (2004-2007) in Greece. He is currently the President of the Research Committee on Sociology of Education (RC04) of the International Sociological Association (2018-2022). Among the funded projects he has successfully completed are: EU funded project “Basic Skills Education and Training in Prisons” (2013-2015), EU funded project “Children’s Voices: Exploring Interethnic Violence and Children’s Rights in the School Environment” (2011-2013), EU funded project “Fundamental rights education in Europe” (2011-2013). He is currently working on the EU funded projects “Empowering Learning Models in Prison” and “European Media Coach Initiative”. He is also Cyprus’ national coordinator of the European Social Survey. Prof. Vryonides has published widely on sociological and educational issues in international peer reviewed journals.
Dr. Charis Xinaris is Associate Professor in Critical and Cultural Theory at European University Cyprus. She is the program coordinator of the MSc in Digital Media and Chairperson of the Department of Humanities. She was a member of the Scientific Committee of the European Science Foundation (ESF) Forward Look in “Media Studies: new media and new literacies” and co-author of the Final Report published by ESF. She publishes on gender, media and identity and is interested in promoting critical media literacy. Dr Xinaris currently coordinates the Erasmus+ KA3 co-funded project The European MediaCoach Initiative (EMCI) which aims at promoting and raising media literacy levels in partner countries and participates in the Erasmus+ KA2 project ASTRAPI which aims at preventing sexual harassment in the work place. Dr. Xinaris holds a doctorate degree and an MSc in English Literature from The University of Edinburgh, as well as a B.A. from the University of Cyprus. She previously taught at the University of Edinburgh for several years and was the director of the Scottish Universities’ International Summer School (SUISS) from 2004 to 2006. She has also taught at the University of Cyprus both as a Special Scientist and a Visiting Lecturer, and at the Politics and Culture Summer School organized by the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens annually for several years
Theological School of the Church of Cyprus (CYPRUS)
The “Theological School of the Church of Cyprus” (THEO) is a newly established (2015), private, non-profit, Higher Education Institution (HEI), based in Nicosia, Cyprus. The mission of THEO is to operate as an established academic, research, educational and spiritual centre, which prepares theologically qualified clerics for the Orthodox Church, as well as theologian-educators for secondary education and post-graduates who are able to serve the psychological well-being of individuals and groups in communities.
Currently, THEO offers an Undergraduate Programme (Theology, 4 years) and a Postgraduate Programme (Applications of Psychology and Counselling in the Community, 2 years). It holds an Erasmus+ Charter since 2017 and has many inter-institutional agreements with Departments of Religious Studies and Psychology in Europe. Students and staff are benefited from the opportunity for mobility for studies, practice and teaching. THEO is a live institution with educational, scientific, and social outreach activities to the society of Cyprus. THEO organizes scientific conferences, trainings, cultural midday meetings, volunteering activities in collaboration with NGOs. Seeking to promote the digital literacy of its staff and students, and to enhance teaching and learning, the School uses, since its establishment, a Virtual Learning Environment (Moodle).
Both the School’s seven permanent members of the academic staff and the rest of the research/teaching staff work hard to establish academic excellence and high quality of infrastructure, and exhibit high research potential. The variety of the academic staff’s research interests, ranging from Theology to Psychology, Ethics, History, Education and Culture, Classical Studies, Methodology and Statistics promote an interdisciplinary, dynamic educational and research institution with wide and great potentials. The School’s academic staff is very active and proactive; they are involved in various research projects, present and disseminate their work in national and international conferences, and publish their research as monographs, articles in peer-reviewed journals, and book chapters in collective volumes. Currently, members of the academic staff are actively engaged in the composition of a research proposal in relation to European priorities and utilising innovative teaching methods, evidence-based practices and advanced technology, in collaboration with national and international excellent partnerships.
Dr. Olga Solomontos-Kountouri is Associate Professor of Developmental Psychology and Head of Research and International Relations at the Theological School of the Church of Cyprus. She teaches at the undergraduate program of Theology. From 2010 to 2015 she held the post of Lecturer of Psychology and Coordinator of the Erasmus Office at the University of Neapolis in Paphos. She is the representative of Cyprus at the Council of the European Association for Research on Adolescence (EARA). She is a member of the Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA), the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development (ISSBD) and the Hellenic Psychological Society (ELPSE). She is also a member of the Prison Council and of the “Sofia Polyzoidou – Chrysseliou Georgiou Foundation – Holy Archdiocese of Cyprus’’. She coordinates and actively participates in the research team for the implementation of educational intervention programs for young prisoners. In cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Theological School of the Church of Cyprus and the Linz University of Applied Sciences, she introduced the Viennese Social Competence Program -ViSC in Secondary Schools in Cyprus 2012. In the context of ViSC and Comenius Regio Partnership programs, she has trained hundreds of teachers and students on intervention approaches and offered action plans for the prevention of bullying. She worked as a scientific coordinator on the EU funded project “Empowering Learning Models in Prison”. She has publications and presentations at international and local conferences.
Dr. Konstantinos Tsagkaridis is a Lecturer in Research Methods and Statistics in Psychology at the Theological School of the Church of Cyprus, where he teaches courses on Research Methods and Statistics at the postgraduate Psychology programme, as well as undergraduate courses at the undergraduate program of Theology. From 2013 to 2020 he held the post of Lecturer of Experimental Psychology / Nerupsychology and Coordinator of the Erasmus Office at the University of Neapolis in Paphos. He was awarded his PhD in Experimental Psychology from the University of Edinburgh and the Masters in Neuropsychology from the University of Bristol. His postgraduate studies were funded by the National Foundation of Scholarships (IKY) in Greece. His research, which focuses on Visual Perception and Perceptual-Motor interactions, has been presented in international conferences and published in high impact peer reviewed international journals. He is a member of professional associations such as the VSS, CNS, BPS and he is a reviewer for the journal “Frontiers in Human Neuroscience”. Dr. Tsagkaridis is an expert in basic and advanced statistical analyses. He is also familiar with large dataset analyses, eye-tracking, motor tracking and neuroimaging (MRI) data analysis. His experience with externally funded projects includes his role as a researcher in Erasmus+ funded project «Big Step: Learning through gamification» (2017-18), a project regarding novel ways of language learning for refugees and asylum seekers based on gamification and his role as Principal Investigator in the two-year study “Cultural Barometre” (2016-18) regarding the economic and social impact of cultural activities during and after the nomination of Pafos as the European Capital of Culture for 2017. In cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Theological School of the Church of Cyprus and the Linz University of Applied Sciences, he has also participated in the Viennese Social Competence Program –ViSC in Secondary Schools (2016-2020), where he trained teachers on intervention approaches and offered action plans for the prevention of bullying. Since 2019, he is also Management Committee substitute member for Cyprus on the COST action CA18106: The neural architecture of consciousness. The target of this action is to study the neural architecture of consciousness with a number of international and interdisciplinary research projects.
ENOROS Consulting Ltd (CYPRUS)
ENOROS Consulting Ltd was established in 2006 and has since been active in the field of Project Management in Cyprus and in the European area, providing comprehensive consulting services to the public and private sectors. ENOROS objective is to provide specialized knowledge in planning, management and evaluation of development programs and projects, both at national and European levels. It comprises three Directorates (Public Sector works, Private sector projects and International & European projects), which are appropriately staffed by 10 committed consultants with high scientific education and training, extensive experience and knowledge in thematic fields relevant to the company’s areas of expertise. Their disciplines have a wide range from Political Science, International Relations, Economics, Psychology, Sociology, Engineering, Agronomy, etc. The company also cooperates with external experts in various thematic areas (Human Resources, Rural Development, Tourism, Immigration policies etc) and has a wide network of local partners in the field of education and culture, youth and employment, justice and public order, human resource development, citizen protection, social innovation and entrepreneurship etc.
The main areas of expertise, proven by a number of successfully implemented projects, are:
a) Providing policy advice and technical assistance on reform and modernization strategies; local, regional, social and cultural development issues and promoting synergies with all government levels;
b) Designing and conducting qualitative research, development studies, surveys, etc.;
c) Providing support services (administrative, social, psychological, etc.) to vulnerable groups and individuals;
d) Managing EU Structural Funds for projects promoting regional development (resource allocation management, policy formation, establishment of transparent procedural guidelines and monitoring compliance);
e) Human resources planning and development (career management, monitoring and evaluation, design and delivery of customized VET and lifelong learning programmes, development of training methodologies, material and curricula, administration services, marketing and communications services).
f) Designing ICT Tooling Platforms to support learning processes and various target groups (i.e. businesses, young people and vulnerable groups, Institutions).
Enoros Consulting Ltd adheres to a Quality Assurance System and is certified according to EN ISO 9001: 2008 for Project Management of National and International Programs, which ensures the quality and effectiveness of the services provided.
Konstantinos Kloudas (Managing Director), economist, graduate of the Department of Organisation and Administration of Enterprises (Piraeus University), with a B.A. degree in Business Administration and Management, and a M.Sc degree from the Industrial Research and Technology Department. He possesses over 20 years of experience in strategic planning, EU project management and in the resource allocation management of EU funding, establishing procedural guidelines and monitoring compliance and accountability of project objectives. Also has extensive experience as evaluator of educational and employability projects (more than 60 evaluation funded from ESF / YEI, ERDF, Erasmus+, CEDEFOP, REC, Cosme, etc).
Irene Smeraidou (Project Manager / Researcher), sociologist with a specialization Economic and Regional Development in Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences. She holds Ms in MBA. She has 10 years’ experience in planning, management and evaluation of co-financed projects and programs and possesses knowledge of the design requirements of the Operational Programmes 2014-2020. She holds experience in managing National Projects co-financed by the EU structural funds, mainly from the European Social Fund and the ERDF to monitoring all the implementation phases of the project. She is familiar with the EU funding schemes and procedures and she participates as researcher staff in various European Projects (Erasmus+, LLF, Justice). She was the executive member at the co – financed program «Technical Advisor services on Grant Schemes» at the Department of Labour. She has worked in the Hellenic Organization of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises and Handicraft (HOSMEH) S.A. at the Department of Enterprise and Vocational Training. Mrs. Smeraidou has knowledge on the planning of educational Programmes, the provision of consultancy and training services.
Athena Kontou (Researcher), has Bachelor and Master’s degrees in French and European Studies. She worked at the European and International Affairs Office of the Ministry of Education and Culture, at the European Parliament Office in Cyprus. She was selected to be a representative of Cyprus in European Υouth Εxchange Programs in Italy, France, Portugal, Romania and Cyprus. In 2017-2018, she actively participated in both Cyprus Youth Parliament programs as young MP and in the Cyprus Youth European Parliament as MEP of the Committees of European and International Affairs. She has attended many seminars for female leadership and she was selected among others to be part of the Women Fit for Business Program (WF4B) 2019. She is currently an Ambassador of the European Cyprus Society, a Board member of Youth Organization Steps for Youth and an active member of the Russian Culture Center’s youth club.
Ministry of Justice and Public Order – Cyprus Prisons Department (CYPRUS)
In Cyprus there is only one correctional institution, the Nicosia Prison which is under the umbrella of the Ministry of Justice and Public Order. The Nicosia Prison currently hosts 654 inmates of which 38% are foreign prisoners and caters for all categories of convicted and arrest inmates of both sexes and of all age groups from 16 years and over. All the inmates have equal rights to participate in the various programmes of work, physical exercise, education, creative recreation etc. The policy of the Ministry of Justice and Public Order of the Republic of Cyprus and more specifically of the Prison Department is based upon four major issues: safety – humanitarian treatment – education – rehabilitation. That is why the Prison Department has as main missions to:
- secure detention of individuals sent to prison from the courts
- safeguard of detention conditions that guarantee the respect of human dignity
- provide equal treatment of detainees without any unfavourable discrimination of race, colour, sex, language, nation, social origin or convictions
- encourage self-esteem, feelings of responsibility of detainees with the benefit of education, vocational training, creative entertainment, therapeutic programmes, self -criticism and self – confidence awareness
- provide guidance and assistance for a new beginning of detainees in their life.
The Prison of Nicosia is divided in three sections: Closed Prison, Open Prison and the Guidance Center for out of prison employment and Rehabilitation of prisoners. The main aim of the administration is the reformation and rehabilitation of the inmates and so special emphasis is given on the educational, vocational and rehabilitation programmes for the detainees and their linear reintegration to the society.
Within the Department, there are 6 schools. Some educational programmes that are applied are
A: Educational programmes Greek language, English language, Russian language, Creative writing,
Social Psychology, Applied Mathematics, Folklore dance, music.
B: Vocational Rehabilitation Programmes, Plumping, Carpentry, cookery, computers. Moreover, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, a department of the technical schools has been created, within which the inmates have the opportunity to study and graduate.
The programmes are adjusted regarding the preferences of the detainees. Prison of Nicosia has a theatre group and for the first time, the team is comprised both of men and women and has received several awards. There is also a small shop where you can buy things that inmates make. Additionally, the Prison of Nicosia has a football team which participates in various tournaments and dance and music groups which participated in events inside in prison and out in free society. Nicosia Prison have established partnerships with various NGOs, voluntary organizations, red cross etc. Among the most relevant experiences of Nicosia Prison in CUP project domain area there are:
– GRUNDTVIG-project ‘Finding Education for Female Inmates/FEFI’ started in November 2013 with a two-year duration where ten partners from eight European countries cooperating on the subject of formal and informal education for adolescent and adult women in prison.
– From 2011 to 2013, five partners (CY-DE-ES-FR-TR) proposed ESM project based on the education of sentenced minors to react to what they observed: the situation at the end of the sentence escaped from any protocol and /or coaching process which led the youth quickly to reproduce crimes so to enroll them in a “career of recidivism “.
– A subsequent project ESM-YA intended to focus on adult population in order to:
- Promote and reinforce cooperation between the different areas/departments that relate with the development of young offenders (justice, health, education, culture, sport…)
- Prevent from recidivism through improved models of intervention strategies and program models (ie. to fight violence in peer-to peer situation).
- Facilitate and strengthen social and labour insertion of young offenders.
– Project Raising Awareness and Staff MObility on violent RADicalisation in Prison and Probation Services – RASMORAD PandP (www.rasmorad.org) aimed at promoting and enhancing judiciary cooperation in criminal matters to fight against radicalisation leading to violent extremism and to counter terrorism.
Athena Demetriou. Since March 2013, she works for the Minister’s Office at the Ministry of Justice and Public Order as an expert in custodial matters. She designed the reformation of the prison system as well as the strategic planning of the Nicosia Prison. She supervises Prisons Projects and she has a daily cooperation with the Minister and the Prison Director. She represents prisons and/or the Ministry in many committees and participates as an expert at high level meetings on matters related to detention, at a national and international level. Since 2008 she lectures at the police academy, for all ranking levels on the following issues: International Conventions and the application of Human Rights; Police Ethics and prevention of Corruption; Police Professional behavior; Treatment of Detainees; Conditions in Detention; Illegal immigrants in Detention; Human Rights in detention; Protecting Human Rights while combating Terrorism.
Tasos Trattonikolas, works at Cyprus Prison Department since 2004: for seven years he was involved in the security system of the Central Prison. Subsequently he has worked for two years in office receipts and dismissals of offenders which is one of the crucial duties of the prison institution. The last ten years he has been responsible for European programs, head of the school for wardens and trainer for young and adult detainee’s in domains which are related to social skills, etc.
He is responsible for the following European programs at the Department of Central Prison in Cyprus: CUP – Convicts Upskilling Pathways, Ready go (SPORT IN PRISON TO SUPPORT THE ACQUISITION OF INFORMAL SKILLS TO HELP INMATES TO BETTER PREPARE THEIR REINTEGRATION INTO SOCIETY), L.EAP Learning in prison (star project), ESM Education for young sentenced adults (star project), A new way of social skills, F.E.F.I Finding Education for Female Inmates, CLAP Convicts Liberty Aid Project, MYCOMPASS, EUGANGS, ILA Employability, EDUCATION FOR SENTENCED MINORS AND YOUTH (ESM – YA).
Iakovos Stylianou, is the education coordinator for the prison inmates, within the Nicosia Prison Department. He has graduated from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in communication and mass media, with a Bachelor Degree in July 2004. After that, he graduated from San Francisco State University, in the area of Management of Special Needs Education Institutes and after he obtained his Master degree in Criminology from the University of Nicosia. He has more than 10 years of experience in adult education and has been partner of Ministry of Education and Culture and Cyprus parental schools. He is also active member of researches, relevant with youth offenders and prevention of crime.
Asociatia de Terapie Familiala si de Cuplu Timisoara – ATFCT (ROMANIA)
The association aims at training and supervision professionals working in the field of psychology, pedagogy, medicine, social assistance, education, including also students of these areas. Family and Couple Therapy Association Timisoara – ATFCT also considers the provision of assistance – psychological, psychotherapeutic, pedagogical, medical, social, and educational – to people in difficulty, individuals as well as groups, and to offer expertise in various fields of psychology, pedagogy, social work, medicine, justice (offenders) psychotherapy and complementary therapies.
Experts of the ATFCT organise training sessions, workshops, conferences, and seminars on
Dr. Alina Oana Zamosteanu. President of ATFCT, Psychologist, PhD in forensic psychology, Psychotherapist and Trainer in Family Systemic Approach, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Psychology (Tibiscus University of Timisoara) holder of the Psychocriminology course – among others – within a master degree program. Works also as a psychologist for the Centrul de Reeducare Buzias. She was member in working groups aiming the improvement of young offenders’ personal development; therefore she is one of the author of psychological programs for young offenders. Moreover, her area of interest reflect the children right, therefore she was one of the Romania representative at the Committee on the Rights of the Child (Geneve, 2009). She held multiple training courses (i.e. to experts in the forensic field for the Akershus Universitetssykehus HF, Lorenskog, Norway “Psychological Intervention in the Forensic Field”), and has published numerous studies in the field of forensic psychology (e.g“E-learning and Use of Computer in the Forensic Field” ,2009).
Certified as trainer in Systemic Therapy, she is leading in this moment 6 groups of trainees in Romania. She has a lot of experience regarding the development, implementation and coordinating European Projects. In this respect, she has lead an ESF co-funded project for the development of its staff (2010-2012), and has acted as partner in LLP projects: 2009 Grundtvig partnership e-Learning education for prisoners and prisoners professionals, 2011 Grundtvig Multilateral Convicts Liberty Aid Project – CLAP, 2012 Leonardo Da Vinci My Community Passport – Key Competencies for Minor Offender Reintegration, PEBBLE project, 539622-LLP-1-2013-GR-Grundtvig-GMP, De-Schooling in School:Re-shaping school practices to bring motivation, grit and choice in disadvantaged youth learning, 2015 -1-RO01-KA201-015049Validation and Motivation for (in)formal Learning in Prison, 2015-1-UK01-KA204-013882
She has lead also different Erasmus projects: LITERACY EDUCATION IN PRISON: POLICIES, PRACTICES, ETHNOGRAFIES OF A ‘THIRD SPACE’ GRU-13-GRAT-21-TM, ILA Employability Project, 2014-1-RO01-KA200-002856, CHANGING YOUTHstories Mapping risks , diagnosing needs and modelling multimodal intervention towards personal growth and social inclusion of young people in difficult situations”, 2016-1-RO01-KA205-023754
EPPEA Association (LATVIA)
EPPEA is a non-profit non-governmental organisation registered according to the Latvian laws. EPPEA units probation officers, prisons teachers, sport instructors and people who are interested in prison education. Key overall objectives include developing innovative offending prevention strategies, improving prison education methods and tools and contributing to resettlement support services, thus helping to reduce levels of re-offending. The aim of EPPEA is to support and assist the professional development of persons involved in education in prison through European co-operation. “Education in prison” is defined as education provided for all persons who are under the supervision of the judiciary, whether sentenced or awaiting trial, and whether serving a sentence in prison or in the society. Another aim is the creation of correctional programs for convicted persons, which will assist the persons’ resocialization process and prevent the new crime. The association works in close contact with Latvian State Probation Service and Department of Imprisonment Places in the implementation of projects and non-formal/informal educational activities. Association has close connections with the Programme for Education in Prisons within Daugavpils University.
Grants and projects’ funds are the source of finance. The number of paid staff depends on the projects’ activities and varies from 3 to 10. The association members widely involve to voluntary activities, right now 25 persons take part at voluntary projects. The number of learners – 180 persons.
Aina Vilcane, the chairperson of the association. Mg.paed., Probation Officer, Diploma work „Social Pedagogical Work for Juveniles – offenders’ Resocialization on Remand; Certificate for implementation of Thames Valley Sex Offenders Programme at State Probation Service – 2011. Certificate for The School of Life – 2008, the leader of correctional programme working out team. Violence Prevention program – 2006, working out team member. Has obtained the certificates for correctional programs for inmates: Certificate for Work with aggressive clients – 2006; Certificate for Respectful relationships – 2006; Certificate for EQUIP program for juveniles – 2005. Contact person in Latvia for EPEA, European Prison Education Association.
Associació Social Andròmines (SPAIN)
Andromines is a non-profit organization founded in 1993 as a local and community response to the sharp increase of the unemployment rates in the municipality of Montcada i Reixac, and the lack of job opportunities that pushed a significant amount of people to a very difficult situation. We are an autonomous and self-sustainable organization, and our main aim is to provide integration opportunities for disadvantage people through the development of the digital skills and media literacy, and new jobs on waste recycling and re-use, joining social and environmental criteria.
Regarding social aspects, within our 26 years of operation, about 12.000 people had developed technical skills within our training programmes and/or they have received professional orientation.
Since 2007, we have been cooperating with the Secretary of Criminal Sanctions, Rehabilitation and Victim Support of the Catalan Government by implementing ICT and digital literacy training programmes for inmates in Catalan prisons. We have been implementing training activities in 7 different prisons to develop the digital skills and media literacy of more than 9.500 prisoners.
At present, we have a total number of 36 people working on social and environmental projects, 7 of them focusing on training programmes and skill development on prisons.
This project proposal is framed and adapted to the Catalan Prison Rehabilitation Model in force. It fits into intervention models based on the development of new skills and actively applies the principle by which “prisoners need to acquire habits and learn communication and relationship skills that enable them to integrate (i.e., be in socially adaptive contexts and develop personally in a healthy and prosocial way).”
Between 2018 and 2019, Andròmines and the Secretary of Criminal Sanctions, Rehabilitation and Victim Support are implementing virtual reality (VR) and robotics (R) workshops in the penitentiary centres. First, we provide VR/R training for instructors of the ICT Òmnia points in four prisons. Later, these newly trained instructors replicate the VR/R training workshops in other penitentiary centres, with the aim of helping the prison inmates to acquire new knowledge and skills. As currently organized, the final beneficiaries of these training workshops are adult inmates over 21 years old of the penitentiary system.
Núria Sau San Luis, has 15-year experience in the management of social and environmental programmes targeted to disadvantaged people.
University degree in Environmental Sciences by Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) in 2003. She has high team coordination skills & good communication skills. She speaks fluent English, Spanish and Catalan.
Athens Lifelong Learning Institute (GREECE)
The Athens Lifelong Learning Institute is a research and education institute, based in Athens, Greece. It has the mission to foster and enhance innovation processes mainly in the areas of education and lifelong learning, human capital development, knowledge society and social inclusion.
The Institute exhibits an active interest in a number of social issues such as social exclusion, discrimination and suppression of human rights and has attempted through the implementation of innovative learning methodologies to moderate their impact.
The Athens Lifelong Learning Institute contributes to the education ecosystem through R&D activities, creating open education programmes, collaborating and promoting collaboration with advanced scientific organisations and organising educational events. It has a long experience in the development of educational curricula and programmes that keep abreast to the new developments, social demands and European priorities and endorses a firm belief that real-world problem-based learning and innovative teaching methods inspire curiosity and improve learning ability, especially for disengaged and disconnected learners.
Our team is comprised of professionals in the fields of adult education, lifelong learning and human capital development which work together with the ultimate goal of human capital development and social inclusion in a local, national and European level. People working or cooperating with the Athens Lifelong Learning Institute have provided the Institute with the energy and vision to continue promoting high quality services and new ideas in the fields of vocational training, adult education and social inclusion. Our team of 8 staff members represents a rather unique integration of multidisciplinary expertise and “innovative thinking” drawing on a comprehensive and diverse knowledge base combining research methods and their application, network development and implementation, policy analysis and valorisation of innovative practices; while, our team of 10 volunteers provide invaluable services in fields of employment, education, mentoring and social and psychosocial support. Moreover, the Institute has a large pool of expert associate partners [researchers, adult trainers and educators] from which it regularly draws professionals to staff the lifelong learning activities and its research projects.
Our services benefit more than 500 practitioners, children, youth & professional; more than 50 organizations; while currently, the Athens Lifelong Learning Institute services benefit, on a weekly basis, more than 100 persons (practitioners, trainers, trainees, volunteers, children and youth) and more than 20 national and transnational partner organizations.
The Athens Lifelong Learning Institute has also a substantial experience in the development, implementation and management of sophisticated national and international projects, collaborating in partnership with several organizations, such as Universities, adult education providers, civil society organisations, NGOs, European expert organizations and research institutes, both from the private and public sectors.
Experience in the Field of Prison Education
The Athens Lifelong Learning Institute has managed to establish an expertise in devising innovative learning and empowering methodologies that enable all people to actively participate in the social, political, cultural and economic life within their community. The guiding principle in the methodologies developed by the Athens Lifelong Learning Institute is to adapt existing systems and structures to the diversity of human needs – not the other way around. Through its work, the Athens Lifelong Learning Institute contributes to the combating of poverty and exclusion while at the same time fostering development.
The Athens Lifelong Learning Institute is unique in its research and expertise in the field of social and economic integration and personal empowerment of vulnerable social groups such as low-skilled unemployed, prisoners and ex-prisoners, Roma, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, people residing in remote areas, ethnic and religious minorities etc.
In this same context – on a national level – the Athens Lifelong Learning Institute has developed a distinctive knowledge in Greece in the field of prison education, mainly through its involvement in a variety of activities that target the empowerment and successful (re)integration of one of the most excluded social groups, that of (ex)prisoners and the continuous upskilling of the penitentiary staff. The Athens Lifelong Learning Institute, currently demonstrates, effective working relationships with all major penitentiary institutes in Greece and encompasses in its team all major researchers in the field of prison education and rehabilitation on a national level.
Ourania Xylouri is the founder and Managing Director of the Athens Lifelong Learning Institute. She has been awarded a B.A. in Sociology and an M.Sc in Human Resources and Employment Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), UK. Ourania Xylouri has a wide range of experience in lifelong learning initiatives and a focus relating to human capital development and social inclusion. She has been the project manager in a series of large and complex projects.
Margarita Defingou has been actively involved in adult education since 1982, from various positions and on different fields of expertise, such as a Consultant of the Greek Minister of Education, a member of the European Bureau of Adult Education etc. Margarita Defingou is a member of a number of professional bodies that are active in the field adult education. Currently she is the Project Manager at the Athens Lifelong Learning Institute, developing and implementing national and European projects on social inclusion, fundamental rights and socially excluded youth.