How to teach the history of the recent wars of the 1990s that took place on the territory of the former Yugoslavia, a period that some feel still does not belong to the past, and which is remembered in so many different, but often also conflicting and mutually exclusive ways.
The history of the recent wars, conducted during the 1990s in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, is a fairly sensitive and controversial issue in all countries of the Western Balkans. In some countries, these topics have been introduced in lessons, and in others only partially or not at all. This is a period that is remembered in different and often very contradictory and mutually exclusive ways. While some believe that precisely for that reason, this period of history has not yet become the past that should be studied, the Association of European Educators of History EUROCLIO, in cooperation with its partners, launched a project focusing on the question of how to study the topics of wars in the territory of the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s. A project called Learning a History that is not yet History was launched in 2016 and was implemented in cooperation with partner organizations from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and Serbia.
Partner organizations of the project are:
Documenta – Center for dealing with the past – a non-governmental organization founded in 2004 by several human rights associations. The main goal is to promote individual and societal dealing with the past as the foundation for the building of sustainable peace. Documenta collects data and publishes research on war events, war crimes and violations of human rights, monitors court processes at the local, regional and international level, and encourages and deepens public dialogue on the legacy of violence.
Hipmont (Association of History Teachers of Montenegro) – a non-governmental organization founded in 2011 with the aim of strengthening cooperation in the region, cooperation with European institutions dealing with the importance of teaching history for the education and upbringing of the young population, as well as its functional impact for Montenegro and its path to the European Union. As a full member of EUROCLIO, HIPMONT has collaborated and collaborates in a number of projects, in order to contribute to building a more modern approach to teaching history.
Association for Social History UDI – Euroclio – founded in Belgrade, December 8, 2001. The aim of the UDI – Euroclio History Teachers Association, which has over 500 members, is to improve teaching of history in elementary and secondary schools in the Republic of Serbia and to work in cooperation with the Association for Social Theory and the international organization EUROCLIO to change the approach to teaching of history. UDI – Euroclio holds seminars for history teachers, introduces teachers of primary and secondary school history with the latest scientific and pedagogical achievements in the region and Europe; collects teaching resources from the field of history from around the world; launches special projects in the field of history teaching, with the engagement of professional associates; cooperates with universities, institutes, professional associations and other organizations in the country and abroad that deal with the problems of teaching history.
EUROCLIO HIP BiH – Association of Teachers and Professors of History of Bosnia and Herzegovina that exists for fifteen years already and brings together teachers of history of primary and secondary schools and universities, researchers from the institutes, museums experts and students of history. The association operates and gathers members from all over Bosnia and Herzegovina. The mission of EUROCLIO HIP BiH is to improve the teaching of history in elementary and secondary schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is realized through continuing education, developing additional teaching materials and methods that are based on multiperspectivity and aiming at responsible, interesting teaching of history that develops critical thinking with students.
The Association for the Education and Promotion of Human Rights was established in November 2012. The aim of the association is education, research and publications on the topic of human rights, as well as the sensitization of the society regarding the respect of human rights. It carries out its activities by organizing seminars, professional excursions, exhibitions and other actions.
As a regional team of professionals, we jointly conceived and created a database of resources for learning about wars on the territory of the former Yugoslavia. Considering that there is a very large number of books, newspaper articles, video materials etc. about this period, the research team of the project tried to select the materials that are applicable in teaching, respecting the principle of multiperspectivity.
The intention is to make it easier for the history teachers and teachers of related subjects to access resources and materials that can be applied in the study of a “history that is not yet history”.
Strengthening competencies and motivating teachers to teach controversial and sensitive subjects from a recent past is the main goal of the project. The desire is to encourage their teaching in a responsible and critical way. We are deeply convinced that history teachers should begin the process of teaching history lessons for which many say “is not yet the past.”
First of all, it is necessary to train students to understand this part of the past. By teaching it, we give a message to young people to fight against new divisions and intolerance that would lead to new conflicts.