A Multiperspective Understanding of the Past: The Elephant in the Room of Diverse Societies?

Dealing with sensitive histories through intercultural dialogue

Dutch society is diverse, and Dutch citizens express in everyday life their multiple identities and perspectives. However, Dutch society has also seen plenty of controversy when a one-sided view on history and heritage has inflamed public debate. We need to get to the root causes of this kind of conflict, radicalisation and polarisation. Could people's interpretations of the past be one of these root causes?

Whereas every society has its own peculiar struggle with 'dealing with the past', there is an emerging understanding of common challenges.

On the 14th of July, the symposium "The Past: The Elephant in the Room of Diverse Societies?" will bring together views and experiences of civil society activists, including educators, cultural workers, and engaged citizens, from The Netherlands, as well as Bosnia-Herzegovina, India, Lebanon and Ukraine.

What can you expect?

We will start the day with a critical look at Dutch society from the perspective of an outsider and an insider, introducing relevant debates surrounding the Golden Coach and Black Pete controversies. Dr. Timothy Ryback, contributor to The New Yorker and director of the Institute of Historical Justice and Reconciliation, will share his view on the ethics of facing historical legacies of the past. In particular, the discussion will address difficult issues of identity, belonging, and polarisation. It is clear from the public debate in The Netherlands that radically opposing views on these matters challenge social cohesion.

Global perspectives, including those from Colombia, Croatia and South Africa, will be introduced by leading history educators who have traveled across the world to share their experiences and gain new insights. Their personal and professional journeys demonstrate the difficult nature of dealing with the past in divided, post-conflict societies. Often the recent, violent past has directly and immediately impacted their lives. How have they transformed their experiences into a catalyst for positive change?

The afternoon will explore in practical terms how civil society initiatives are finding ways to address sensitive histories for a range of societal purposes, including reconciliation, intercultural dialogue and social cohesion.

We hope to meet you during our symposium and to learn from one another, in the Netherlands and across the world, whether we are frank enough about the elephant in the room.

The symposium is organised by EuroClio - Inspiring History and Citizenship Educators, the Anna Lindh Foundation Netherlands Network and the Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation, and the event is made possible by the generosity of the Robert Bosch Foundation and Konferentie Nederlandse Religieuzen.


Date: Friday, 14 July 2017 @ 09.30
Location: Mandeville building Erasmus University
Thomas Morelaan, 3062 PA Rotterdam

There is no fee for this symposium. A lunch will be provided.


09.30 Welcome

10.00 Panel discussion: “Sensitive history in the Netherlands”

11.45 Panel discussion: “Dealing with the past: a global perspective”

13.00 Lunch

14.00 First round of workshops

15.30 Second round of workshops

16.45 Conclusions, reflections and closing remarks

17.30 Drinks

Programme - Symposium 14 July 2017

In Second Meeting, History Educators from across Euro-Med Region Continue Work to Implement UNESCO Recommendations

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Over the past weekend, six educators from countries in the Euro-Mediterranean region came together in Beirut, Lebanon to continue their work to develop learning activities that help young people acquire skills for intercultural citizenship. Within the project “Learning about (Y)our Past: History Lessons for Intercultural Citizenship in the Euro-Med region”, a team of trainers, coordinators and authors work on implementing the recommendations presented in “On a Common Path”. The team of authors is supported by Michael Riley (editor of the Guidebook for History Textbooks Authors “On a Common Path” and director of Schools History Project) and long-time textbook author and SHP fellow Jamie Byrom. The project constitutes the first time for EuroClio to develop educational resources in Arabic, as well as Greek.

This second project meeting was organised by EuroClio in cooperation with the Lebanese Association for History. During the first meeting in Nicosia, Cyprus, authors were asked to prepare a list of topics that they would like to focus on in their work. Besides that, the authors were familiarised with a framework and method for developing educational materials. As a result of the first meeting, the six learning activities touch upon a range of issues and topics. These topics are the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990), national museums of history, encounters through food across the Euro-Mediterranean, the migrations of 1923 between Turkey and Greece, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the Golden Age in 10th century Baghdad.

In Beirut, the programme focused on the collaborative process of developing transnational educational materials. After presentations by the trainers and feedback on the progress made since the first project meeting in Cyprus, authors focused on improving their enquiry questions, the end product for each activity and the steps or lessons that enable pupils to formulate answers to the enquiry question posed in the first step. On Sunday, the Lebanese Association for History organised a visit to the Lebanese National Museum, known for its collection of artefacts from Roman, Greek, and Phoenician times, as well as a tour around downtown Beirut.

Over the coming months, each author will produce and pilot one learning activity consisting of several lessons. In May, a third meeting will be organised during which the authors present their materials and pilot them with their peers. Following the editing process, all educational materials will be made available on Historiana (in English) as well as translated into Arabic, Greek and Turkish.

EuroClio implements the “Learning about (Y)our Past” project in partnership with the member organisations Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (Cyprus) and the Lebanese Association for History. The project is funded by the Anna Lindh Foundation, and runs until September 2017. For more information on this project, please visit our project page.


Educators Develop Learning Activities for Intercultural Citizenship in Euro-Med Region

In November, educators from Turkey, Cyprus, Lebanon and Jordan came together in Nicosia, Cyprus, for the first time to start working on learning activities for intercultural citizenship. The group was hosted by the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR) at the Home for Cooperation. The meeting is part of the project “Learning about (Y)our Past: History lessons for intercultural citizenship in the Euro-Med region”, funded by the Anna Lindh Foundation.

The project aims to help young people in the Euro-Mediterranean region to acquire competences for intercultural citizenship by learning about identity and diversity, about positive intercultural encounters and addressing emotive and controversial issues in history education. Together with partner organisations AHDR and the Lebanese Association for History, a team of six authors was selected to develop the learning activities together.

Over the course of the next half year, the team will work on learning activities dealing with three different subjects. These subjects were initially formulated in the Guidebook for History Textbook Authors: On a Common Path (.pdf). The Guidebook was developed and supported by UNESCO, the Anna Lindh Foundation, the League of Arab States, the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and the Swedish Institute in Alexandria. It is especially relevant for this project because it entails “New Approaches to Writing History Textbooks in Europe and the Arab and Islamic Worlds”. The three subjects identified in the Guidebook are:

  1. Identity and diversity;
  2. Positive encounters with the other;
  3. Sensitive and controversial issues.

The learning activities will be developed in English and subsequently translated into Arabic, Greek and Turkish. The team will receive training and supervision from Michael Riley, director of Schools History Project and co-author and editor of “On a Common Path”.

Project team

Alaettin Çarikci, coordinator and author AHDR (Cyprus)
Loizos Loukaidis, coordinator and author AHDR (Cyprus)
Amin Elias, coordinator LAH (Lebanon)
Ghada Fakhredddine, author LAH (Lebanon)
Jihane Youssef, author LAH (Lebanon)
Kariman Mango, author (Jordan)
Hasan Sungur, author (Turkey)

For more information, please visit the project page (see below) or contact Jaco Stoop (EuroClio Network Coordinator)


EuroClio Organized Workshop on Fundraising for Anna Lindh Foundation Network

Jaco Stoop Association ,

On Thursday 10 December EuroClio organized a workshop on ‘fundraising’ for the Netherlands Network of the Anna Lindh Foundation (ALF).  As Head of Network  of the Dutch ALF division, EuroClio has been organizing workshops which are tailored to the input of the members of the ALF Netherlands Network. A recurring subject therein, was ‘fundraising’.

During the workshop, EuroClio Programme Director Steven Stegers gave a presentation including tips and tricks on project acquisition. EuroClio Project Manager Judith Geerling expanded on the funding opportunities within the Erasmus+ Programme. The day had a political dimension too, with a presentation from Mr. Bert Meijerman from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As the Ministry is in the process of setting up a new policy programme aimed at democratic transition in the MENA region, Mr. Meijerman gave a topical and relevant update on the political situation in the MENA region, which is the area that ALF is active in.

The overall conclusion was that there was a feeling that the network is becoming more active, something that EuroClio will try to foster further in the future. If you wish to become active within the ALF Network, or if you would like to know more about the Network in general, please have a look at the world-wide website, the Network website or the Network facebook page.

EuroClio Attends Anna Lindh Foundation Heads of Network Meeting

Jaco Stoop Association

From 18 to 21 November, the annual meeting of the Heads of Network of the Anna Lindh Foundation took place in Brussels, Belgium. A representative from EuroClio also attended the meeting since EuroClio is the Head of Network of the Anna Lindh Foundation in the Netherlands. During the productive meeting all representatives of the 43 networks of European, North African and Middle Eastern countries had the opportunity to discuss ongoing issues, as well as the future of the Foundation. Considering the future, several interesting programmes will take place in 2016. The first of the three most important of these are ‘’The Young Arab Voices’’, which aims to increase young people’s skills for public debate, and to provide platforms for youth from diverse backgrounds to meet and exchange views to provide targeted support for young bloggers in terms of outreach work at the grass-root level, enabling them to bridge the gap between virtual and public space.

Secondly, the ‘’Anna Lindh Foundation Forum’’, where not only the Heads of Network, but also many other organizations from civil society, (inter-)governmental agencies and other parties with an interest in the Mediterranean area will participate. Finally. the Euromed Conference on Women, to be held in Tunis in November 2016 (exact date to be announced) is also an important event.

The Anna Lindh Foundation faces multiple challenges, but under the leadership of a new management, and with the constructive ideas of the Heads of Network, there is good hope that the Foundation will continue to play a vital part in the Mediterranean area within the field of intercultural dialogue.

EuroClio Organized Successful ALF Capacity Building and Network Event

In an effort to reinvigorate the Netherlands Network of the Anna Lindh Foundation, EuroClio, functioning as Head of Network, invited its members to a capacity building and network event in Amsterdam, hosted by Humanity in Action. The day consisted of two workshops, by Humanity in Action and TheOneMinutes, focusing on the use of video for improving and strengthening the message of the NGO members of the Network. Furthermore, information was provided on the process of applying for the grants provided by the Anna Lindh Foundation.

The first workshop was hosted by Humanity in Action, who explained their mission and core and then launched into an interactive workshop which made it a goal for all participants to ask hard questions about the core of their organization and its mission, and then to bring that down to no more than one minute of video footage.

The second workshop was hosted by The One Minutes who showed several videos made by young people, from across the globe, and focused on their own personal issues and problems. This very personal approach from a child’s perspective provided a great platform for a discussion on the different possible uses of video. Subsequently, several decisions were made on the continuation of the Netherlands Network of the Anna Lindh Foundation, namely by announcing new elections on the Head of Network, since EuroClio’s mandate will end by January 1st, 2016.

Concluding, the participants can look back to an interesting and worthwhile event which EuroClio hopes to continue on December, when the second capacity-building and network event will take place in The Hague.