Special Report on “History Education for Peace in East Asia and Europe” Conference Now Available

In July 2016 EuroClio hosted an History NGO Forum for Peace in East Asia conference “Teaching for Peace: History in Perspective”. It addressed international relations, history education and civil society in establishing sustainable peace in East Asia in a dialogue with Europe. The three day conference was organised in The Hague, Leiden, and Utrecht and gathered almost 100 scholars and educators from both Europe and Asia to discuss the themes of Historical Justice in Europe and East Asia, Addressing the History of Colonialism and World War II in Europe and East Asia, and Teaching Global History in the 21st Century.

Special report of the conference by Minuk Nam, PhD candidate in Korean Studies at Leiden University/LIAS in the Netherlands, is now published on the event page. The presentations during Teaching for Peace conference touched upon many questions dealing with nationalism, Euro-centrism, colonialism, and multiperspectivity, and in her report Ms. Nam reflects her own experiences in teaching history of East Asia in Netherlands, and the role of the teacher in bringing light to controversial narratives.

Find the report on the event page:

2016 International Conference on History Education for Peace in East Asia and Europe

Teaching for Peace in Practice – Challenges and Opportunities

Day 3 of the 2016 International NGO Conference on History Education and Peace in East-Asia and Europe

@ Utrecht University

The ‘2016 International NGO Conference on History Education and Peace in East-Asia and Europe. Teaching for Peace – History in Perspective’ as a whole, explores the role of international cooperation, history education and civil society in establishing sustainable peace in East Asia in dialogue with Europe. During the third and final public day, hosted by Utrecht University, the focus of the Conference was ‘How to Teach Global History in the 21st Century’. Leen Dorsman, historian and professor at Utrecht University, was the Chair of the Day. The day brought together a group of experts, speakers and participants from all over the world.

Leen Dorsman opened the day, together with Hellen Janssen (History teacher and Board member of VGN, History Teachers Association of the Netherlands).  To start the morning on topic, one of Leen’s students, presented a student initiative called ‘Dare to be Grey’, a public (social media) campaign that aims to put a stop to the polarisation that is dividing society by creating a platform with room for personal stories.

The day continued with several rounds of workshops. The first round consisted of two different workshops, one hosted by Hellen Janssen and the other one hosted by Bjorn Wansink (Assistant Professor in Education and Pedagogy at Utrecht University). In their workshops, Hellen and Bjorn shared their experiences on how history is being taught in European context. Bjorn Wansink focused on multiperspectivity and how this can be taught, by asking the participants to write down what they define as multiperspectivity. It was clear that there were multiple views and interpretations challenging the concept of one truth.

The second round of workshops was hosted by several speakers and presenters from the History NGO Forum for Peace in East Asia. Daesoo Lee (Chairperson at Asia Peace Citizen Network) gave an activist speech on the impact and destruction of the Nuclear Bomb and why nuclear energy thus should be boycotted. The destruction it brings to humans and their homes, for example in Fukushima, is unresolvable. By stating that production of these nuclear devices should be boycotted, Deasoo Lee opened the discussion with Seungwook Kim (professor of Hankuk University of Foreign Studies) and Chongho Beun (institute for Korea History and Culture Education).

After a few days of interesting panel discussions in an academic setting, Steven Stegers (EuroClio Deputy Director) and Judith Geerling (EuroClio Project Manager) changed the dynamic of the afternoon around the question ‘how can educators address those issues in their real teaching?’. They did this by presenting EuroClio’s online platform Historiana, followed by a workshop about a learning activity using life stories from the project ‘Decisions and Dilemmas. Learning about the EU from a Historical Perspective’. This workshop gave all participants a practical, active insight in how you could teach about the Post-World War Two years in the classroom by using the personal life stories of different people from all over Europe. At the end of the workshop, people were asked to name keywords which would describe the lives of the people from their life story. By receiving many different answers, it was made clear that there is no uniform description for the post-World War Two years in Europe.

Overall the day was filled with active working sessions and sharing many practices on how to teach about Global History and challenges and opportunities that arise.

Comparing and Contrasting European and East Asian History

Day 2 of the 2016 International NGO Conference on History Education and Peace in East-Asia and Europe

@ Leiden University, in partnership with Leiden Asia Center

‘The 2016 International Conference on History Education and Peace in East-Asia and Europe. Teaching for Peace – History in perspective’ as a whole, explored the role of international cooperation, history education and civil society in establishing sustainable peace in East Asia in dialogue with Europe. The second day was hosted by Leiden Asia Center in combination with Leiden University. This day had a focus of addressing the history of colonialism and World War Two in Europe and East Asia: Comparing and Contrasting. Remco Breuker, historian and professor in Korean Studies at Leiden University, was the Chair of the Day. The day brought together a group of experts, speakers and participants from all over the world. 

The day started with an opening by Remco Breuker, followed by a panel discussion between Juback Sin (HK research Professor from Yonsei University) and Ethan Mark (University Lecturer at Leiden University). This session, moderated by Kees Ribbens (Professor / Senior Researcher at Erasmus University and NIOD), started the discussion on how to ‘re-orient the history of World War Two in different perspectives’. The session was an inspiring start of the day, by contrasting both Europe and East Asia’s view on the History of World War Two.

This opening panel opened the dialogue with a day full of speakers and presenters. Two workshops, one hosted by EuroClio and one hosted by the History NGO Forum for Peace in East Asia, helped to understand the complexity of dealing with the past in the context of World War Two, in both Europe and East-Asia. Mikang Yang (Asia Peace & History Education Network) gave a presentation on the issue of sexual slavery by Japan and drew some conclusions on the ways to reach resolution. Clearly pointing out that even today, Japan hasn’t officially apologized for its crimes to these women. This workshop, with several speakers shed light on the urge of recognizing the war crimes and plead an official apology in respect to human rights and historical justice. The main concluding message from her presentation was that crimes committed by the Japanese government during World War Two can not be denied as supported by evidences, and victims of forced labour, sexual slavery and other types of torture should be recognized and perpetrators should be held responsible. The issue of comfort women stood on top of this responsibility.

Simultaneously, Stephanie Marsal (Senior Adviser at the Office of the OSCE), moderated a workshop that focused on ‘Dealing with the Past in History Education in Europe and Asia’. During this session, Friederike Mieth (International Nuremburg Principles Acadamy) spoke about the Nuremburg principles and how the Nuremberg Academy focuses on the fight against impunity for universally recognized international core crimes. Together with Ann Laure Lieval (Head of Europe Committee of APGH) and Joan Brodsky Schur (Education consultant), this workshop provided different views on how to teach about the difficult pasts of countries.

Followed by questions from the audience in both sessions, an interesting discussion was held. These discussions were plenary summarized by both moderators after the workshops. The day ended with a concluding panel and a festive dinner hosted by the Korean Embassy of the Netherlands during which the Ambassador shared his joy of hosting the delegation in the Netherlands.

Teaching about Historical Justice at the Europe-Asia Conference in The Hague

Day 1 of the International Europe-Asia Conference

@ The Hague Institute for Global Justice

The International Europe-Asia Conference as a whole, explores the role of international cooperation, history education and civil society in establishing sustainable peace in East Asia in dialogue with Europe. During the first day the focus of the Conference was Historical Justice in Europe and East-Asia, chair of the first day was Nikola Dimitrov (Senior Fellow at the Hague Institute) The Conference brings together experts, speakers and participants from all over the world. Many speakers expressed the symbolic value of hosting the conference in The Hague, International City of Peace and Justice and their hope for the conference and the possibility that it provides to facilitate a forum for exchange of insights between Europe and East-Asia, between academics and students.

The day started with opening speeches by Dr. Abiodun Williams (President of the Hague Institute), Ingrid van Engelshoven (Vice Mayor on Knowledge Economy, International Affairs, Youth and Education), Jang-Hie Lee (Head President of the History NGO Forum for Peace in East-Asia), Jonathan Even-Zohar (EuroClio Director) and the ambassador of the Republic of Korea in the Netherlands Jong-Hyun Choe, who began his speech by addressing the importance of memory: "We live by memory; it is a crucial part of our identity." In line with the aims of the conference he emphasized that "history does not stop in one country or a nation. Today we live in a very connected and interdependent world. It is therefore important to gain a common understanding of our history."

Historical injustice is the sum of all the gross crimes committed in the past. However according to Prof. Dr. Antoon de Baets there are two types of historical injustice: recent and remote. When historical justice is recent is means that the victims are still alive, when it is remote it means that all perpetrators and victims are dead. Professor de Baets, in his speech, put the emphasis on the victims rather than the perpetrators. He explained that "there are direct and indirect victims." Direct victims are clear, indirect victims are more difficult to define these are immediate family and persons who have suffered harm while trying to help victims. According to the professor perpetrators are always direct, never indirect.

He then raised the crucial question of: how to deal with historical injustice? When perpetrators are still alive society has a duty to investigate and prosecute. For victims, reparations should always be an option symbolic or non-symbolic. Reparations may exist in the non-symbolic form of restitution, compensation, rehabilitation or more symbolic in the form of a public apology or an official declaration to restore dignity or a reputation.

Thanks to the questions from the audience some important aspects were high-lightened and further clarified. EuroClio Special Advisor Joke van der Leeuw-Roord raised the the issue of "historical truth." Professor de Baets admitted that historical truth "is a very complex concept, and because of this, we should talk "about accuracy and sincerity: responsible history."

For more information about our International Conference see below:

2016 International Conference on History Education for Peace in East Asia and Europe

 

2016 International Conference on History Education for Peace in East Asia and Europe

A unique gathering of educators and civil society practitioners from East Asia and Europe to explore the role of international cooperation, history education and civil society in establishing sustainable peace in East Asia in dialogue with Europe.

Looking back at...

EuroClio, was the proud and selected host for the International NGOs Forum on History and Peace in Leiden, Utrecht and The Hague. Together with the International History NGO for History and Peace they aimed to organise a Conference focusing on History and Peace. In many ways the goal of gaining a better common understanding of the role of international relations, history education and civil society in establishing sustainable peace in East Asia in a dialogue with Europe, was achieved. 

In the evaluation one of the participants concluded: "The conference was excellent in every regard. It was particularly rewarding to have such a large number of excellent Asian scholars. I might note in particular the excellent presentation by Daching Yong, as well as the moving address by the elderly Korean woman who relayed her experiences with such emotional and moral force."

EuroClio devoted an article to each day, with an emphasis on the daily focus. If you would like to continue reading about Historical Justice in Europe and East-Asia, the history of colonialism and World War Two in Europe and East Asia or Global History in the 21st Century, please follow one of the links.

logo banner including Utrecht

The Programme

6 July @ The Hague Institute for Global Justice
Historical Justice in Europe and East Asia
Key Note speech by Prof. Dr. Antoon de Baets, followed by presentations, and visits to The Hague - City of Peace and Justice.
Report: "Teaching about Historical Justice at the Europe-Asia Conference in The Hague"

7 July @ Leiden University
Addressing the history of colonialism and World War 2 in Europe and East Asia: comparing and contrasting
Visit to LeidenAsiaCentre, discussion panels and thematic workshops
Report: "Comparing and Contrasting European and East Asian History"

8 July @ Utrecht University
Teaching global history in the 21st century: challenges and opportunities and the role of teachers
Panel presentations on peaceful cooperation in East Asia, workshops by university lecturers
Report: "Teaching for Peace in Practice – Challenges and Opportunities"

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