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.