Augsburg University History Didactics Chair Hosts EuroClio at East China Normal University Shanghai Summer School

More than twenty Chinese students, history teachers and doctoral candidates visited the Chair of History Didactics at Augsburg University from 29 June until 11 July to take part in the first German-Chinese Summer School on Public History. EuroClio Director Jonathan Even-Zohar joined the summer school for two days and contributed to the programme with a discussion on the role of civil society and hisotry education across borders, as well as a series of talks with prominent University representatives.

The Summer School was planned by Prof. Dr. Meng Zhongjie, Vice Dean of the History Faculty at East China Normal University (ECNU) in Shanghai, and Prof. Dr. Susanne Popp with her team at the Chair of History Didactics at Augsburg University. Its aim was to discuss and develop ideas in the broad field of historical culture in research and mediation in a representative, diverse, theoretical and practically oriented way.

One objective was to look at the differences, similarities, perspectives, theoretical concepts and practical models of modern history mediation in two systems, which are politically, socially and culturally completely different.

The Summer School program included presentations, workshops, excursions and visits to school lessons. The main topics for these activities were the methods, media and institutions of history mediation in Germany and Europe. Another focal point was history teaching in schools providing general education; here participants of the Summer School concentrated on the basics and characteristics of history as a subject in schools, as well as the teaching aims, methods and media used in the lessons and the school books by comparing their use in Germany and China.

The concepts of memorial cultures in Germany were looked at, using the National Socialism, the holocaust and the Second World War as the topics of mediation. During visits to the memorial site at the former concentration camp in Dachau, and several places in Nuremberg participants discussed the ways Germany handles its historical responsibility.

The EU-project EMEE, which is looking into the contemporary history mediation in museums, provided an insight into conventional and modern concepts of museological history mediation. These insights as well as other museum and exhibition concepts were explored in numerous visits to museums in Augsburg, Munich, Nuremberg and Berlin.

The last aspect, which was discussed during the summer school, was the media of history education, particularly popular history magazines. The University of Augsburg was able to contribute to this aspect by using the results of the EU-research project EHISTO, which was completed successfully in 2014. Additionally, Dr. Stefan Bergmann, the editor-in-chief of DAMALS – one of Germany’s leading history magazines – provided further insight into the development of popular history magazines. The program of the Summer School was completed by lecturers from both Augsburg and Shanghai, and experts from Bremen, Berlin and Milan. The organizers were very happy that EuroClio-director Dr. Jonathan Even-Zohar visited the Summer School to present EuroClio and to have a discussion with the participants.

The Summer School is sponsored by the Gesellschaft der Freunde der Universität Augsburg e.V., the Deutsch-Chinesische Gesellschaft Augsburg e.V., the Huangshan Publishing House, Shanghai and the East China Normal University (ECNU) Shanghai.

Inclusion and Citizenship at the Forefront of New EU priorities in Education

EU action and Member States’ cooperation in the field of education and training is framed in a work programme – the Education and Training 2020 Strategic Framework (ET2020), which contains four strategic objectives and seven benchmarks. Following a mid-term evaluation, the Draft 2015 Joint Report of the ET2020 proposes new work priorities up to 2020. Highlighting the need to pursue a comprehensive lifelong learning approach, from early childhood education to adult education, the report rightly stresses the role played by education to contribute to employment and growth objectives as well as to building a fairer and more cohesive and democratic societyEUCIS-LLL also welcomes the emphasis being placed on good governance and the need to reinforce partnerships with social partners and civil society. It thus supports its formal adoption by the Education Council in November. Partially, this new direction is in tune with the EuroClio 2015 Helsingor Declaration.

EUCIS-LLL welcomes the adoption by the European Commission of the Draft 2015 Joint Report that represents a turning point in EU cooperation in the field by offering a balanced approach between the economic, social and civic goals of education. The Draft Report rightly highlights the main challenges Europe is facing such as increasing inequalities, unemployment, digitalisation, ageing and radicalization. If the four strategic objectives, which EUCIS-LLL supported, are maintained in the Draft Report, it urges to pursue their efforts in developing the third, “promoting equity, social cohesion and active citizenship”. This call shared by many civil society organisations has been heard, while action became urgent after the attacks in Paris and Copenhagen. EUCIS-LLL is now looking forward to the concrete measures and programmes that will follow the adoption of the Report.

Besides, the Draft Report emphasises the need to continue efforts to improve access to quality education for all. Providing high quality learning opportunities to all and especially to the most disadvantaged groups is crucial in getting people more engaged in society in its economic, political and social dimensions. As European history shows, rising inequalities go hand in hand with rising nationalism and discrimination. EUCIS-LLL had therefore called for a flagship initiative on “Inclusive Education” as concrete follow-up of the adoption of the Joint Report.

Finally, the Report announces measures to improve governance and relevance of the ET2020. EUCIS-LLL would like to stress the importance of partnerships between both sectors and actors. The LLL-HUB project shows that such partnerships are the key to implement comprehensive and efficient lifelong learning strategies at national and regional level and require proper coordination mechanisms and strong political. Trans-sectoral partnerships should also be strongly encouraged and supported within Erasmus+ at centralised and decentralised level. As the OECD Agenda for Action stresses, partnerships are the cornerstone to public service innovation. EUCIS-LLL and its members are thus eager to participate in meaningful dialogues with policy makers and in initiatives to contribute to a successful implementation of the strategy.

The European Civil Society Platform on Lifelong Learning (EUCIS-LLL) gathers 39 European networks working in education and training. Together, they cover all sectors of education and training including networks for secondary and higher education, vocational education and training, adult education and popular education; networks for students, school heads, parents, HRD professionals, teachers and trainers.

Contact: Audrey Frith, EUCIS-LLL Director, +32 2 893 2515,

Norwegian Partnerships for EuroClio ahead!

On 28-31 August, EuroClio Director Jonathan Even-Zohar travelled to Oslo as part of the EuroClio Secretariat Erasmus+ Key Action 1 Mobility fund in order to engage with members and partners in key countries. Mr Karsten Korbol, Board Member of HIFO, the Norwegian Association of History Education, had also invited him to provide a lecture about EuroClio and the methodological approach at the University of Oslo’s Teacher Training programme. As part of this trip, he was able to meet with key decision makers in the Norwegian Government, including in the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while education expert Ms Claudia Lenz at the European Wergeland Centre had organised an in-depth programme to meet and exchange views and ideas for future cooperation with EuroClio. EuroClio will continue to develop these partnerships in the coming year.

EuroClio sharing its views on history and peace education with a wide audience in East Asia

On 9-11 July EuroClio was presented to a wide public of educators, historians and students at the 6th Annual International NGO Conference on History and Peace in Seoul by EuroClio Director Jonathan Even-Zohar and Programme Director Steven Stegers. The conference was organized by the Korean-based International NGO History Forum with whom EuroClio has been cooperating since 2008.

For East Asia 2015 marks significant year of historical commemorations, with the 50th anniversary of the normalization treaty between the Republic of Korea and Japan, and of course the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. The conference gave special thought to these by raising the topic of 70 Years of Post-World War and the Task of Peace Building in East Asia.

EuroClio and the Conference established its first Europe-Asia Online Discussion, with history educators joining online from Italy, Montenegro, Poland and Slovenia. What followed were very frank, constructive, open and reflective discussions about the nature of history, conflict and the relationship between both, as well as the importance of establishing better dialogue for a peaceful future.

It was on this same topic that Director Jonathan Even-Zohar delivered a key-note lecture in Seoul, covering ‘History Education that Supports Young People to Deal with the Legacy of a Violent Past’. Following this presentation, the Korean Times conducted an interview with him, focusing on the discrepancies between Korean and Japanese historical perspectives and memory. You can find the Korean Times article here, whereas the more in-depth story can be found in the in the complete interview.

For further reading on the sensitive and complex inter-related history of East Asia we recommend the EuroClio Special Report “Korea and It’s Neighbours” by EuroClio’s founder and Special Advisor Joke van der Leeuw-Roord, which can be downloaded here.