March, Mostar -- Twenty-eight high school history teachers from across the Western Balkans came together in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, to discuss the conflictive past, as part of the CDRSEE's project to create multi-perspective teaching materials that cover the history of the region.
The meeting was an important step in the second phase of the CDRSEE's Joint History Project, which will provide workbooks for teaching the history after the Second World War and during the Wars of the 1990s.
The teachers spent the weekend of March 6 to 8, 2015, in Mostar for a training seminar on the existing JHP alternative history education materials, which are used in schools across the region, but also to provide insights and suggestions for the upcoming workbooks.
The teachers and trainers, from Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo, Cyprus and Romania, worked in multi-ethnic groups to provide feedback and insights, and to make suggestions from personal experience for using the multi-perspective materials in the classroom. A representative of the Federal Ministry of Education of Bosnia and Herzegovina also took part in the seminar, as the Ministry is an associate in the project.
During the seminar, the participants went together to visit the Division Line between the Croat and Bosniak areas of the city, as well as many sites around Mostar. Participants had the opportunity to speak with the people of the city who were first-hand witnesses and lived through the Wars of the 1990s. It was a weekend of intense discussion, which touched upon a difficult past that is very fresh in the memories.
Participants from Albania and Romania shared their experiences during the Cold War, which will also be covered under the new teaching materials.
The teachers who attended the seminar said it was especially thought-provoking to discuss and compare with teachers from different countries, calling it a "unique" and "interesting" experience.
The JHP materials in development will extend CDRSEE's proven tool for reconciliation to the sensitive recent history of Southeast Europe. Many teachers said they enjoyed and appreciated the opportunity to come together to compare history teaching in the different countries.
The seminar was the second in a series of three. The first took place in December 2014 in Vukovar, Croatia, and the final will take place on March 27-29, 2015, in Bujanovac, Serbia.