Universal National Service (SNU) – the education programme geared to national remembrance
The Service National Universel (Universal National Service, or SNU) is for all young people aged 15-17 years. Its purpose is to strengthen the national cohesion of young people around republican values and promote civic engagement among the younger generation.
Download the booklet presenting the Service National Universel (SNU)
SNU consists of three stages, the first two of which are compulsory: a two-week cohesion trip; a community service assignment lasting a minimum of 12 consecutive days or 84 hours, performed outside school time in the year following the cohesion trip; an optional placement lasting a minimum of three months.
Phased in gradually since June 2019, the idea is for Universal National Service to become widespread. For the time being, its implementation relies on volunteers, and anyone can enrol to become a fully participating citizen.
Stage 1: The national remembrance content of the cohesion trip
Details of the aim and national content of the cohesion trip are provided on the SNU website.
As part of the cohesion trip, the Ministry of the Armed Forces offers a Defence Remembrance Day, comprising a 60-minute remembrance module devised and run by the DPMA, in partnership with the National Office for Veterans and Victims of War (ONAC-VG), to raise young people’s awareness about remembrance issues and heritage.
This module aims to get across why national remembrance is so important, what it enables, and why and how it should be preserved.
- It begins with the screening of a film, structured around three main themes, which serves as a basis for discussion, giving young people the chance to express their views, gain a better grasp of remembrance issues and question commemorative practices.
- Next comes a learning activity, in which young people play a lead role, giving them an insight into the organisation and main stages of a ceremony.
- Lastly, a presentation about the period of community service undertaken in Stage 2 of the SNU provides an opportunity for young people to put the values that unite us into practice.
Stage 2: Community service assignments
The SNU website provides details of the aim and content of the community service assignments.
Community service assignments in the field of remembrance may take the form of a wide variety of initiatives, on remembrance sites, in ceremonies, with memorial associations and veterans’ groups. They are a practical way of bringing national memory to life and passing it on to the younger generation.
The varied choice of community service assignments available means that everyone should be able to find one to suit their preferences and skills. Download the 2019 list
These optional three-month placements are for young people aged 16-25.
For the placements on offer in the sphere of remembrance, the DPMA gets involved, welcomes the young people and actions the ONAC-VG and its partners – veterans’ associations, the Museums and Memorials of Contemporary Conflicts (MMCC) network and the trinômes académiques (joint defence and education committees) – in order to offer a remembrance programme in keeping with the SNU’s goals.