CENTER FOR DEMOCRACY AND RECONCILIATION IN SOUTHEAST EUROPE

News

09May

6 May 2011: JHP receives significant support from DG Enlargement

The Joint History Project (JHP) enters a new phase in 2011, thanks to the support of the European Union. The CDRSEE is delighted to announce a refreshing 3 year programme which will allow the JHP to continue fostering reconciliation and democracy development throughout the region, through intensified activities, in scope and in content. The CDRSEE will increase the footprint of this effective model project, not only by continuing its fruitful work in many areas, but also carrying on training more teachers providing capacity building and follow up to previously trained educators and facilitating a regional network of teachers for sustaining results and adding value.

This work will be made possible thanks to the cooperation with the Regional Programmes Unit of DG Enlargement under the auspices of the European Commission, whose unwavering support has contributed to make the CDRSEE’s work possible throughout the years.

The Joint History Project and its intensified 3 year programme fit precisely into the IPA (Instrument for Pre-Accesssion) 2007-2013 programme. The IPA was designed 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. Candidate countries are therefore prepared for full implementation of the Community acquis at the time of accession, while potential candidates shall benefit from support to progressively align themselves to the Community body of law

The JHP, commended by the European Parliament as a key project to address reconciliatory issues within the region, is based on the following logic: preparedness to join the EU is not only measured by the approximation of laws or convergence to certain political or economic objectives, it should also include the adherence of societies to certain fundamental principles and a drive to strive together towards a given goal. Societies are formed by people, and peoples views are shaped by beliefs, values and in general, by culture and history. Culture was included as part of the cooperation strategy in the Stabilisation and Association process between the Western Balkan countries and the European Community, especially regarding the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions, and history has been recognised as part of the intangible cultural heritage and it certainly has its role in the enlargement process.

Watch this space for upcoming news!

17Apr

15 April 2011: CDRSEE participates in Conference EFA Network: SEE Regional Meeting 2011

The CDRSEE participated in a fruitful panel discussion in Zagreb, Croatia, on 15 April this year, on the theme “Southeastern Europe EU Journey”. The conference gathered participants from 11 Southeast European countries, allowing for a fruitful debate on important social issues and future joint projects in a European dimension. Dr Erhard Busek, the CDRSEE’s Chair of Board of Directors, was a guest speaker at the event, supported by the Center’s Executive Director. Learn more about the conference and the EFA network at http://www.efa-network.eu/.           

15Apr

12 April 2011: CDRSEE at conference "Bringing the Western Balkans Closer to Europe"

The CDRSEE was represented at the first panel of the conference, organized by the European Fund for the Balkans. The discussions, themed “Western Balkans and Europe”, were divided into 2 sessions, and counted prominent participants, making for a productive session. The CDRSEE’s Executive Director, Mr. Nenad Sebek, took part in the days first session, named “Administrative Reform in the Western Balkans”. The CDRSEE was further represented during the second session, entitled “Reconciliation in the Western Balkans – Progress since the wars, where are we today?”, by Prof. Zarko Puhovski, member of the CDRSEE Board of Directors. Want to know more about the discussions and the EFB? Click here!

14Apr

09-10 April 2011: Local Teacher Training in Banja Luka, Bosnia-Herzegovina

 

The CDRSEE implemented this 2 day local workshop in Banja Luka, closing the first phase of the JHP in Bosnia. This will allow new activities to take place all over the country, as soon as this year! The first day of the workshop was led by Mr. Enes Milak, Editor of the Bosnian Language Edition of the JHP workbooks, Mr. Munib Efendic and Mr. Nijazija Maslak, two of the teachers trained by the JHP in the Training of Trainers workshops previously implemented.

Mr. Milak presented the project goals, background and principles, and introduced the 21 participants to the workshop agenda. Mr. Efendic led a fruitful workshop based on model lessons, after which Mr. Maslak went on to initiating participants to the notions of fact and opinion, in history. This was followed by a productive workshop, where participants were brought to see the contradictory nature of historical sources, and present new statements based on several sources, rather than only one.

The highlight of the day was the representative presence of the Ministry for Education, which showed further endorsement of the JHP, proving the continuing success of the project.

On day 2, Mr. Goran Miloradovic, the President of the Association for Teaching History in Belgrade, also the supervising guest trainer for this seminar, led a presentation of the use of historical sources in class, and implemented a very productive workshop, where participating practitioners were expected to create and present model lessons.

The response to the seminar by participants was extremely positive, and each left with their set of books and certificates, content with their newly acquired skills.

05Apr

4 April 2011: CDRSEE holds press conference in Sarajevo.

 

On April 4, Enes Milak, editor of the Bosnian edition of the history books, and Nenad Šebek, CDRSEE's Executive Director, moderated by Dzevdet Tuzlic, the JHP coordinator in BiH, presented the principles and materials of the JHP to a highly present and interested Press, after taking part in 2 live television interviews.

During the following press conference, the journalists proved to be very interested in the JHP and their questions focused on its beneficial impact on history education in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

No controversial questions or negative judgements on the JHP were expressed, reflecting the continued and promising advancement of people's acceptance of, and support to, the JHP in the region.

04Apr

2-3 April 2011: JHP Regional Teacher Training in Sarajevo

 

For the first time, the CDRSEE – reacting to the conclusions of the Thessaloniki International conference organised in November 2010 – invited teachers from throughout Southeast Europe to take part in common training activities related to the JHP workbooks’ methodology. Accordingly, teachers from Belgrade, Skopje and Zagreb joined Bosnian participants from the Canton of Sarajevo for a 2-day workshop in Sarajevo.

An equally international trainer team supervised the 20 participating teachers and led the workshop activities according to a programme created by Goran Miloradovic, Bozo Repe, Vesna Janevski and Nijazija Maslak, and finalised by Dzevdet Tuzlic, journalist in Sarajevo, coordinator of the BiH phase of the JHP.

Dr. Bozo Repe, historian at the University of Ljubjana, opened the workshop with a presentation of the Slovenian-Croatian and Slovenian-Serbian relationship throughout modern history. Vezna Janevski, senior expert for teaching methodology in Skopje, introduced the attending teachers to participative teaching and learning methods aiming to foster free expression and active participation of students in class. Lastly, Nijazija Maslak, professor of history in Bihac, also trained trainer of the JHP, and Goran Miloradovic, historian and President of the Association for Social History in Belgrade, trained the teachers in concrete use of the JHP workbooks.

Nijazija Maslak proposed a teaching methodology based on the comparison of historical sources about the devshirme system in the period of the Ottoman Empire. The teachers were to answer questions about this system, according to the historical sources they were provided with. As the historical sources presented the devshirme in different perspectives and expressed different opinions, the participants’ answers to the questions turned out to be highly divergent. Through this concrete exercise, the teachers were to understand that history is also a personal and subjective interpretation of facts that should be presented and explained as such to children in class, through similar exercises, so as to foster their ability to critically think vis-à-vis partial presentations of their region’s history.

Goran Miloradovic further pursued the training with activities aimed at producing model lessons around the topic of children’s life during the war. Using historical texts and pictures, the teachers developed model lessons based on a multi-perspective analysis of historical sources, keeping in mind the main goal of the JHP training: making history teaching more than a simple matter of memorising dates and facts, by encouraging the students to participate actively in class and to discuss and argue their views, so as to help them understand that, regardless of what their own opinions and beliefs are, history is made of a multiplicity of perspectives and interpretations.

During this first regional workshop, the diversity of the participants’ ethnic, geographical and religious backgrounds represented a new and challenging feature, which was, however, successfully handled by both the trainers and the participating teachers. Even during discussions about highly sensitive topics, such as the interpretation of the devshirme system, teachers and trainers remained focused on the training’s methodological issues, putting their respective points of view aside, thus allowing for a very fruitful discussion about the use of the JHP workbooks in class.

This first regional workshop also proved that people-to-people contact and cooperation work and help people from very different backgrounds get along with each other. Seeing past their differences, the participating teachers exchanged experiences about common difficulties in class, gave advice to one another about teaching strategies, enjoyed the same very friendly atmosphere, and shared the same pride of having been part of this first JHP regional workshop together.

02Mar

01 March 2011: CDRSEE attends Conference "Shared Social Responsibility" in Brussels

The conference, organised jointly by the European Commission and the Council of Europe in Brussels on 01 March 2011, revolved around discussing the need of shared social responsibility in the current context of multiple transitions and related subjects. The event counted amongst its participants speakers from the fields of European Politics, science and civil society, and meant to confirm social cohesion as an objective for Europe.

22Feb

18-20 February 2011: History Teacher Training in Zlatibor

Highslide JS
History Teacher Training in Zlatibor
 
History Teacher Training in Zlatibor
 

The Joint History Project (JHP) seminar series of 2011 started in Western Serbia with a workshop in Uzice (Zlatibor). 28 teachers from Uzice and 11 surrounding municipalities gathered to discuss attitudes towards history teaching and current methodology. During the workshop the last copies of the 2nd edition (2010) of the JHP workbooks were distributed which closes the rapid dissemination of 1500 copies within 7 months. More copies will be produced in 2011 as a response to the accelerating demand in Serbian schools.

In Zlatibor amongst other discussions participants also argued about the readiness of each of the participating countries to address and face the past from a multi-perspective way, and to which extend responsibility for crimes is admitted in public. The seminar thus reconfirmed the lack of trust that is still prevailing and at the same time validated the need for more regional teacher training activities were cross border exchange of perspectives and views takes place not only theoretical, but also on a people to people basis.

The workshop was headed by the historian and president of the Association for Social History Dr. Goran Miloradovic and the sessions are moderated by history teachers for their peers. The teachers, who acted as trainers beforehand received an intensive training by the CDRSEE in modern methodologies and use of multi-perspective materials.

The seminars reinforce the aims of the project mainly by giving practical guidance for steering history teaching away from simply memorising dates and facts, but instead offering students the possibility to participate, research and argue their views. Original historical sources in the JHP work books serve as the basis for the methodology and they are structured around four prominent topics “Ottoman Empire, Nation and States, The Balkan Wars and World War II”; the sources provide first hand unbiased material for teachers to spark discussions and inspiration in class rooms. In the seminar, teachers team up in four groups and prepare a total of 16 model lessons which are then presented and discussed with all participants.