Engaging Youth for an Inclusive and Sustainable Europe

Dates of implementation
01/01/2019 - 30/06/2021
Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Czechia
UNESCO Living Heritage Entity; UNESCO ASPnet


  • Strengthen the connections between young people, their heritage and education.
  • Raise awareness about the importance of safeguarding living heritage by integrating it in primary and secondary school-based education in the European Union.
  • Encourage exploring, teaching and learning about and with living heritage.
  • Engage young people to actively participate in safeguarding and transmitting heritage through new and innovative ways.

On January 2019, UNESCO launched the joint UNESCO/EU project ‘Engaging Youth for an Inclusive and Sustainable Europe’,that was initiated within the context of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018. Developed over a period of two and a half years, the project aimed at strengthening the connections between young people, cultural heritage and education.

This initiative proposed an innovative approach to education by inviting teachers and learners to explore their living heritage and foster learning not only about it, but also with it. The European Young Heritage Professional Forum and the initiative on ‘Raising awareness for and learning with intangible cultural heritage in European schools’ were the two main components. The latter focused on the importance of safeguarding living heritage, as well as finding means of integrating it in primary and secondary school-based education.

Teaching and Learning with Living Heritage

As one of the main components of the project, UNESCO carried out a series of activities in close collaboration with the UNESCO Associated Schools in the European Union (ASPnet members). These were planned and designed to help schools map the living heritage present in the school community and explore the ways of integrating the same in curricular and extracurricular activities.

Mapping experiences

An initial step of the project was to launch a survey aimed at identifying the experiences of ASPnet schools of integrating living heritage in school-based learning. As a result, a document (available in English and French) was developed that describes the survey design, an analytical overview of the pilot survey results, and highlights a number of short case studies in which teachers effectively integrated living heritage into their classroom activities. The survey also explored opportunities and challenges, revealing that learning with living heritage not only increased students’ awareness of ICH and taught them new skills, but also fostered greater self-awareness and social cohesion while stimulating their creativity and curiosity. Furthermore, it offers a set of preliminary recommendations to strengthen the integration of ICH in primary and secondary school-based teaching and learning across the European Union.

Pilot projects

A series of 10 innovative pilot projects integrating living heritage in core subjects was implemented in ASPnet schools in Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Lithuania, Poland, Spain and the Netherlands. These 10 selected school teams, consisting of one teacher and one learner (13 to 17 years old) per school, underwent initial training under the guidance of two UNESCO trained facilitators. Eventually, they developed and implemented pilot projects in their schools in close cooperation with their families, communities, local NGOs, cultural institutions, and other partners. These projects included, for example, the integration of the Glöcklerlauf celebrations of the Salzkammergut region of Austria, into several school subjects like German language, physics, art, computer-aided design (CAD) modules in computer classes, and an extracurricular project. Another pilot was developed as a cross-curricular project that integrated Rebetiko, a musical and cultural expression linked to song and dance in Greece, into the daily teaching of literature, English as a foreign language, physical education and computer classes. Detailed description of each of these pilot projects is available online.

Development of learning resource and guidance material

Based on the survey results and the lessons learnt from the 10 pilot projects, a set of awareness-raising resources and guidance material were developed with relevant information on integrating intangible cultural heritage in school-based education. This consists of a booklet with the key concepts of living heritage, a step-by-step guide on how to integrate living heritage within the existing curricula, 10 case studies, a set of practical tools, and a set of short films. This resource kit is conceived as a living document that will continue to be enriched.

Project Outputs


Initiated in the context of the European Year of Cultural Heritage (EYCH2018), this joint project has contributed to furthering the long-term objectives of the Year by encouraging young people to explore their cultural heritage and actively participate in its safeguarding and transmission. Furthermore, it has stimulated knowledge sharing and understanding of cultural heritage among young people, along with critical thinking on the function and meaning of heritage in their lives and the lives of their families, communities and societies. The advantages of incorporating intangible cultural heritage in educational content and pedagogy, whereby schools can reconnect with their surrounding communities was observed and its contribution towards achieving Quality Education (SDG4) was highlighted.

There are numerous benefits of integrating living heritage in school-based education that were noted by the participating schools, learners and teachers. These include gaining a better understanding of the diversity of their cultural heritage, the importance of safeguarding ICH for the future, its contribution to the learner’s well-being and improvement of learning outcomes, to name a few. The project also encouraged dialogue between generations, fostered respect and appreciation for cultural diversity and strengthened a sense of belonging and social cohesion.

This experience confirmed that by teaching subjects such as mathematics, physics, computer-aided design or literature with living heritage, schools can develop innovative approaches, contextualize the knowledge and demonstrate the importance of intangible cultural heritage in students’ everyday lives. It can also stimulate creativity and curiosity among students and contribute to safeguarding ICH. Such linkages, ideas and new approaches to teaching makes learning more exciting, engaging and accessible. It also considerably increases the quality and relevance of education.

“I never thought I would be interested in living heritage or that I could integrate it in my teaching. After this experience, as teachers, we understood that living heritage can be combined with any school subject.”

– Florian Englebrecht, teacher, Austria

Teaching and learning with living heritage

Teaching and learning with living heritage © UNESCO

See the main page for this project here.

The content of the projects and documents referenced in this platform do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of UNESCO, including designations employed concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.