13-15 December 2013, Thessaloniki – Policy makers, history teachers, social scientists, journalists and many more from Southeast Europe and beyond are gathering in Thessaloniki, Greece, this weekend for a regional conference on the power of history education in promoting reconciliation and resolving unfinished disputes in the region.
The conference, entitled “His Story or History: Europe in the Trap of Populism”, has been organised by the Center for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeast Europe. More than 50 influential and concerned educators and policy makers, among others, will come together to take an honest look at the state of history education in Europe, especially Southeast Europe, its impact, and how it can be improved to promote reconciliation and integration.
Are myths more popular than facts, despite unprecedented levels of access to information? Is social science, and especially history education, being underrepresented in academic curricula? How can education policies convey more evaluation and critical-thinking skills? Can Europe seek financial integration while education remains a national holy grail? These are just some of the questions that the participants will take on.
Participants will be welcomed on the evening of Friday, December 13, at the Mediterranean Palace in Thessaloniki, our venue for the weekend. Keynote speeches, moderated by Nikos Efthymiadis, Chairman of the REDESTOS Efthymiadis Agrotechnology Group and Vice Chairman, CDRSEE Board of Directors will kick off first thing Saturday morning. The keynote speakers are Dr. Erhard Busek, Former Vice Chancellor of Austria and the Chairman of the CDRSEE Board of Directors, and Dr. Dusan Reljic, of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs and the CDRSEE Board of Directors.
Saturday includes two panel discussions. The first will be moderated by the award-winning author and journalist Tim Judah of The Economist, addressing “History as a Battlefied”. The second, moderated by Costa Carras, Vice President of Europa Nostra, a member of the CDRSEE Board of Directors and our Joint History Project Supervisor, will look for answers as to how education can stimulate critical-thinking skills and make society less vulnerable to populism.
Sunday, December 15, will be dedicated to working groups, which will then pull together conclusions under the guidance of moderator Aleksandra Joksimovic, Executive Director of PFZ - Zepter Holding, and a member of the CDRSEE Board of Directors. On Monday, the CDRSEE Board of Directors will meet to assess the outcomes of the conference, which will play a role in determining the future goals and focus of the organisation.