We have learned “history that is not yet history”

“These are the times that try men's souls”

 “In the past year, we organised workshops with several groups, talking about the wars in Yugoslavia in the 1990's. We learned about most of the background information for the showcased images by first participating in the workshop ourselves, and later, we were given insight into some further details on their context. Overall, the experience was as challenging and educational as it was entertaining.” I will start with the words of my student Matija, as I think that they are the best indicator of how successful we’ve been while teaching history that is not yet history.

It has been exactly two months since I last entered a classroom that was full of students. Since the school closed, we were obliged to adapt ourselves to this new situation. We reacted without any delay. 

In the same week, I received a call from the principal of the high school in which I am working who asked me to participate in the project “Learn from home” (“Uči doma“). My answer was “Inform me when we are starting.” A couple of days later, I was once more in my classroom, this time standing in front of the camera. My task was to prepare lessons for high school students, I chose to prepare lessons for the third and the fourth grade.

It was a bit difficult to analyse certain historical topics, without anyone there to ask questions or for explanations. To make a comment about something…anything. I had to change the approach and it was obvious for me what was needed. I needed to include my students somehow!

So, phase two started – ‘Let’s try to do some workshops online.’ It wasn’t easy, I can tell you that. But, it was awesome! We connected ourselves through online platforms and started preparing workshops. One day I posted a question in one of our groups which said: “Are we doing the 90s?” 

Well, this is the answer -  Istorija za IV razred opšte gimnazije - Nestanak Jugoslavije (History for the 4th grade of general high school - The disappearance of Yugoslavia)

We decided to use the materials that were created in cooperation with EuroClio. So, all those projects I was involved in, including “Learning history that is not yet history” and EuroClio's cooperation with the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals in researching their archives, finally gained wider audience in my country – the most important audience, I would add! We have shown every fourth grader in Montenegro that we can discuss this sensitive period that many of them believed is not yet history. For the first time in history, we have discussed and presented this topic to hundred-thousands people, and this was broadcasted on the national Montenegro television in prime time. The reactions from the student, colleagues and parents were awesome. I would say that we have fulfilled our main task.

The material we have used the most while preparing this lesson was a War(s) in photos workshop. Pupils used visual sources to explain their perspective of the topic, they tried to elaborate how the common people were affected by the war, what was the role of soldiers and what was the role of politicians. I have to say that this wasn’t the first attempt to discuss these subjects with students in a classroom workshop in the past few months, but it was by far the best and most successful one. I was extremely happy and proud that we were able to promote this topic by using a multi perspective approach, not excluding any of the points of views and sides of the people that participated in the war.

Another student that contributed to this workshop, Mina, stated  “I have had an opportunity to be a part of this workshop more than once and every time it was a new experience. As the topic is quite a taboo, I found presenting the facts about the war fairly challenging. But, when you choose the fear of starting a controversial lecture over education, you compromise people's future abilities to understand and forgive each other. In my opinion, this workshop completely breaks the stereotype of this topic as something upsetting that creates divisions, it is a creative way to overcome the limitations and start to openly speak about a topic that is shaping the generations to come. With putting the effort, you can teach in a way that can be only  prosperous and never harmful or offensive.

As I wrote in a similar article a couple of weeks ago, “These are the times that try men's souls.” But these are also the times when we need to show our responsibility. And I think that this was one of the ways we have done it. I will conclude with the words of my student Anja, which wrote about her experience while doing this topic “As important as it is to shine light on the topic of wars of the 90s as a professor it might be even more important to be thoroughly involved in a serious subject such as this one as a student. I personally felt that it was my responsibility to establish the communication with the other peers because it was a crucial part to them understanding and sharing personal opinions and beliefs on this topic, which in the end I think I did well with the help of my friends.”


Written by Igor Radulović, history teacher from Podgorica, Montenegro. As a member of HIPMONT (History teachers association of Montenegro), Igor participated in the project “Learning history that is not history”, which won the Global Pluralism Award for 2019. He is also involved as a trainer in EuroClio's collaboration with the UN 's International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals. 


History Educators collaborate toward a Repository of Educational Materials on the 1990s Yugoslav Wars in Osijek (Croatia)

EuroClio Project Updates ,

On 29 September – 1 October, the development team in the EuroClio project Learning a History that is not yet History met near Osijek, Croatia to further work on a common collection of resources which educators can use to teach the 1990s Yugoslav Wars, as well as the further drafting of a Joint Position Paper, aimed to plan ahead more effective and impacting way for history teachers associations to address this very sensitive topic in education.

The meeting enabled the team, which had already collected over 100 inspirational and relevant resources, to go over these one by one and confirm the relevance and categorization.

In addition, project experts were able to re-draft the Joint Position Paper and prepare for the launch of both deliverables in time for a public launch in Brussels, at the House of European History on the 18 December 2017. The meeting also included an on-site programme in Osijek, kindly facilitated by Director of the Museum of Slavonia, and EuroClio Ambassador Denis Detling. 



Member Project “Historija, istorija povijest”: Teacher Training in Zagreb

Reconciliation through dialogue in a shared past

From 17-21 February this year a training of future trainers as a part of the project "Historija, Istorija, Povijest (HIP) - Lessons for Today" (2015 - 2017) was organised in Zagreb. The project, which is funded by the European Commission, intends to raise attention and encourage discussion about the events of the recent past of the Western Balkans, which are the cause of various divisions and generating conflicts in the last century. Fifty future trainers from Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Macedonia took part in multiple lectures and workshops. The objectives of the project HIP are to research and launch discussions on Former Yugoslavia, to promote critical thinking and to encourage creative thinking about how to educate the common past and promote tolerance. By promoting critical thinking about the events of history and their importance in modern time and events, the Anne Frank House and partners aim to achieve reconciliation through dialogue in a shared past. The methodological approach that will be used includes a combination of formal and informal education and through this interdisciplinary, pluralistic education History submitted by teachers and students. A key element in the project is the creation of long-lasting, high-quality, interactive educational materials on history that will inspire future generations of teachers and students. The Croatian Education and Development Network for the Evolution of Communication (HERMES) is one of the partners in the project and Igor Jovanović had the chance to give a presentation about EuroClio as an association and its work. He highlighted the EuroClio's textbook "Once Upon a Time... We Lived Together" created during the "History That Connects" project. You can find the publication on our website as well.  Other partners are the Anne Frank House (the Netherlands), Youth Initiative for Human Rights (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Youth Educational Forum (Macedonia), Humanity in Action (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Open Communication.

Historija, istorija povijest

Speakers and workshop leaders at the seminar were: Tvrtko Pater - Introduction to the traveling exhibition Anne Frank - A History for the Present and an Introduction to Memory Walk methodology), Almir Alić - Lecture on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Miljenko Hajdarović - Time line of Yugoslavia, Jelena Došlov - Study of Totalitarianism, Vesna Ivezić - Football Arena as the site of expression of nationalism, Bojan Golubović - When you say URBAN do you have any prejudice?, Ida Ljubić - Brotherhood and unity at the table? Yugoslav cookbooks and cooking textbooks, Branislav Toder - Social crisis and the defeat of Yugoslavia - breaking of the common state, Smilja Mrdja - Multiperspectivity in the processing of sensitive content in the teaching of history in the case of Goli Otok, Igor Jovanović - Presentation of EuroClio Association, Tihana Magaš - Presentation of the project "Traces of the past at the door of the present ", presented the materials to teach developed during the project - "Cards for teaching: "Timeline of Yugoslavia" and introduced a manual with 8 curricula (International Criminal Court, Timeline of Yugoslavia, Nationalism and football, Brotherhood and Unity at the table, Study of totalitarianism, Urban=without prejudice?, Social crisis and the defeat of Yugoslavia, Goli otok).



Bosnian History Educators address Primary Education in cross-country project

EuroClio Uncategorized , ,

The project has been implemented in cooperation with primary school teachers in 10 neighboring municipalities in BiH. The teachers enclosed in the program were teachers of history, democracy and human rights, and teachers of first five grades in primary school. EuroClio HIP BIH, with this project, continues projects significant for processes of reconciliation and strengthening of peace in these areas.

The project was implemented in August, through realization of several workshops: ‘This is me, history that connects and divides’, ‘How to teach sensitive topics in history?’, ‘Use and abuse of history’, How was history (ab)used at the end of the 20th century in the area of former Yugoslavia?’ and ‘Local history in teaching process’.

The integral part of the project were discussions on how to teach the 1990s in the countries of former Yugoslavia and possibility of joint cooperation and potential topics for future cooperation of neighboring municipalities. The workshops were realized by members of EuroClio HIP BIH team.

We should mention that PRO-Buducnost (Trust, Understanding, Responsibility for the future) is a four-year project of the USAID, implemented by the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), with the aim of building the trust and reconciliation between the citizens of all ethnic groups in BiH, which lie on the assumption that creating lasting peace starts with opening of the honest dialogue and understanding the other side.

1st Regional “History that Connects” Summer School Enables Regional Cooperation

The “History that Connects” Summer School was a regional summer school bringing educators and experts in history and cultural heritage from the countries of South East Europe. More than 70 people participated the training. The theme of the summer school was “Rethinking On-Site Learning to Find the Global in the Local”. It was organised by EuroClio in cooperation with all its regional Member Associations and the RCC Taskforce on Culture and Society. The event is considered to be a platform for capacity building, in-service trainings, networking and sharing of expertise. The training was important for targeting educators and experts who come from the countries that have been in conflict with one another. The event was also very important for EuroClio because for the first time a summer school was organised and carried out. A full report, including follow-up actions, is expected later in September, wheras a mini-documentary on the experiences of participants will come in time for the winter holidays. For more information, please contact Jonathan Even-Zohar (jonathan@euroclio.eu)

EuroClio Supports Anne Frank House Initiative in Balkans

On 3-5 July 2015, in Zagreb, an important meeting within the Anne Frank House Project “Historia, Istorija, Povijest” was held. At this meeting teams from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia presented proposed exhibition panels on the history between 1945-2000, which aims to complement a travelling Anne Frank House Exhibition in the region. The teams also took part in workshop classes which aimed to pilot prepared lesson plans. EuroClio Director Jonathan Even-Zohar was invited to the meeting to reflect with the participants and advisors on the methodology of the lesson plans, as well as the larger project process.

He highlighted to the project team the need for the material to be engaging for students, but also the the need for using real broad range of perspectives to better be able to address the complexity of this history. Many of the educators involved in this project are connected to the National History Teachers Associations, or confirmed to seek contacts following the summer months.

This project is a cooperation between the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and its partners HERMES (Croatia), Humanity in action (BiH), Open communication (Serbia), and Youth Educational Forum (Macedonia). This project is funded by the European Union – More information will be available via the Anne Frank House.

EuroClio presents History that Connects Programme during Georg Arnhold Summer school

From 21 until 27 June the second international Georg Arnhold Summer School on Education for Sustainable Peace took place in Braunschweig, Germany. The summer school was organized by the Georg Eckert Institute [www.gei.de] in partnership with the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) on the theme of “Transitional Justice and Education: Engaging Children and Youth in Justice and Peacebuilding through Educational Media, Curricula and Outreach”. EuroClio Project Manager Judith Geerling participated in the summer school that brought together 20 participants – combining civil society practitioners and researchers that were coming from all over the world to present their research and work on the theme. She discussed the specific role of history education for sustainable peace and transitional justice processes, and presented the work of EuroClio, specifically the History that Connects Programme in the Balkans, and established useful contacts for future cooperation.

Stop to Teach History or More Multiperspectivity? EuroClio Ambassador Klaus Bjerre Reports from Skopje Conference on Historiography and History Education

This report below written by EuroClio Ambassador Klaus Bjerre (Denmark) 

History in the Balkans is dominated by political history. The nation is often seen as a collective agent that has aspired to freedom, sovereignty,and welfare since the very beginning of history. Some aspects of élite culture are included in textbooks, but social and economic history are mostly marginalized. Social history can show that the ethnicities in the Balkans have a lot in common, but textbooks tend to be seen as an instrument for strengthening national consciousness, rather than something that should help young people to have knowledge and values that can help them to live in a multicultural society. Common to the narratives is the claim that the now existing nationalities originated at the time of the birth of humanity, and that the in-group is a victim, the out-group a perpetrator. THEY occupy – WE liberate; WE inhabit – THEY colonize.

Historiography and History Education in the South Slavic- and Albanian-Speaking Regions was the theme at a Conference held in early June in Skopje. The organizers were the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research (Braunschweig), the Institute for National History (Skopje), and the Institute for Spiritual and Cultural Heritage of the Albanians (Skopje). (ed. Conference is part of this project)

The central theme was Slavic narratives about Albanians, and Albanian narratives about Slavs, in textbooks as well as in academic literature. Narratives from both Albania and Serbia were included, but as the conference was in Skopje, it was natural that Macedonian and Albanian narratives from Macedonia were in focus (Albanians constitute more than a quarter of the population in Macedonia).

Dragi Gjorgiev, from the Macedonian Institute for National History, stated that history teaching in Macedonia lacks a critical dimension, as well as pupils’ activity and involvement. He referred to Joke van der Leeuw-Roord’s report from 2012 “A Key to Unlock the Past, History Education in Macedonia” (ed. which was part of a EuroClio/ANIM Project on History Education) and said that much too little had been improved in recent years.

Teachers in Macedonian schools must choose chapters from the textbooks in order to limit the contents. The result is that ethnic Macedonian students are told an ethnic Macedonian narrative, while Albanian students are told an Albanian narrative (the schools are segregated). Since the 1990s, most derogatory terms have been removed, but the texts still harbor lots of implicit stereotypes and prejudices. Teachers are not allowed to teach any period after 1991.
A lot of time in lessons is spent on “questions and answers”, memorizing the textbook, instead of on discussion or inquiry within the subject matter.
The history curriculum is the only Macedonian curriculum that has not been changed in the last decade. There is a so-called ‘moratorium’, because the issue is politically sensitive.

Textbooks in Albania are ethnocentric as well. Most are written by the same authors who wrote the textbooks in the era of Enver Hoxha. The ideological content has been altered, but much of the structure is the same. The Illyrians had state traditions before the Romans came, the Slavs were barbarians who colonized the Illyrian area and assimilated the northern Illyrians, etc., etc.

At one point, a participant asked rhetorically “Wouldn’t it be better to stop teaching history?” This may reflect widespread pessimism, but one positive aspect was that the participants in the conference unanimously agreed on the need for improvement in history teaching. More multiperspectivity. More social history should be included in textbooks. The tradition of reproduction and learning by heart should be changed. It may be hard work to change textbooks and curricula but, as professor Eckhardt Fuchs (Georg Eckert Institute) said in a concluding remark: use your influences wherever you are, speak out and form strong networks.

The full overview of the project’s activities and outcomes can be found here: https://albanianlanguagetextbooks.wordpress.com/

The Eleventh Meeting Of The RCC Task Force On Culture And Society

The Eleventh Meeting of the RCC Task Force on Culture and Society was held on 28 and 29 April 2015 in Durrës, Albania.

The main purpose of the meeting was to discuss the regional work plan of the TFCS for the 2015, the ongoing activities for promotion of the three Regional Programmes within the Cultural and Creative Sectors Dimension of the SEE2020 Strategy, monitoring and assessment, existing EU funding mechanisms in the field of culture, potential joint regional projects and activities. EuroClio was represented by two members of its core team for the Project “Rethinking History Education.” Milos Vukanovic (Montenegro) and Fatmiroshe Xhemajli (Albania) gave a presentation about the work and ideas of EuroClio to the meeting and its participants.

Based on the initiative from the Montenegrin National IPA Coordinator (NIPAC) to draw more attention to the significant role of culture and creative sectors in the overall economic and social development of our region, representatives of the NIPACs from the economies participating in the SEE2020 Strategy attended the second day of the meeting dedicated to the presentation of regional programmes and support their inclusion within priority areas, and to the Montenegrin proposal on the “Culture for Integration and Growth: Utilizing the economic and reputational value of Cultural Heritage in Western Balkans”. It was concluded that cultural and creative sectors are strong contributors to economic growth and integration and should be included within the financing of Multi-country IPA as one of the priority areas.

The meeting also gathered TFCS members from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, RCC, European Commission, representatives of SEECP Secretariat from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Albania, representatives of NIPAC offices from Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Serbia, representatives of Creative Europe Programme (EC), EU Delegation in TiranaRCC external experts from audio visual sector and design, Cultural Heritage without Borders (CHwB), and Cooperation and Development Institute.

Young History Educators from the Balkans Explore EuroClio at Denmark Conference

Eight young history educators from the Balkans had the opportunity to participate in the EuroClio Annual Conference in Denmark , within the project ‘Rethinking History Education’. For most of them this was the first experience of a EuroClio Conference and for some of them of an international conference in general. This opportunity offered them a unique insight in the Danish educational system, and a chance to meet peers and colleagues from all over the world to exchange experiences and ideas and to establish new contacts. As a result the group showed interest to establish partnerships with teachers in other countries, and to explore opportunities for funding to participate in a conference of the American Historical Association in the United States.

The group met three times throughout the conference, partially guided by EuroClio Board member Mire Mladenovski, to discuss the next steps in the project. They discussed the outcomes of the kick-off meeting in Skopje for the regional website. Moreover, throughout the week the group filmed several programme elements and interviewed participants. This material will be edited into a short video they will present during the Annual Regional Summer School in August.