CENTER FOR DEMOCRACY AND RECONCILIATION IN SOUTHEAST EUROPE

Joint History Project

“This project will, I am sure, recognise both the shared suffering and the achievements of the region. In this way, I believe it can provide a valuable contribution to overcoming the painful legacies of the past, and to helping newer generations understand the importance of moving forward together towards the EU”. Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, speaking about the JHP

The Joint History Project was the original CDRSEE programme and remains at the heart of everything we do. The JHP was launched in 1999, in an effort to change the way history is taught in schools across the Balkans. The founders - historians, diplomats, philanthropists -- felt very strongly that to reach real reconciliation in the region, you have to reach the grass roots, the youth. The programme is therefore centred on education, on providing history-teaching materials for teachers that convey multiple perspectives of the same events, and on ensuring that these materials be put to use across the region.

Today, the JHP is the gold standard in multi-perspective history teaching. The foundation of the programme is a set of workbooks designed and written by the CDRSEE's History Education Committee, prominent experts from all over the region. Currently there are four books, in 11 languages, which cover events and history from the Ottoman Empire to the Second World War. The second set of materials was produced in 2016 and using the same methodology, covers the Cold War and the transition in Southeast Europe up until 2008, thus including the Wars of the 1990s. 

These two new volumes of history workbooks were launched in November 2016 in the European Parliament, hosted by the Vice-President of the Parliament and attended by EU Commissioners, Parliamentarians and the General Secretary of the Regional Cooperation Council.  The books were subsequently launched in 6 capital cities of Southeast Europe at events at which Heads of EU Delegations and Ministers of Education spoke.

A crucial accomplishment, the CDRSEE has developed close working relationships with most of the Ministries of Education and Teacher Associations across the Balkans. Through these working relationships, the JHP provides on-going teacher training, outreach and media work. The number of teachers who have been trained to use the JHP materials and tailor the books and lessons to their classrooms continues to grow, and an estimated half a million students have been touched by the JHP over the years.

The JHP not only aims to revise ethnocentric school history lessons, but also encourages critical thinking and debate, celebrates diversity and recognises shared suffering and achievements.

In addition to receiving positive feedback from teachers and students, the JHP has been recognised and funded by more than 25 donors since its initiation. In 2013, the CDRSEE was awarded the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Human Rights Award, in large part for the impact the Center has had on expanding multi-perspective education through the JHP. The European Parliament recommended the JHP in 2009 for its impact and effectiveness, and the EU Monitoring Report of April 2012 acknowledged the excellent work achieved by the JHP in terms of sustainability, effectiveness and impact. In 2010, a team from USAID published a very positive overview of the work and impact of the JHP.

"Internationally, the History Workbooks have become effective advocacy tools for further raising awareness and putting on the EU policy agenda the importance of multi-perspective history teaching in promoting reconciliation," the USAID report stated. "It is critical that the JHP work continue in order to sustain achievements and impacts, especially in the current context of nationalism that still exists in the region."

 

 

2014 - 2016: funded by the European Union's Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) 95%
and Pro Victimis 5%
2011 - 2014: funded by the European Union's Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) 95%
and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung 5%

The Joint History Project has been made possible through the kind financial assistance of the following: