CENTER FOR DEMOCRACY AND RECONCILIATION IN SOUTHEAST EUROPE

News

23Sep

21-22 September 2013, Trogir, Joint History Project Teacher Training Workshop

 

The CDRSEE successfully completed another Joint History Project Teacher-Training Workshop in Croatia, in the city of Trogir, Dalamatia.

This was the fourth and final workshop in the second round of trainings scheduled to help teachers understand and tailor the JHP workbooks and programme to their students' needs. Including the 20 participants that joined the workshop in Trogir, about 100 teachers have been successfully trained in Croatia. 

In Trogir, five trainers helped with the presentation of the workbooks, engaging the teacher-students with five model lessons. 

These workshops would not have been possible without the help of Education and Teacher Training Agency, the  History Association of Croatia and of course our trainers -- Kresimir Erdelja, Snjezana Koren, Tamara Jankovic, Ivan Dukic and Kiti Jurica-Korda.

The CDRSEE wraps up the round of workshops in Croatia with the hope and confidence that we have contributed to the successful implementation of the JHP in the area, and ultimately to true reconciliation in the region.

17Sep

September 17th, 2013 - Alpbach Summer School Students Introduced to the CDRSEE's Joint History Project

 

The Alpbach Summer School on European Integration held its annual program in Belgrade to learn about the region’s history, culture, society, politics, and law. The CDRSEE’s Nenad Sebek led a panel discussion and presented the work of the CDRSEE at the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory.

The dialogue, rather than taking the customary jot down and repeat what I say approach of regional education, engaged students in a vibrant discussion on the concept and subjectivity of history, shared identities, and the EU integration aspirations of Balkan states. Students were immediately challenged to think outside the box and reexamine the cultural differences that borders of the Balkans have established. Throughout the discussion, Nenad presented the students with the CDRSEE’s flagship program, the Joint History Project. While making sure to highlight the project’s successes in teaching history by avoiding stereotypes, identifying attitudes that encourage conflict, and promoting the idea of multiple interpretations of one event, he also addressed some of the hardships that the project has faced as Balkan societies are still in the process of breaking away from nationalistic sentiment, xenophobia, and ethnocentricity. The students were appreciative to learn of the project and grasp at the idea to study history with multiple interpretations of one event.

The discussion was followed by a question and answer session where the students eagerly sought answers to issues ranging from the transformation and emergence of political parties in Serbia, Montenegro’s EU accession path, and the process of reconciliation in the region.    

17Sep

September 17th, 2013 - A Discussion on the Role of Civil Society in the Process of EU Integration

 

The Alpbach Summer School on European Integration gathered 25 aspiring students from throughout Southeast Europe to learn, debate, and discuss the politics of the region and undertake a course on the European Union and the EU integration processes. The CDRSEE’s Nenad Sebek moderated a panel discussion on the “Role of Civil Society in the Process of EU Integration" at the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory in Belgrade. Among the distinguished group of panelists was Sonja Licht of the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence, Dr. Caspar Einem of the Austrian Institute for International Affairs, Henri Bohnet of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, and Daniela Schily of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit.

The discussion challenged students to rethink some of the common assumptions of civil society and its role in political life. Sonja Licht, one of the leading political theorists in the region, offered an abstract but accurately descriptive answer to the question of what constitutes civil society. She put forth the idea that civil society is every citizen, institution, or group of people that actively engage in public political life. Her statement, while giving the audience a brief pause to reflect, commenced a lively dialogue on issues ranging from the sustainability of civil society organizations to the hardships of securing donor funding while remaining independent. These fundamental challenges that CSOs face are often neglected, but are necessary for organizations to function and remain committed to their core values. Civil society throughout Southeast Europe is not only an important vehicle for balancing the power of governments and giving citizens a voice in the political arena, but also a space for open minds that has produced influential political theorists and policymakers that currently shape the political discourse of our region.

Following the discussion, the students engaged the panelists with questions focusing on the uncertain future that they as students, and more generally, Balkan societies face. While no one was in the position to offer any comforting answers, the predominant response was that emerging social scientists need to remain committed to democratic values while acquiring the right skills and know how to gradually change the mentality that has plagued post-socialist societies throughout Southeast Europe.

31Aug

August 31st, 2013 - CDRSEE to receive European Union funding for the Project "Uniting Differences- fostering the integration of Roma preschool children"

The Center for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeast Europe is pleased to announce it has been awarded European Union funding to launch a new programme to help integrate Roma preschool children in Croatian schools.

The CDRSEE is the lead non-governmental organisation and is cooperating with the Center for Peace, Legal Advice and Psychological Assistance of Vukovar, Croatia, to carry out the project titled, “Uniting Differences- fostering the integration of Roma preschool children”. The programme will take place in Medjimurje County in Croatia.

The funding was awarded under the call for proposals for the Integration of disadvantaged groups in regular education system, part of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) IV Component Human Resources Development Grant Scheme.

The aim of this project is the integration of Roma preschool children in the education system through the diffusion of new multicultural teaching methods, networking, access to information, and opened channels of communication with decision-makers. Working on the promotion of equal opportunities in access to education for Roma in Croatia, the two NGOs will help train the staff of preschool educational institutions to use and promote multicultural teaching methods as a means to support the social inclusion of Roma children. Through activities such as roundtables uniting local level actors and educational institutions and additionally by holding pilot teacher-training workshops to apply a chosen teaching methodology, the two NGOs aim to promote values of multiculturalism, tolerance and diversity along with social and personal skills to preschool children.

The IPA was designed so as to address the needs of the beneficiary countries within the context of pre-accession policy in the most appropriate way. Its main aim is to support institution-building and the rule of law, human rights, including the fundamental freedoms, minority rights, gender equality and non-discrimination, both administrative and economic reforms, economic and social development, reconciliation and reconstruction, and regional and cross-border cooperation.

04Jul

27-29 June 2013, Croatia - Europe joins Croatia

 

The CDRSEE was honored to play a key role in an international youth conference that marked Croatia’s accession to the European Union. Board Chairman, Dr. Erhard Busek, took part in the panel discussion “Europe for the young: Building reliable roadmaps”, the principal activity of the Zagreb conference.

The conference, organized by Klub Alpbach Hrvatska (http://www.kah.hr/cro/eng/) took place from June 27 to 29 and was entitled “Europe joins Croatia”. It was an event organized by youth, for the youth, celebrating and promoting young people’s contributions to the EU. Dr. Busek was a panelist together with Doris Pack, Ivan Krastev and Dejan Jovic in a lively and productive discussion at the Museum of Contemporary Art. CDRSEE Executive Director Nenad Sebek was also on hand, leading a workshop on moderating panel discussions as well as a more informal chat among participants, entitled “European Union and its youth – a success story?”

The conference was a huge success, also including a public speaking competition, a workshop of public advocacy, a photo exhibition, the presentation of a documentary and many other activities that promoted the active and positive participation of young people in the European Union.

Bravo for our young friends at KAH!

13Jun

8-9 June 2013, JHP Teacher Training in Pristina

 

Making history by changing the education of history is the longstanding goal of the Joint History Project, under which the CDRSEE invited 15 Albanian history teachers from Kosovo* for an educational workshop in Pristina. The purpose of the two-day JHP teacher training workshop was to mobilise the teachers as agents of an educational change in the Balkans by introducing alternative classroom methodologies and multi-perspective teaching material.

For two days the teachers, from high schools in the cities of Mitrovica, Decani, Viti, Glogovac and Pristina, worked with the Joint History Project’s education material by testing and retesting its usability by stepping into their students’ shoes. To encourage participation, the teachers were divided into smaller groups where they had the opportunity to exchange ideas and discuss the content of the lectures. Petrit Tahiri, the programme coordinator from CDRSEE’s local partner, Kosovo Education Center, was an effective moderator of the workshop.

Trainers Frasher Demaj, Besim Haliti, and Enver Sadiku helped the teachers to debate even sensitive aspects of the Balkan history in an encouraging and constructive environment. Following the Joint History Project’s principle of freethought, the teachers were encouraged to voice their opinions and present their arguments and thoughts publically. After two days of presentations and group work, the seminar culminated in the CDRSEE donating the teaching material to all participants for future use.

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

13Jun

8-9 June 2013, Gračanica, Joint History Project Teacher Training Workshop

In the historic setting of Gračanica, 20 Serb history teachers from Kosovo* gathered for a weekend of vigorous yet constructive discussion and debate on the Balkan past, as part of the Joint History Project’s teacher training workshop series. Complicated issues from the past, such as the Ottoman period, the building of Balkan nation states and propaganda, were put on the table and discussed openly only a stone’s throw away from Gračanica’s Medieval Orthodox monastery, whose historic importance was not left unmentioned by the participants.

With the help of four experienced trainers from Belgrade and Leskovac - Sandra Grbin Udovicic, Ljiljana Lazarevic, Aleksandar Todosijevic and Ivan Becic - the teachers worked in small groups, familiarizing themselves with the methodology and workbooks of the CDRSEE’s Joint History Project.  In the spirit of cooperation, the teachers were not mere listeners but active participants who demonstrated the results of their group work with public presentations, giving the others an opportunity to comment and ask further questions. Particularly inspiring was the input of the workshop moderator Goran Miloradovic, President of the Association for Social History in Belgrade.

The thematic group work, presentations and public discussions were well received by the history teachers, who worked hard practicing the participatory teaching methodology endorsed by the Joint History Project in Southeastern Europe. The Joint History Project was noticed by three local media outlets, which reported on the opening remarks of the two-day workshop. On the second day, the project was featured live on TV Most.

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

03Jun

30-31 May 2013 - 4th Teacher Training Workshop in Podgorica, Montenegro

 

The fourth JHP workshop in Montenegro was completed with great success, with the participating teachers asking for more workbooks and opportunities to attend additional workshops. The CDRSEE, together with its local partner, the Bureau for Education Services, hosted 22 teachers in Podgorica for the last two days of May.  The participants showed great interest in the trainers' presentations, and discussed at length the successful use of the JHP workbooks in the classrooms.

The team of trainers comprised historian Prof. Dragutin Papovic,  psychologist Prof. Vesna Milovic and history teachers Ljiljana Bajcetic, Vesna Kovacevic, Rade Vujovic and Marc Juncaj.

The workshop was funded by the European Commission's IPA programme.