The outlook for the CDRSEE on the agenda of the Board of Directors

On 18 April 2018, the 29th Meeting of the Board of Directors and the first one for 2018 took place at the offices of the CDRSEE in Thessaloniki. Comprising a multicultural team of distinguished individuals from diverse disciplines, the CDRSEE Board of Directors convened to discuss lessons learned from last year’s work, review the financial results of the first quarter of 2018 and plan ahead for the activities of the next months.

CDRSEE’s Executive Director, Ms Zvezdana Kovač, presented the Board Members with a detailed report on the outcomes and the deliverables of the CDRSEE’s projects, stressing that in an extremely challenging context, the Center continuous to achieve extraordinary results, enabling, inter alia, the emergence of active citizenship in the area of Southeast Europe.

The meeting, chaired by the CDRSEE Chair of the Board of Directors, Mr Hannes Swoboda, was held in good spirits. Following the review of the meeting's agenda, the attending Members of the Board set the policy and agreed on the Center’s scope of action for the upcoming months.


Looking ahead to a European Balkans Partnership: CDRSEE at the 10-year Celebrations of the EFB

Belgrade, 16-17 April 2018: The European Fund for the Balkans’ celebrated its 10th Anniversary with a two-day event that brought together an international audience from politics, the media, civil society, academia, arts and culture, business and philanthropy to discuss the future of Europe and the European future of the Balkans.

The event consisted of a number of panel discussions, workshops and dynamic talks that addressed all the key issues and challenges stemming from the Balkans’ Europeanization process. Our Executive Director Zvezdana Kovač was there to moderate the panel discussion: ‘Reflections from our Vicinities’, among panelists Tringa Siqeca, DokuFest, Milena Bogavac, Spotlight Theater, Aleksandar Trifunović, BUKA Magazin and Daniela Urem, Creative Cultural Alliance (CCA). The panelists discussed the role of culture and media in the reconciliation process in the Balkans, and stressed that the promotion of cultural understanding and the emergence of active media citizenship are vital in bridging divisions in the region.The panel discussion attracted overwhelming interest from the conference attendees.

The event was marked by the launching of the Declaration of European Balkans Partnership – an initiative aimed at paving the way for the transformation of the Western Balkans, in view of their enhanced accession perspectives. The initiative is embraced by prominent thinkers and influencers from the region, who call the citizens across the Balkans and beyond to sign the Declaration.

You may watch the full panel discussion here.




Albanian educators engage with learning-centred methodologies

The series of interactive, pedagogical workshops for educators ‘Teaching for Learning’, organised in the context of ePACT, continued with significant success in Albania. The first workshop took place from 10-11 April and the second one from 12-13 April. Overall 25 teachers and 25 school directors, inspectors and trainers from various disciplines were trained in how to apply contemporary teaching methods in the classroom and incorporate evaluation and assessment in their teaching with a view to enhance the learning process by developing students’ independent and critical-thinking.

The 2-day training sessions were opened by the Director of the Institute for Education Development (IED), Mr Gerti Janaqi, and the Director of Curricula, Standards and Teacher Qualification (IED), Ms Dorina Rapti. Both of them alongside education experts and accredited trainers Erida Koleci and Ines Todhe conducted the workshops, that were followed by positive feedback from the participants.

The pilot seminars, organised with the support of the Albanian Ministry of Education and the Institute for Education Development (IED), took place at Tirana International Hotel. ePACT is a joint initiative of CDRSEE and Euroclio, implemented with the support of the Austrian Development Agency.

The next stop for ePACT workshops will be Skopje, in May 2018.


The Joint History Project II attracts the interest of Japanese Historians

On 26 March, 2018 the CDRSEE welcomed to its premises two distinguished Japanese Professors in the field of social sciences. Dr Makoto Kimura, Professor of History, and Dr Maiko Matsuura, Associate Professor of Sociology, came all the way from Japan to discuss with the CDRSEE team the possibility of cooperation within the framework of the Joint History II. In particular, Dr Kimura manifested his willingness to translate the latest JHP workbooks in Japanese.

In this first preparatory meeting, the two Professors were briefed by CDRSEE’s Executive Director Ms Zvezdana Kovac and Programme Adviser Mr Antonis Hadjiyannakis on the progress of the second phase of the Joint History Project. Dr Kimura and Dr Matsuura were given an overview of the research process, the methodological approach, the production and dissemination of the new volumes, as well as of the overall impact of the project so far. Following the translation of JHP I into Japanese, back in 2015, Dr Kimura has indicated his intention to lead a team of history experts and translators with the purpose of making the workbooks available to Japanese educators and students.

The meeting took place in a convivial atmosphere and the team came up with an initial plan of action for the upcoming months.

The Joint History Project attracted great interest from Japanese academia and media as an educational model of overcoming differences and promoting mutual understanding.

Click here to find the Japanese publication of the JHP I Workbooks.



Responsible education about the past for a democratic present and inclusive future

With the aim of cooperating on planning for history education approaches which empower young people to engage critically in today’s complex society, teachers, civil society groups, academics, diplomats and international organisations met in Belgrade on Friday 23 March, 2018 within the framework of Euroclio and the CDRSEE’s ePACT project.  

The event not only launched the ePACT research report ‘Teachers on Learning’ and the report ‘Making Sense of the Past that Refuses to Pass’, but also brought together the relevant stakeholder to reflect on the various initiatives and achievements in the field of responsible history education in the Western Balkans and to suggest a regional strategy for future work on regional cooperation.

The roundtable of stakeholders was organised by Euroclio within the framework of ePACT, an education partnership for advocacy, capacity-building and transformation in the formal schooling system of the countries of Western Balkans, implemented by the CDRSEE in partnership with Euroclio.

Representatives from more than 20 associations, NGOs, diplomatic missions and educational institutions attended the dialogue on the achievements, challenges and opportunities of regional cooperation of civil society initiatives, moderated by Jonathan Even-Zohar, Director of Euroclio.

Ms Snjezana Koren, Professor of the University of Zagreb and Member of the JHP History Education Committee, presented her report on ‘Making Sense of the Past that Refuses to Pass’.  She highlighted in her presentation that "the role of history teachers is not just to teach about the past and its topics. It is vital for fostering social engagement for the present".

The CDRSEE, represented by Development Officer Ms Ruth Sutton, contributed to the discussion by presenting the achievements of the long-standing, multi-national initiative, the Joint History Project, a successful programme that has been fostering the emergence of critically thinking, socially active citizens through multi-perspective history education.  Ms Sutton discussed the need to support teachers in utilising multi-perspective, participative and critical thinking methodologies. Echoing Professor Koren’s sentiments, she further emphasised that the JHP is a vital ‘tool’ in not only understanding the past, but also in building abilities in students that will effectively assist them in recognising fake news, media manipulation, propaganda and in democratic, respectful discussion; all essential skills in today’s complex social environment.

The stakeholders all agreed that despite significant progress in the field of education, history teachers in the area of Southeast Europe, to a large extent, lack the proper tools,  resources and support to respond to the challenges raised by the dominant one-dimensional historical narratives, designed to indoctrinate and manipulate rather than promote a student-centred, democratic, multi-perspectival approach to historical knowledge.

Moreover, they all discussed ideas and made recommendations on how civil society organisations can work together and with the EU delegations to improve the quality and raise the impact of the projects implemented in their areas of action.


Looking to the future of the 'Vicinities': first meeting for the 'Okruzenje' team in Belgrade

On 7 March, 2018 the creative and production team of 'Vicinities' met to review the activities of the past season and discuss the next steps of Season 7. Building on the successful sixth season, the production team, brought new ideas for expanding the visibility of the show and pledged their commitment to not only maintaining the quality of the show, but also raising the production standards and setting higher goals that will lead the show to new levels. The feedback from the broadcasters and viewers has been consistently very positive and thus the crew is dedicated to expanding the range of topics with a view to ensure a far-reaching impact to a wider regional audience.

'Vicinities' welcomes Season 7 with a new addition to its team. Distinguished television & film director, producer and screenwriter, Mr Stanko Crnobrnja will be directing the show's episodes from behind the camera. Throughout his career, Mr Crnobrnja has directed more than 1,500 televisions shows, series and three feature films. Mr Crnobrnja is a theoretician  and lecturer in the field of mass communication and television theory and serves as a professor at the Faculty of Media and Communication of the Singidunum University in Belgrade.


CDRSEE's 2018 pita cutting

On 23 February, 2018 the traditional new-year cutting of vasilopita (St Basil’s cake) took place, as it has done every year, at the premises of the CDRSEE in Thessaloniki. CDRSEE board members, staff and distinguished guests gathered to celebrate the advent of 2018 and exchange blessings for a prosperous and successful year for the Center and its projects. CDRSEE Vice-Chair Mr Nikos Efthymiadis, Treasurer Mr Rigas Tzelepoglou and Board Member Mr Ioannis Tsormpatzoglou represented the Board of Directors. The Center had also the honour of sharing this year’s vasilopita with the Consul General of Serbia Mr Sinisa Pavic, the Consul General of Bulgaria Mr Chavdar Agayn, and the Consul General of the FYR of Macedonia Mr Zlatko Kotevski.

Vice-Chair of the CDRSEE Mr Nikos Efthymiadis undertook to cut the traditional vasilopita, upon presenting the multi-faceted work of the Center in the region of Southeast Europe and thanking all those present for their individual and collective contribution to the Center’s objectives. Along with Executive Director Ms Zvezdana Kovac they shared their confidence in new opportunities opening up for the CDRSEE in 2018, in the hope that this year’s 20th anniversary of the CDRSEE will be marked with new successes, record highs and achievements in the area of SE Europe.

All the attendees shared a traditional Greek vasilopita, a sweet cake symbolic of appreciation and thankfulness for what we have. Vasilopita is not a simple cake, but it comes with a hidden trinket inside. The recipient of the piece of cake containing the trinket is assured a good year.

The winner of this year’s trinket was the Consul of the FYR of Macedonia Mr Zlatko Kotevski!

Wishing everyone health and prosperity!


RETHINK project gets underway

Sevres, 29-30 January 2018: With an interesting and busy project kick-off meeting successfully concluded on 30 January 2018, the RETHINK project has got off to a great start.  Hosted by CIEP (Centre International d'Etudes Pedagogiques), the consortium leaders, in Sevres, the meeting brought together the project partners from all over the EU:  Shoah Memorial (France),  Euroclio (based in the Netherlands), The Living History Forum (Sweden), The House of the Wannsee Conference (Germany), Kazerne Dossin (Belgium) and CESIE (Italy), all leading names in remembrance education, history education or educational methodology for critical thinking.  On behalf of the CDRSEE Programme Adviser Mr Antonis Hadjiyannakis and Development Officer Ms Ruth Sutton attended the launch of the new project.

The project aims to utilise and harness the capacities of remembrance education practices to prevent radicalisation and violent extremism through critical thinking education.  RETHINK will bring together programmes and approaches that have been developed in remembrance education and make them more easily accessible to teachers who will be assisted in dealing with critical and controversial issues and to students who will be prompted to develop critical thinking skills towards prevalent prejudices in history education.

The project will run for 3 years and the first phase will entail research on best practices in both the formal and non-formal education sectors to build up a database which can be used by educators in a multitude of settings (schools, museums, memorial sites, training government officials etc).