The first two regional launches of new JHP workbooks have been successfully completed in Kosovo (2/12) and in Albania (5/12) with the participation of more than 100 people.
In Pristina and in Tirana, both Ministers of Education Mr Bajrami and Ms Nikolla - keynote speakers at the respective panels - reiterated their full support for the Joint History Project and highlighted the need for the subsequent translation of the books into Albanian and the implementation of further workshops for history teachers in order to familiarize them with the new teaching methodologies and to be able to use the books more effectively within classrooms. Minister Bajrami, who also participated in the launch in Brussels, pointed out how the project is a good initiative for reconciliation in the region and mentioned the importance of EU support for the project. Ms Nikolla expressed her conviction that it is time for history teaching to move away from absolute truths that foster nationalism and build stereotypes, to a new era where it will prepare democratic citizens to be able to resolve potential conflicts with dialogue and respect for each another. She emphasized how the JHP is an excellent tool for this particular purpose.
Also present as panelists at the Pristina launch, were Mr Sedar, Political Adviser to the European Union Special Representative (EUSR) in Kosovo who expressed the support of the European Commission for the JHP, Mr Pupovci, Executive Director of the Kosova Education Center – and a long standing partner of the CDRSEE in Kosovo - who highlighted the importance of listening to the opinion of others (even if these are different) as only then may we begin to understand alternative points of view and have a meaningful dialogue.
Present at the launch in Tirana that took place at the Center for Openness and Dialogue, was also the newly-elected Chairman of the Board of Directors of the CDRSEE, Mr Hannes Swoboda, who raised the question of whether one can learn from history. He expressed his belief that this is possible if one wishes this to be the case, and those who refuse to learn from history are bound to relive mistakes again. Also present as panelist, was Ms Valenting Duka, member of the CDRSEE’s History Education Committee (HEC) who stressed the importance of good relations between the members of the HEC – a relationship which enabled them to produce the 6 workbooks. Lastly, Ms Fatmiroshe Xhemali who represented the Albanian History Teachers Association – and our partner organization for the JHP in Albania - informed the audience of the progress of the JHP in Albania over the years and expressed her hope that the workbooks would be translated into Albanian soon and that the workshops would commence.
Ms Zvezdana Kovac, Executive Director of CDRSEE, was the moderator for both panels and presented the JHP briefly, introduced the guest-panelists and moderated the discussion with the audience and the questions from the journalists.