March 27-29, 2015, Bujanovac —Thirty-five history teachers from the Western Balkans and beyond gathered in Bujanovac, Serbia, to compare and discuss how the history past 1945 is taught in their classrooms and to visit historical sites together and share experiences of their own.
The weekend was the third of three Joint History Project seminars that not only challenged history teaching and brought together teachers at sites of historical importance, but also allowed teachers to provide input for the two upcoming JHP workbooks, which will address history of the Cold War and during the Wars of the 1990s.
The teachers were from Athens, Sofia, Skopje, Tetovo, Kumanovo, Istanbul, Bujanovac, Vranje, Presevo, Subotica, Nis, Jagodina, Valjevo, Belgrade, Leskovac, Zagreb and Ljubiljana. The meeting was opened by Biljana Stojanovic from the Ministry of Education of Serbia, who welcomed participants warmly in the Dom Kulture, which also hosts the first tri-lingual faculty and which is an encouraging example of successful inter-community, inter-institutional and cross-border cooperation to the benefit of Southeast European youth.
As in the previous JHP series seminars in Mostar and Vukovar, where teachers from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Romania worked in multi-ethnic groups, the seminar in Bujanovac provided important information for the second phase of the CDRSEE’s JHP.
On the second day, participants visited the Monastery of Prohor Pcinjski, which since its foundation in the 11th century repeatedly played an important role in conflicts of the region.
It was a weekend of connecting across borders, discovering similar as well as competing pieces of contemporary national history teaching. Teachers who attended the seminar put in challenging days, and in the evening enjoyed singing songs that are a common heritage in all involved countries.
The JHP materials in development will extend CDRSEE’s proven tool for reconciliation to the sensitive recent history of Southeast Europe. Many teachers said this kind of seminar allows them to broaden their perspective, offer unique insights into the work of their peers across borders and allow of more cross-border contacts to grow.
The seminar was the final event in a series of three. The next event for history teachers of the region will be organised in early 2016 in Montenegro, for evaluating the draft versions of the two new Joint History Project’s volumes.
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