How can Europe Help the Balkans “Consume” its History?

EuroClio Uncategorized ,

On 18 December, EuroClio headed to Brussels along with partners at Centre for Democracy and
Reconciliation in Southeast Europe (CDRSEE) and the International Students of History Association
(ISHA) to discuss the difficult and proven at times controversial question of ‘How can Europe Help the
Balkans “Consume” its History?’ This event was hosted at the House of European History and during the
full day event a range of questions were explored regarding the issues facing Southeast Europe today:
What is the European Union’s role in healing the wounds of the 1990s wars in ex-Yugoslavia? How can
History teachers in the region teach about the wars when it still such a controversial subject matter?
How does a nation or region actually “consume” it’s history?

The day started off with a panel with delegations from the European Union including Davide Berton,
Diego Marani, Pavel Tychtl and Walter Zampieri who discussed the EU’s relationship with culture and
history in the Western Balkans, a speech by Costa Carras from CDRSEE, and preliminary research results
presented by Lucija Balikic from ISHA. Throughout the day two separate study results were released;
EuroClio’s Dea Maric and Rodoljub Jovanović presented the report from our ePact project: Education
Partnership for Advocacy, Capacity-Building and Transformation.

Researchers Anja Gvozdanović and Vanja Kukrika from the project “Divided Past, Joint Future”
presented their results from a qualitative study on the Process of Reconciliation in the Western Balkans
and Turkey.”

The day was characterized by lively debate and interesting discussion by international participants on
the role of history in the process of peace and reconciliation in Southeast Europe. If you want to read more about the event in Brussels, click here to read the full report.

New Report on Teaching difficult history in the Western Balkans

EuroClio Project Updates ,

EuroClio is very happy to announce the publication of the new research report “Teachers on Teaching; How Practitioners See the Current State and Future Developments in History Education Across the Western Balkans”. The report – produced in collaboration with CDRSEE and History Teachers Associations from the Western Balkan – is being launched today in Brussels, at the House of European History.

This new research report is written in the context of the EuroClio project ePACT – Education Partnership for Advocacy, Capacity-Building and Transformation – which aims to promote a more democratic education system in the Western Balkans through reform of the formal schooling system. The project and the report deal with trying to answer questions on how to navigate teaching history in a post-conflict space. As stated in the editorial introduction to the report: “There is a visible difficulty for the established public and political cultures to refrain from using historical interpretations and concepts as divisive tools, or worse – using history as a weapon”, and the project aims to discourage the use of history in a divisive way, instead looking to promote teaching history in a way that fosters critical thinking and active and responsible citizenship. With this aim in mind, the report takes the discussion directly to educators working in the field, assessing their views and suggestions on how to appropriately promote competence-based and learner-focused learning that facilitates inclusive and democratic history education in the region. It introduces questions such as:

  • how do teachers approach curricular expectations that are dictated by state bodies?
  • in what ways do they use the teaching materials prescribed by the educational authorities, and how would they like to change these materials?
  • how do different elements of their societal context determine the ways they deal with difficult topics in their classroom?
  • Has the history teaching paradigm shifted from lecture-dominant to learner-oriented and has pedagogy shifted from one narrative transmission to narrative analysis?

Furthermore, the report looks into the fundamental question of the result of international initiatives aimed at history education. Given the fact that in the Western Balkan region there have been many international interventions in the field of history teaching, what has been the effect?

This large-scale mixed-method study seeks to outline the answers to these questions, together with history teaching experts and practitioners from the region, and aims to give an insight into needs of history teachers.

You can read the report in full here. At the moment, it is only available in English, but will be translated to Albanian, Bosnian, Croatian, Macedonian, Montenegrin and Serbian.

ePACT: Western Balkan History Education Experts Group meets in Vienna

Sharing of Experiences

Within the new project ePACT - Education Partnership for Advocacy, Capacity-Building and Transformation - started, together with the Center of Democracy and Reconciliation in South-East Europe (CDRSEE) a first Regional Expert Meeting was organised in Vienna from  9 - 11 June 2016. The overall objective of the project is to contribute to sustaining the democratization process and enhancing conflict sensitivity in the Western Balkans through reforms and implementation of changes in the formal schooling system that will intensify democratic education. The project strives to achieve that education authorities and civil society jointly reform education and schools in the region to enhance critical thinking and active citizenship. These two competencies are key drivers of all forms of development, but particularly of the development of a vibrant civil society that is ready to protect and defend democratic values, gender mainstreaming, environmental protection and a culture of non-violent conflict resolution.

In Vienna two standing working group meetings of experts brought together 12 policy makers, 27 members of civil society (including teachers and community leaders), 3 members of Academia and 2 participants from intergovernmental organisations working in the Western Balkans. The joint programme of both expert groups included expert presentations on the latest developments in educational science, in international policy developments and existing global and European initiatives for development of educational policy and practice. The meeting started with a key note address by Prof. Andreas Demetriou from Cyprus on “Learning how to think, learn, and reason“, about how intelligence is measured and how it can be nurtured in primary and secondary schools. An expert panel, comprised of Janet Looney from the Institute of Education and Social Policy and John Hamer from the Council of Europe gave an overview of the wider international context.

Moreover, the expert groups were able to engage in a constructive sharing of existing initiatives and events on the national level and an exercise in mapping needs and opportunities individuals and institutes would be able to offer one another. One regional working group that had a focus on strengthening the implementation of learner centered teaching/learning approaches that, despite endorsed by all countries on the policy level, still can rarely been identified in classrooms of the region. As a result of the meeting, a Partnership Memorandum will be crafted between participants, which will outline details of the partnership and set common agendas. The other regional expert group had a specific focus on history education and entered into a collaborative and engaging reflection on best ways to conduct a wide-ranging needs assessment that will shed light and increase understanding on areas and ways of making history teaching more relevant and constructive.

Going forward, the expert groups embraced the need for closer collaboration and has started to collaborate online using Basecamp as designate cloud service. Furthermore specific events and opportunities for synergy were identified. The next steps are a preparatory meeting in Montenegro for the Needs Assessment and the planning of accredited Pilot Seminars for building capacities amongst school directors, inspectors and curriculum designers for a more committed implementation of learner centered teaching/learning approaches in schools.

The project is implemented with the financial support of the Austrian Development Cooperation as part of the initiative “NETUCATE – Networked education creating a skills web for participation and sensitivity”.

The project will be implemented with the financial support of the Austrian Development Cooperation as part of the initiative “NETUCATE – Networked education creating a skills web for participation and sensitivity.”



[PARTNER] ePACT: Education Partnership for Advocacy, Capacity-Building and Transformation

New Project with CDRSEE in Western Balkans

CDRSEEEuroClio acquired a new project in the Western Balkan in partnership with the Center for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeast Europe (CDRSEE) called: “Networked education creating a skills web for participation and sensitivity”. Building on the long history and experience of both organizations in the region we will join forces for this new project that will run for 3 years (from 1 November 2015 until 30 October 2018) and is funded by the Austrian Development Agency. The main aim is joint advocacy and regional cooperation amongst civil society and policy makers on the regional level to enhance critical thinking and active citizenship. Working together with our members in the region and policy stakeholders we commonly focus on 3 interrelated results: new evidence-based curricula reform strategies for history education in particular and social science in general, increased capacity for training and multiplication at the classroom level, and joint advocacy and regional cooperation. More information will follow soon on our website!