EUSTORY Network Meeting 2012
From 12 to 13 April 2012 the EUSTORY history competition organisers gathered in Hamburg for their Annual General Assembly.
What is the debate in Europe on democratic citizenship education like and what role can the history competitions with their specific work method play in this context? These were only two questions that the participants of this year’s EUSTORY General Assembly were discussing on their first conference day after an inspiring impulse of Prof. Dr. Béatrice Ziegler (director of the Centre for Civic and History Education at the Centre for Democratic Studies in Aarau, Switzerland)
Bojan Balkovec, organizer of the Slovenian History Competition: “I liked the discussion about civic education and citizenship education. This education seems to be the most important in the future to encourage young generation and the society at all to think about their behaviour and acts.”
EUSTORY history competition organizers from Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Ukraine were discussing with guest from Austria and France who are now also running history competitions and want to join the EUSTORY network. During a project marketplace both the ‚old stagers’ and the ‚newcomers’ were involved in a lively exchange about their competitions and organizations, chances and challenges.
During the afternoon session a local and very recent example for the link between history and democratic citizenship education was presented: a project where pupils discuss about how to commemorate the Hannoversche Bahnhof, a place in the Hamburg Harbour City, which was used as a deportation station during the Nazi regime.
The second day of the conference was all about the ‚target group’ of the EUSTORY network: young Europeans, motivated to shape the future of Europe. Invited were four of them, from different parts of Europe and also with a different EUSTORY experience background: Mariella from Bulgaria, Fiona from Germany, Vlad from Romania and Mihails from Latvia. After a panel discussion about their experiences with EUSTORY, moderated by Katja Fausser from the Koerber Foundation, the organizers got the chance to talk to the alumni in smaller groups and also to ask their opinions about how to attract young people to participate in history competition nowadays.
It was also enlightening for the EUSTORY alumni to get in touch with the organizers of the competitions; Vlad from Romania: „The best part was when I got the opportunity to discuss with some of the members, I found their questions and curiosities about my activity as an Eustorian (and not only) very interesting and I enjoyed very much answering them.”
Afterwards the alumni presented to the organisers how they could use social media, especially facebook, for internal communication and discussion and for publishing and spreading results and information to a broader public. As one result of this part of the program, a closed facebook group for EUSTORY history competition organisers was founded, giving the perfect frame to stay in touch virtually after the EUSTORY General Assembly 2012.
But there is still room for improvement for the cooperation between national competitions and EUSTORY alumni to use all the potential, as Mihails from Latvia stated: “What is important is to strengthen the participation of the EUSTORY alumni on the national level to make use of their knowledge. The Korber foundation makes a big effort to develop its network. But member organisations do not all work with the potential of alumni - the 'investments' that the Koerber Foundation developed so far.