Safeguarding a Pluralistic Approach to the Yugoslav Wars through History Education

Learning History that is not yet History II - Blogpost #1

The wars in the Balkans that marked the end of Yugoslavia are ever-present in the collective memory of the countries in the region. The highly sensitive and divisive events left behind their scars and influence societies that both include citizens who have lived the events, as well as the younger generation perceiving the wars as history. This blogpost is the first contribution to a series of blogs, dedicated to our project Learning History that is not yet History II (LHH2). The series will grant an insight into the project and an array of topics related to it, with contributions from the project partners and EuroClio.

Contributing to strengthening stability in the Balkans

The aim of Learning History that is not yet History II is to promote a pluralistic approach to teaching the 1990s Yugoslav wars. No topic is more sensitive or divisive in the Balkans, which makes teaching about this a challenge. We strive to offer a balanced view of the historical events that will lead to mutual understanding in the region, and will ultimately contribute to strengthening stability in the Balkans. However, this is not an overnight process. LHH2 is the embodiment of the special relationship between EuroClio and the region. EuroClio and its members have been working in the Balkans for more than 20 years, strengthening the capacity of the history teachers’ associations, developing workshops with and for local teachers, creating a repository for historical sources and creating resources about common regional history.

The crown on the work of years of trust building

All the results of these past efforts combined will help us create teaching materials which can be used in the classroom and provide teachers the resources to implement the materials as smoothly as possible. Through our previous experience working in the Balkans, and closely collaborating with project members throughout the whole region, trust was established between the people. This allowed us for a strong network to be created, along with the skills in making educational materials. Building this special relationship was crucial in order to tackle the sensitive topic of the 1990s wars. Our strong connections in the region serve as a foundation for the project and the time has arisen to create lessons about the Yugoslav wars. Conclusively, making the LHH2 project the crown on the work of years of trust building in the region.

Follow-up on the award-winning project and broadening the scope

The project is a follow up on the award-winning Learning History that is not yet History (LHH) project. Many steps have been made and successes achieved, and as a crowning of the work the LHH team was awarded the Global Pluralism Award 2019 by the Global Centre for Pluralism (GCP). LHH2 will continue the efforts in the Balkans and with the award money, we were able to get started with making lesson plans about the 1990s wars, developed by local educators from Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro. With additional support from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it was possible to bring all 7 countries on board. This considerably broadens the project’s scope to the dissolution of the 1990s. Multiperspectivity is imperative to tackling the 1990s wars and being able to include all 7 countries in the project, provided us the valuable partnership to do so.  

The outputs of the project

Building on the results of its predecessor, the outputs of the projects will be 18 ready-to-use lesson plans. In order to safeguard multiperspectivity, the lesson plans will be made in cross-border teams. The themes of these lesson plans will yet be defined, depending on the needs and expertise of the authors. An additional Teacher’s Guide will similarly be part of the project’s outputs, equipping teachers with the accurate knowledge on how to smoothly implement the lesson plans. Teaching sensitive topics can be confrontational, therefore, themes such as dealing with emotions and controversies will be included in the Guide. Along with the lesson plans and Teacher’s Guide, LHH2 aims to reach as many teachers as possible in the region, to bring about the biggest impact. In order to achieve this, a new redesigned LHH2 website will act as a hub for the project initiative. To further promote the project and the activities in the Balkans, a promotional video will be made to give an insight into the project’s discussions and varying views and experiences of everyone involved in the project. Lastly, to complement this, local partners will launch a communication campaign to reach local stakeholders. This way, the mission of LHH2 to increase mutual understanding and strengthen stability in the Balkans will be broadened.

Call to fill out Survey: How are the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990’s Remembered?

The Yugoslav wars of the 1990’s are often considered ‘not yet history’. Because the memory of the wars is still relatively recent, they are commemorated in many different ways and have also been widely investigated in connection with transnational justice.

Within the wider context of the project ‘Learning a History that is not yet History’, EuroClio – in cooperation with the Internationals Students of History Association (ISHA) – has developed a survey to collect information in order to map how the Yugoslav wars of the 1990’s are currently remembered throughout Europe.

We would kindly like to ask you to help us in our research by filling out the survey. The survey will take about 4-5 minutes, and is completely anonymous. The findings of the survey will be collected and presented at the public event ‘How can Europe help the Balkans ‘consume’ their History’ in Brussels on 18 December 2017.

The findings will contribute to the project ‘Learning a History that is not yet History’ in a broader sense; results from the survey will assist in developing new ways to approach this difficult and sensitive past in the field of European remembrance.

 

Our 2nd Regional Summer School starts in Montenegro

First day: Western influence on cultural development after the Roman era

After a beautiful and interesting ride into the Montenegrin mountains, and a little adjustment to the heat, the 2nd Regional Summer School in Montenegro could finally begin.

The first day started with an introduction to multiple organisations who are active in the region, like Cultural Heritage Without Borders and the Regional Cooperation Council Cultural heritage and Peace and Reconciliation, two of EuroClio's main issues, were highlighted, because they play an important role in the focus of this year's Summer School: Learning Through Entangled Legacies in History Education and Cultural Heritage. The Summer School offers a great combination of a rich programme and informal parts in order to create new connections.

During the Summer School we are already thinking about the future. In a workshop given by Judith Geerling, EuroClio Project manager, participants could together brainstorm about possible new projects about the Second World War. Jonathan Even-Zohar, EuroClio Director took a whole other turn and chose to talk about culture and food in the Balkans. It turns out that Ajvar or coffee isn't the same everywhere.

On-site learning is a very important part of this Summer School. The first trip took the group further into the mountains, all the way up to Njegos Mausoleum, the final resting place of Petar II. The 461 steps were quite a journey, but in the end the view made up for it. After being in the mountains long enough, the bus took us all the way down to see the wonderful old city of Kotor.

      

 

 

 

 

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).

 

 

Swiss Members Publish Bulletin on Conflict Regions

Jaco Stoop Uncategorized

The Swiss History Teachers Association VSVG published their annual bulletin, this year focusing on ‘Other perspectives on Conflict Regions’. The bulletin features an (English) article from EuroClio director Jonathan Even-Zohar, who talks about EuroClio’s grounding principles, and explains how these apply in (former) conflict regions such as the Black Sea are and the Western Balkans. Moreover, the bulletin includes an article (in German) from VSVG’s director Daniela Zunzer, who speaks of her experiences with the EuroClio project ‘History that Connects’. You can find the online bulletin here.

New Publication by Bosnian History Teachers’ Association

Jaco Stoop Uncategorized

The Bosnian History Teachers Association EuroClio HIP-BiH organised on December 4th the promotion of the new puclication “Abuse of history that led to the last war in Bosnia and Herzegovina: A framework for change of paradigm in history teaching in schools in BIH”. Within the project “History that Connects and Divides” in partnership with EuroClio, the EuroClio HIP-BiH team conducted research about the use and abuse of history in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in the period before the war in the 1990s. The project is supported by Open Society Foundations in BiH. The team that was led by Edin Radusic prepared a database with relevant historiographical works, newspaper articles, and video material about the topic. Besides that, they have created four multiperspectivity workshops, which were prepared for students at local gymnasiums. The book is available in English and in Bosnian, Serbian, and Croatian. For more information please go to the EuroClio HIP BIH website, or contact Bojana Dujkovic.

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).

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.