Observatory on History Teaching in Europe: Annual Conference tackles the future of history teaching

Strasbourg, 28.11.2022 – The past year has shown that historical arguments can be used to nurture hate but when taught in all its complexity, history can in fact help appease conflicts – as the 70 years’ experience of the Council of Europe in the field has shown.

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The Council of Europe’s Observatory on History Teaching in Europe, whose aim is to provide a clear picture of how history is taught on our continent and beyond, is holding its annual event (on December 1st -2nd) around the question “A Future without History Teaching?” (programme-online registration). It aims to bring together education professionals, government representatives and high-level experts in answering questions around this topic in panels, dialogues and political messages concerning history education. Deputy Secretary General Bjørn Berge will deliver a welcoming address. The event will be attended by the Albanian Minister of Education, Sports and Youth Evis Kushi, the French Minister of National Education and Youth Pap Ndiaye (video message), the Irish Minister of Education Norma Foley (video message), as well as the Portuguese Minister of Education João Marques Da Costa.

Keynote interventions will be delivered by Mary Kaldor, Professor of Global Governance, Director of the Civil Society and Human Security Research Unit, London School of Economics (“Europe of yesterday and of tomorrow”) and by Georgiy Kasianov, Head of the Laboratory of International Memory Studies, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Lublin, Poland (“Manipulation or Outlook? Russia’s Use of History for the War in Ukraine”)

The conclusions of the Observatory’s first thematic report on “Pandemics and Natural Disasters as Reflected in History Teaching” will be discussed throughout the conference as well as in a dedicated session.

Background
As stated in the European Cultural Convention, the Council of Europe has recognized since its inception the relevance of history as a basis for education of the citizens of Europe.  The Observatory on History Teaching in Europe builds on the Organisation’s decades of experience in history teaching and aims to complement and reinforce its intergovernmental programme. The Observatory’s mission is to provide a clear picture of the state of history teaching in Europe through its thematic and regular reports.

In the context of rising populism, history education that encourages multi-perspectivity and critical thinking is key to the development of a culture of democracy. By bringing to the fore practices which encourage history teaching in line with Council of Europe values, the Observatory will contribute to strengthening resilience against the manipulation and distortion of history and will help to promote peace and dialogue.