The CDRSEE at the 6th European Historical Forum in Berlin

On May 22-23, 2017, in Berlin, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung hosted the 6th European Historical Forum "The Epochal Year 1917: The Dream - or Nightmare - of Emancipation? Flashback to a Caesura in Eastern and Southeastern Europe" organized with its Russian partner, the Scientific Information Center Memorial (Международный Мемориал). The Forum aimed at offering young historians museum, media, and NGO activists from East, South East, and West Europe a space to reflect and exchange and at promoting a pan-European discourse on memory culture and history politics.

In the second day of the 6th European Historical Forum, in the framework of the discourse on how various places throughout Europe remember the epochal year of 1917, and what conclusions can be drawn from the dominant narratives for the current political and mental state of the region, the CDRSEE's executive Director Mrs Zvezdana Kovac spoke about the Joint History Project as a good practice of cooperation between NGOs and governments in addition to being an example which demonstrates that a common narrative is possible.


Mostar hosts ePACT workshop

Continuing our successful series of workshops with educators across Southeast Europe, our first ePACT workshop in Bosnia and Herzegovina took place in Mostar on 17-18 May, 2017, hosted in the Culture Center and with the support of the Federal Ministry of Education and Science.  ePACT offers teachers, school directors and school inspectors an opportunity to upskill their capacities in learner-centred, participative education methods with the aim of reforming education systems across the region.  Under the guidance of two experienced trainers, Mr. Ismet Strujo,  Assistant Minister of Preschool, Elementary and Secondary School Education and Ms. Đenana Gološ,  Research Associate for Cooperation and Projects in Preschool, Elementary and Secondary Education at the Ministry of Education, educators from across the country participated in the two day workshop of activities, discussion and mutual learning. 


Presentation of JHP at Club 44

With our Joint History Project setting the benchmark for history education not only in Southeast Europe, but also in the EU, two of the driving forces of the JHP presented the project on 11 May 2017 at a conference by Club 44 in Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.  History Education Committee Chair, Professor Christina Koulouri and Vice-Chair Professor Dubravka Stojanović spoke about the JHP at the symposium  entitled ‘Constructing a Common History: The Balkans as a laboratory of resilience’  (Construire une Histoire Commune: Les Balkans comme laboratoire de resilience). In the discussion moderated by Jean-François Berger, delegate of the ICRC in the Balkans, the two historians stressed the importance of the methodology and the multi-perspective approach adopted in the writing of the common history books in developing empathy and dispelling long-standing prejudices among the peoples of the region.

The presentation of the JHP elicited great interest among the participants about how a team of historians is succeeding in creating a path to a common future of peace and reconciliation, via common history education.You can watch and/or hear the whole discussion in the following link:


ePACT trainings continue in Niš, Serbia

Niš, 3-4 April 2017: After the successful completion of the ‘Teaching for Learning’ workshop in Belgrade last weekend, the ePACT team, together with the trainers from the Serbian Ministry of Education, traveled to Niš in southern Serbia to implement the second pilot training session, within the framework of ePACT.

Mr. Dragan Gejo, Head of the Regional School Department, opened the two day training workshop and highlighted the importance of such initiatives that help teachers improve their skills and familiarise themselves with new methodologies.

The 24 educators who participated in the workshops came from all over the region and were teachers of a range of subjects at different levels within the school system. Additionally there were also some school directors who took part. All of the participants expressed a wish to see more workshops like this taking place, and even suggested that all schools should carry out such types of training sessions.


Assistant Minister of Education opens ePACT workshop in Belgrade

Belgrade, 31 March - 1 April 2017: The opening speech of Mr Aleksandar Pajić, Assistant Minister of Education in Serbia, strongly confirmed the excellent cooperation between the Ministries of Education in the six target countries within which the ePACT project is implemented and the two operating organisations - CDRSEE and Euroclio. Ms Kovac, Executive Director of CDRSEE, also highlighted that cooperation between the state authorities and the civil society organisations can benefit society as a whole more effectively than when they operate separately. Additionally, in her opening remarks, Ms Biljana Stojanovic, Head of Group for Planning and Programming Projects from the Ministry of Education mentioned the importance of such workshops for the improvement of the teachers skills and their training on new methodologies.

The 21 educators that participated in the training were comprised of teachers of elementary and secondary schools of both natural and social sciences, as well as school directors and inspectors. The team of trainers that participated in the two full-day Teaching for Learning workshop were Ms Stojanovic, Ms Jasminka Marković from the Center for Educational Policy and Ms Levkov - one of the Ministry’s most experienced trainers.  At the end of the workshops a positive feedback was received and some participants expressed their desire for follow-up trainings of the same high standard as this workshop.


The CDRSEE at the EIB in Luxembourg – Countering Extremism

At a seminar organised for the CDRSEE in Luxembourg by the European Investment Bank (EIB) together with the EIB Institute on 23 March 2017, our Executive Director Zvezdana Kovac raised the problems the Western Balkans faces once again and how it needs the EU now more than ever to counter extremism and deal with the refugee problem.

The presentation of the CDRSEE’s projects – out of the ordinary for an EIB audience of 70 people used to seminars of a more financial and economic nature -  triggered much enthusiasm and interest on how promoting tolerance and discussion in Southeast Europe can ease tensions and counter extremism.


Two ePACT trainings conducted, and more to come!

Positive feedback has been received by both the participants and trainers of the two workshops organised under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in Kosovo. After successfully completing two trainings in Montenegro in December 2016 - ePACT, a project co-organised by the CDRSEE and Euroclio with the support of the Austrian Development Agency, implemented another two 'Teaching for Learning' workshops in Kosovo.

The trainers, Ms Igballe Cakaj, Head of the Ministry’s Division for Teachers Professional Development and Mr Milazim Avdylaj, teacher and accredited trainer were impressed by the materials and the new methodologies and informed us that they were also well received by the trainees. Additionally, according to the participants, the student-centered approach of the method and its basis of educating democratic principles - fits perfectly with the new revised curricula introduced earlier this year in Kosovo and facilitates the transition phase from the old to the new reformed system. Moreover, as the two groups participating in the workshops were comprised of natural science teachers, Ms Cakaj expressed her desire to conduct more trainings with social science teachers in Autumn, if possible.

The first workshop took place on 10-11/03/2017 with 24 teachers and 4 school directors participating and the second one on 12-13/03/2017 at which 23 educators participated.

The next stop for ePACT workshops will be in Belgrade on 31/03 – 01/04 and followed by another workshop in Nis 03-04/04.


Exploring Communities in Greece

Making up over 56% of the total migrant population, the Albanian community is the single largest group of migrants in Greece, and one that has experienced both struggles and solidarity in settling and integrating in the country.

The project ‘Communities in Greece’ is a research initiative, carried out by the CDRSEE and a team of academics and researchers from Athens and Thessaloniki. The aims were to document and highlight the experiences of the Albanian community in Greece, with a view to finding practical ways to ameliorate the problems they face and also to share best practice and celebrate successes. 

Presented to the public of Thessaloniki on February 7, 2017 the research was outlined by the authors and the event was moderated by the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the CDRSEE, Mr Nikos Efhtymiadis.  Attending the event were a number of the research participants as well as the Consuls of Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The overall findings of the research reveal that while progress has been made over the past two decades in terms of acceptance and integration of Albanians in Greece, there are still obstacles to full social, legal, economic and political participation for many, including those who have been living in the country for 3 decades and those who are second generation.  The obstacles most frequently noted by the respondents are the following: legalisation, acquisition of citizenship by first and second generation immigrants and the assertion of social and welfare rights.

The event included a lively exploration of not only the research, but also the issues surrounding migration. Immigration is often regarded as a problem in Greece whereby foreigners are viewed as ‘the others’, instead of as people with common traits, Mr. Efthymiadis pointed out.  Dr Manos added that one of their findings identified that immigration is perceived in a negative manner in countries where there is a very high level of national homogeneity in terms of language, ethnicity and religion leading it to being viewed as ‘damaging’ to the identity of the nation. This perception is greatly heightened during a financial crisis. The discussion between the panel and those actively participating ended with the general conclusion that immigration is not a ‘problem’ but a phenomenon.

The research was an opportunity for Albanian immigrants to describe in their own words, their experience, perceptions and general opinion on life in Greece, immigration and identity. The aim of the research itself was to document the complex issues of integration from the points of view of the Albanian and Greek community and to identify areas that were in need of improvement. The innovative style of this pioneering research focused on enabling subject voices to be ‘heard’ and its findings disseminated to decision-makers, state and municipal civil service personnel and community organisations in order to improve integration.

The project was funded by Foundation Open Society Institute in cooperation with the OSIFE of the Open Society Foundations.  The research team was led by Dr Ioannis Manos (Assistant Professor in Social Anthropology Department of Balkan, Slavic and Oriental Studies, University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki) and was composed of Dr Dora Papadopoulou (Social Researcher, PhD in Sociology); Ms Vassiliki Makrygianni (Researcher, PhD Candidate in Architecture (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)); and Mr Konstantinos Kolovos Social Researcher, Anthropologist.

The report on the research findings is available for download in Greek (, and in English and Albanian will be available by the end of the month.