The CDRSEE engages in the ‘Dialogue with the Western Balkans’

Organised by the European Council on Foreign Relations, the Wilfried Martners Centre for European Studies and the European Movement International, the Conference ‘In Dialogue with the Western Balkans: Creating a Region of Growth, Security and Connectivity on the Path to Europe’ gathered more than 30 policy-makers, opinion-makers, media professionals and civil society representatives to an open discussion with and about the societies of the Western Balkans. The Conference took place on May 16 2018, in Sofia, the host city of the EU – Western Balkans Summit, an initiative implemented under the patronage of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of Europe.

High profiled officials actively engaged in roundtable discussions regarding the realities and the European perspectives for the Western Balkans, as well as the prospects for a greater connectivity within the region; the central theme of the Western Balkans Summit on 17 May.

CDRSEE was among the civil society invitees participating in the dialogue with the European Commission and the Bulgarian EU Presidency. Upon agreeing on the key role of civil society in the integration process of the Western Balkans, participants reiterated that the dialogue on the European perspective of the Western Balkans needs to be intensified and that the enormous potential of the region should finally be brought to the fore.


CDRSEE joins forces with DW on a media project on regional reconciliation

The CDRSEE is delighted to announce the beginning of a new collaboration with Germany’s renowned public international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW). Endorsing the proposal of Ms. Adelheid Feilcke, Head of the Europe Desk and the Western Balkans Department of DW, the two organisations laid the foundations for a constructive and fruitful collaboration.

The two parties sealed their cooperation, in the context of DW’s ‘Balkan Booster’ project, an online platform featuring young people from across the Balkans, tracing the history and identities of their region. DW’s established media presence in the region, its extensive network, and international audience, together with CDRSEE’s long-standing experience in reconciliation through innovative media and education projects will ensure that the resulting project is creative, effective and highly visible. 

Embarking on the linking of ‘Balkan Booster’ with CDRSEE’s ‘Vicinities’, under the theme of identity and reconciliation, the cooperation will be enhanced with the use of the historical sources and the multi-perspective approach of the Joint History Project in the project participants’ story-telling. In this light, the first ‘Balkan Booster’ workshop for the project’s next season will be held in Thessaloniki at the end of August.

Preparations are already underway. Stay with us for more news on this dynamic collaboration!


CDRSEE attends the 25th Annual Conference of COPEAM

In light of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 and on the occasion of its 24th General Assembly, COPEAM invited its members to attend its 25th Annual Conference ‘Heritage and Media. Preserving the Future through our Past: An Opportunity for Growth and Democracy?’. Taking place from 10 to 12 May 2018, in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, the Conference gathered more than 250 professionals from TV and online media, associations, public broadcasters and independent organisations from 26 countries across the Mediterranean region, who exchanged cooperation projects, initiatives and creative ideas.

The two-day event started with the Joint Meeting of the COPEAM Commissions, where each of the seven Commissions presented its projects and activities in detail. The attending audience engaged in a debate on the role of media in the preservation of cultural heritage, and explored ways to utilise resources inherited from the past and make them part of the present. The second day proceeded with the Annual Conference featuring compelling topics on heritage and media and distinguished speakers such as Anna Georgina Isola, Coordinator of the European Year of the Cultural Heritage 2018, EU Commission, José Antonio Sanchez, RTVE President, Vincent Defourny, Director, Division of Public Information, UNESCO and many more. The Conference was followed by the 24th General Assembly of the Association.

As a newly joined member of COPEAM, the CDRSEE was invited to the event and represented by our Executive Director Ms. Zvezdana Kovač. Ms. Kovač addressed the General Assembly and informed the attending audience about CDRSEE’s mission, objectives and achievements throughout is 20 years of action in Southeastern Europe. In particular, the presentation of CDRSEE’s flagship media initiative ‘Okruženje’ and its oustanding achievements in its 6 years of broadcast was well-received and elicited great interest among fellow members.


Teaching for Learning: The journey to China begins with a single step

Confucius said “You cannot open a book without learning something”.  For Confucius, the primary function of education was to provide the proper way of training exemplary persons, a process that involved constant self-improvement and continuous  social interaction. Following the principles of their most influential philosopher, Chinese teachers identified the significance of educational books in equipping educators with the proper skills to facilitate the learning process and, thus, to meet the increasing learning expectations of our times.

Acknowledging the educational value of the ‘Teaching for Learning: A reference guide for results-oriented teachers’ book and its role as a tool in the hands of responsible and passionate teachers from across the world, keen on sustaining their students’ enthusiasm for learning, a team of Chinese teachers, led by Dr. Cui Xin, expressed their interest in translating CDRSEE’s publication into Chinese. Dr. Xin’s team from the Zhejiang University Education Academy Course and Study Science Department have translated more than 20 books on the theory of teaching and they are confident that, once translated in Chinese, the ‘Teaching of Learning’ book will become widely popular among Chinese teachers. China’s major publishing company of educational books and training materials, China East Normal University Press, will undertake the printing and publishing of the book.

The translation of the book is planned to start within the next months and the first editions in Chinese are expected in early 2019.

The ‘Teaching for Learning’ reference guide was the outcome of CDRSEE’s ‘Teaching for Learning’ project that took place between 2012-2013, with the assistance of the European Union. The book is already published in six languages.


The outlook for the CDRSEE on the agenda of the Board of Directors

On 18 April 2018, the 29th Meeting of the Board of Directors and the first one for 2018 took place at the offices of the CDRSEE in Thessaloniki. Comprising a multicultural team of distinguished individuals from diverse disciplines, the CDRSEE Board of Directors convened to discuss lessons learned from last year’s work, review the financial results of the first quarter of 2018 and plan ahead for the activities of the next months.

CDRSEE’s Executive Director, Ms Zvezdana Kovač, presented the Board Members with a detailed report on the outcomes and the deliverables of the CDRSEE’s projects, stressing that in an extremely challenging context, the Center continuous to achieve extraordinary results, enabling, inter alia, the emergence of active citizenship in the area of Southeast Europe.

The meeting, chaired by the CDRSEE Chair of the Board of Directors, Mr Hannes Swoboda, was held in good spirits. Following the review of the meeting's agenda, the attending Members of the Board set the policy and agreed on the Center’s scope of action for the upcoming months.


Looking ahead to a European Balkans Partnership: CDRSEE at the 10-year Celebrations of the EFB

Belgrade, 16-17 April 2018: The European Fund for the Balkans’ celebrated its 10th Anniversary with a two-day event that brought together an international audience from politics, the media, civil society, academia, arts and culture, business and philanthropy to discuss the future of Europe and the European future of the Balkans.

The event consisted of a number of panel discussions, workshops and dynamic talks that addressed all the key issues and challenges stemming from the Balkans’ Europeanization process. Our Executive Director Zvezdana Kovač was there to moderate the panel discussion: ‘Reflections from our Vicinities’, among panelists Tringa Siqeca, DokuFest, Milena Bogavac, Spotlight Theater, Aleksandar Trifunović, BUKA Magazin and Daniela Urem, Creative Cultural Alliance (CCA). The panelists discussed the role of culture and media in the reconciliation process in the Balkans, and stressed that the promotion of cultural understanding and the emergence of active media citizenship are vital in bridging divisions in the region.The panel discussion attracted overwhelming interest from the conference attendees.

The event was marked by the launching of the Declaration of European Balkans Partnership – an initiative aimed at paving the way for the transformation of the Western Balkans, in view of their enhanced accession perspectives. The initiative is embraced by prominent thinkers and influencers from the region, who call the citizens across the Balkans and beyond to sign the Declaration.

You may watch the full panel discussion here.




Albanian educators engage with learning-centred methodologies

The series of interactive, pedagogical workshops for educators ‘Teaching for Learning’, organised in the context of ePACT, continued with significant success in Albania. The first workshop took place from 10-11 April and the second one from 12-13 April. Overall 25 teachers and 25 school directors, inspectors and trainers from various disciplines were trained in how to apply contemporary teaching methods in the classroom and incorporate evaluation and assessment in their teaching with a view to enhance the learning process by developing students’ independent and critical-thinking.

The 2-day training sessions were opened by the Director of the Institute for Education Development (IED), Mr Gerti Janaqi, and the Director of Curricula, Standards and Teacher Qualification (IED), Ms Dorina Rapti. Both of them alongside education experts and accredited trainers Erida Koleci and Ines Todhe conducted the workshops, that were followed by positive feedback from the participants.

The pilot seminars, organised with the support of the Albanian Ministry of Education and the Institute for Education Development (IED), took place at Tirana International Hotel. ePACT is a joint initiative of CDRSEE and Euroclio, implemented with the support of the Austrian Development Agency.

The next stop for ePACT workshops will be Skopje, in May 2018.


The Joint History Project II attracts the interest of Japanese Historians

On 26 March, 2018 the CDRSEE welcomed to its premises two distinguished Japanese Professors in the field of social sciences. Dr Makoto Kimura, Professor of History, and Dr Maiko Matsuura, Associate Professor of Sociology, came all the way from Japan to discuss with the CDRSEE team the possibility of cooperation within the framework of the Joint History II. In particular, Dr Kimura manifested his willingness to translate the latest JHP workbooks in Japanese.

In this first preparatory meeting, the two Professors were briefed by CDRSEE’s Executive Director Ms Zvezdana Kovac and Programme Adviser Mr Antonis Hadjiyannakis on the progress of the second phase of the Joint History Project. Dr Kimura and Dr Matsuura were given an overview of the research process, the methodological approach, the production and dissemination of the new volumes, as well as of the overall impact of the project so far. Following the translation of JHP I into Japanese, back in 2015, Dr Kimura has indicated his intention to lead a team of history experts and translators with the purpose of making the workbooks available to Japanese educators and students.

The meeting took place in a convivial atmosphere and the team came up with an initial plan of action for the upcoming months.

The Joint History Project attracted great interest from Japanese academia and media as an educational model of overcoming differences and promoting mutual understanding.

Click here to find the Japanese publication of the JHP I Workbooks.