A modern democratic society depends on the civic engagement of its citizens. Growing cultural pluralism and economic globalization have brought greater complexity to all areas of life. Young people in particular need diverse opportunities to enrich their experience, to learn about civic responsibility, and to strengthen their communities. Furthermore, the topic is important since it shapes a path to overcome social inequalities in education and to use the untapped potential for—and declining interest in—political participation among youth.
With the 2007 Carl Bertelsmann Prize for Civic Engagement as an Educational Goal, the Bertelsmann Stiftung presents approaches in diverse countries and discusses how they meet the challenge to promote civic engagement in schools and early childhood education and care. The report also gives a short overview of the status quo of civic engagement in Germany and suggests some reforms for the future.