With RTK1 as new partner, Okruzenje to air in both Serbian and Albanian in Kosovo

March, 2015 -- "Okruzenje" gained another important TV channel partner, Albanian-language RTK1 of Kosovo, which means that the fourth season will be broadcast on both the Serbian- and Albanian-language TV channels of Kosovo's public TV station RTK, as the show continues on its mission to bring together the people of the Balkans.

CDRSEE Executive Director Zvezdana Kovac met with the General Director of RTK, Mentor Shala, where they discussed the new season of Okruzenje, or "Vicinities in English", and the role of partner TV stations. The two wrapped up the meeting with Mr. Shala signing the Memorandum of Understanding that seals Okruzenje's future on both RTK1 in Albanian and RTK2 in Serbian.

RTK2 aired both Seasons II and III of Okruzenje as well, and it has long been the team's goal to bring RTK1 on board as well.

This brings the number of channels that will broadcast Okruzenje to 10. Just last month, Albanian Public TV RTSH signed on as well.

Both Albanian-language channels will broadcast the shows with subtitles.



Japanese daily to focus on JHP

Feb 16, 2015 -- The CDRSEE will be featured in an upcoming series on history education in the major Japanese daily newspaper Asahi Shimbun, based in Tokyo with a daily circulation of about 8 million.

Executive Director Zvezdana Kovac was honoured to receive two Asahi Shimbun journalists at the CDRSEE's offices in Thessaloniki, Greece, earlier this month. The journalists interviewed Ms. Kovac and were given a set of our flagship Joint History Project workbooks as well as our teaching methodology manual, Teaching for Learning.

The journalists then went on to visit sites in the Balkans where the Joint History Project workbooks are in use and supported by the local Ministries of Education.

Interestingly, the Joint History Project workbooks have also been translated to Japanese by a university that was interested in the project.

The newspaper series, tentatively entitled "From the Classrooms of the World," is expected to be published in the near future.


TV Albania joins Okruzenje team, as TV Partners bring ideas to Thessaloniki

Feb. 5-6, Thessaloniki -- Albanian public broadcaster RTSH has joined the Okruzenje (Vicinities) project, committing to broadcast all of the regional current affairs talk shows, and came together with editors from all Okruzenje partner TV stations who gathered in Thessaloniki, Greece, for two days of meetings and collaboration.

The TV editors, from nine stations including the newly signed RTSH, discussed topics for the 4th season of current affairs talk shows and brought many ideas for expansion and improvement.  RTSH, "Albanian Radio and Television" in English, brought a director and cameraman to the meeting, as they are producing a 15-minute segment on Okruzenje, covering the programme as well as the gathering of editors from across the region.

Okruzenje, or Vicinities in English, is still the only regional current affairs talk show that brings together guests from different countries and backgrounds to discuss topics that impact daily life in the Balkans. The editors reviewed and critiqued the recently completed third season, the most successful so far, including roundtable discussions in Sarajevo and Belgrade. Building on the third season, they brought forth new ideas and recommendations for expanding both the topics and number of shows as well as the general visibility.

Okruzenje co-host and Executive Director of the CDRSEE, Zvezdana Kovac, hosted the meeting. She was joined by Hedvig Morvai, Executive Director of the European Fund for the Balkans, a partner of the Okruzenje project, and Nenad Sebek, Okruzenje co-host and Spokesperson for another project partner, the Regional Cooperation Council. 

All of the TV partners pledged their full commitment to the fourth season and to the show in general, expressing the positive feedback that they continue to receive from viewers and station management alike.

The editors especially pushed for additional roundtable discussions in the next season. In addition to the studio-based regular-season programmes, the CDRSEE will organize four roundtable discussions at different locations around the region, inviting the editors and locals to take part in the discussions and in a local event.

In addition, many TV partners have agreed to rebroadcast previous season shows, to add more coverage and visibility in the off season.

Season IV of Okruzenje is again supported by the EFB as well as the German Federal Foreign Office and the RCC.



HEC meets in Tirana to start production of new JHP workbooks

Jan. 30 - Feb. 1, 2015, Tirana, Albania -- The JHP's History Education Committee gathered in Tirana for a productive meeting to begin the process of creating two new JHP volumes for the CDRSEE's flagship project.

As part of the second phase of the Joint History Project, this was the first gathering of historians for the production of the new Joint History Project Volumes “post-1945” and “post-1989”. Under the guidance of Prof. Christina Koulouri, the series editor, and Costa Carras, from the CDRSE Board of Directors, editors and contributors to the project discussed the content list of the new books.

More than 20 people took part in the meeting, which was held at the Tirana International Hotel and Conference Center.

Important was to find a balanced presentation of historical source material from the whole of Southeast Europe that would be equally interesting and relevant to readers from all countries alike. The next meeting will take place in April, when a first selection of source material will already be available.


CDRSEE wraps up Uniting Differences teacher training workshops

23-24 January 2015 -- The CDRSEE organized and carried out the third and final training of teachers event of the Uniting Differences project, as it wraps up its pilot project to provide teachers with tools to help keep Roma pre-school children in Croatian public schools.

The training workshop was held in Međimurje County on Jan. 23 and 24, 2015. The 18 pro-school teachers who attended were given the opportunity to learn new methodologies for teaching in diverse classrooms, and were given tools to build trust and improve communication and understanding with the parents of the Roma children.

The event held in Sveti Martin na Muri was the final training workshop. Now, project organizers will turn to evaluation. They will look at the impact of the project, gathering insight from local organizers, teacher associations and the teachers themselves. Equally important will be the feedback that will be collected by the Roma pupils and their parents.

The impressions and outcome will be published after an assessment roundtable is held in Croatia.


CDRSEE kicks off new year with Uniting Differences Teacher Training event

9-10 January 2015 -- The CDRSEE opened the new year with a teacher training workshop in Sveti Martin, Međimurje County, Croatia, as part of a project to help integrate Roma children in Croatian schools.

As part of the Center's Uniting Differences project, 19 pre-school teachers took the opportunity to learn new methodologies for facilitating early learning in diverse classrooms, in particular where Croatian children learn side by side with their peers from the Roma community.

The workshop touched upon cultural awareness skills and trust-building with parents, and also elaborated on the specific challenges that language barriers pose.

Participants engaged in a role-playing game to help get a feel of how actions of the majority population feel from a minority point of view. Teachers also practiced children's games that contribute to establishing classrooms where all children feel welcome.

The teacher training session was the second in the project that is designed to provide teachers with tools to help keep Roma pre-school children from dropping out of Croatian public schools.


A Non-National Way of Looking at History Should be the Normal Way of Looking at History

16-18 December 2014 – CDRSEE Executive Director Zvezdana Kovac took part in an important international conference in Berlin on European Commemoration, sponsored by the German Federal Foreign Office, which focused on remembrance in societies.

The commemoratory conference recognized the Centenary of the First World War, and through that considered three central questions – the significance and aims of remembrance in societies, the major dividing lines in European memories, and strategies to support a joint dialogue on remembrance and European identity.

The overall theme was well expressed by Dr. Gunnar Dedio, producer of the documentary drama “14 – Diaries of the Great War”, a multinational production using pictorial material from 21 countries, presented via diaries and personal accounts from many individual perspectives. Dr. Dedio called for an effort to make a non-national way of looking at history the normal way of looking at history.

Prominent university history professors and representatives of many civil society organisations took part. The opening speech was given by Prof. Alan Kramer of Trinity College Dublin, University of Dublin, Ireland. Ambassador Andreas Meitzner, Germany’s Special Representative for the Events Commemorating the Start of World War I, and Ronald Grätz, Secretary General of the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (IFA), also spoke to participants.

The participants, including the CDRSEE, played a major role in the impact of the conference. As the German Federal Foreign Office said in its justification of the project, the particular background and experience of each participant indeed helped shape the understanding of the multitude of perspectives on the memory of the European war. The conference was a testament to the importance of taking an interdisciplinary approach to history, culture and politics.  


Uniting Differences: Teacher Training event

Dec. 12-13, 2014 Uniting Differences, the CDRSEE’s programme to help keep Roma children from dropping out of the mainstream Croatian school system, held its first Teacher Training Event in Medjimurje County, Croatia.

The workshop sparked much discussion about what can be done to help integrate children in schools. The Uniting Differences programme is a pilot project which targets pre-school children in paricular, as a smooth integration into the school system can help children remain in the education system for years to come. In Croatia, only an estimated 10 percent of Roma children complete primary school.

The Uniting Differences project is founded in a teaching methodology book as well as training events to help teachers model methods that will work in their own classrooms.

Two more teacher training sessions are scheduled for January 2015.