The CDRSEE’s flagship programme, the Joint History Project, drew high praise at the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and the French Institute in Serbia’s co-organized roundtable on collective history writing. The roundtable gathered professors and history experts from France, Germany, and the Balkans to discuss the impact of regional collective history writing initiatives. Francois-Xavier Deniau, the French Ambassador to Serbia, gave the introductory remarks and the Heinz Wilhelm, the German Ambassador to Serbia, opened the discussion with his insight. The panelists included historians Etienne Francois, Freie Univeristät in Berlin, and Peter Geiss, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhlems Universität in Bonn, and professors Dubravka Stojanovic and Slobodan Markovic, both lecturers at the University of Belgrade. Professor Markovic moderated the roundtable and the CDRSEE’s Nenad Sebek was a guest speaker.
The history roundtable was organized in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Elysee Treaty, in the spirit of the reconciliation of two former foes and great powers, France and Germany. It highlighted their joint history writing initiative which since 2006 has put forth nearly identical history workbooks for French and German high-school students. This highly unlikely collaboration has been exceptionally successful at breaking barriers and setting a precedent for a cross-border approach to history and history writing. Professor Dubravka Stojanovic utilized the opportunity to call attention to another successful collective history writing initiative, the CDRSEE’s Joint History Project. She highlighted the JHP’s unheralded achievement in gathering professors and historians from throughout the Balkans to produce, what now stands at, four history workbooks available in 11 languages. The project has not only reached countless students throughout the region, but has also trained over 1,500 teachers in novel approaches to history teaching and drawn the praise of Education Ministers throughout. She went on to articulate that “history is altered faster than new memories are made.” It is perhaps that statement that raised the profile of both of these initiatives as well as the fragility of approaching history and teaching it to new generations.
To read more about the French Institute in Serbia and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung’s activities please visit their websites:
Pictures provided by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and the French Institute in Serbia, taken by Manuel Franco Allemand.