A new two-year project funded by the European Union’s ERASMUS+ agency, D-Reskill@University, is an important front in the global battle between democracy and authoritarianism. The big question: will the United States of America step up to help?
In early October 2022, I will be in Paris to give a talk at Sorbonne University in connection with the European Union funded D-Reskill@University project. The project is led by Sorbonne University and includes participants from the University of Milan, the University of Barcelona, the University of Budapest, the Paris-based Foundation Maison des sciences de l’homme (FMSH), which was established after WWII to promote democratic values and academic freedom, the Italian-born entrepreneur Francesco Bullini, and ALFHEIM Consulting.
The project’s goal: designing a new, more flexible, and inclusive method of skills assessment and job-training to improve economic mobility within Europe. The project addresses an important need, not only for individual workers in Europe, but also for the preservation of democracy and freedom itself. The project is initially focused on careers in chemistry and data sciences, but the larger goal is the creation of a modernized technology mediated system of lifelong learning that can be applied to other occupations over time. As this work unfolds, one key question is how, or even if, U.S.-based higher education institutions, businesses, and the U.S. government will participate in and support the effort. The stakes are enormous because the answer to this question will help determine the outcome of the global fight between democracy, freedom, and fascism.
The alarming, growing global conflict between fascist, authoritarian forms of government versus freedom and democracy is typically seen primarily through the lens of its associated military conflicts, as witnessed by Russia’s unjustified war on Ukraine, along with escalating fears that Russia’s ally, China, may soon invade Taiwan under a similar Putinesque guise of national reunification. In response, freedom loving countries led by the U.S. are pouring billions of dollars into providing weapons, ammunition, and other military resources to keep the fascist threat on its heels or, at least, as far away from the U.S. as possible.