Tuesday, 23 June 2009

EUROCLIO for Human Rights and Democratic Citizenship Education

Since its foundation in 1993, the overall aim of EUROCLIO has been to promote and support the development of history education so that it strengthens peace, stability, democracy and critical thinking. Recognizing that history is a powerful mobilizing force in societies, EUROCLIO promotes the sound use of history education towards building and deepening of democratic societies.

In order to succeed in this mission, EUROCLIO has centered its work on three main pillars of activities:

Human rights, democracy and the rule of law form the core values of the European Union, the Council of Europe and the United Nations today. Developing an understanding of basic human rights, and a respect for them, are key elements of a twenty-first century education. In the classroom history educators have to find ways to explore how Human Rights were interpreted -and ignored- in the past.

Human Rights have been addressed in many of the EUROCLIO activities, such as the production of teaching materials and also for techniques that are used to teach about women’s and minority rights, law and protest, diversity, tolerance and equality. Human Rights Education was the central theme of the 2007 EUROCLIO Annual Conference ‘Human Rights Education: Lessons from History’ held in Bled, Slovenia. The central challenge of this conference was how to use history and citizenship education to contribute to the development of democratic citizenship and forms of participation which promotes social cohesion, respect for diversity and Human Rights within a framework of international understanding.

In 2007, Human Rights were also addressed via the development of teaching materials during the EUROCLIO projects ‘History in Action’. In each case the materials offer opportunities for educators to discuss with their students the lack of freedoms in single party states, inequality, restrictive and oppressive government and crimes against humanity. In the project ‘Connecting Europe Through History’ carried out by EUROCLIO and EUROPAEUM, a series of events and workshops were organized throughout Europe on themes related to European Values such as tolerance, democracy, citizenship, critical thinking and multi-perspectivity.

EUROCLIO remains on the outlook for new human rights projects, perhaps even through the wonderful DARE-network. For more information, please visit our website.

Jonathan Even-Zohar, Euroclio (The Netherlands)

Note from Wim Taelman: DARE members can also contact the Euroclio members from their country for eventual cooperation. These can be found here.