Photo: © CDRSEE, 2010

Nenad 各bek, Executive Director of CDRSEE, after receiving the FES Human Rights Award 2013. Photo: Torben Geek, 28.10.2013

Nenad 各bek, Executive Director of CDRSEE, after receiving the FES Human Rights Award 2013. Photo: Torben Geeck, 28.10.2013

 

vltr: Ulf Brunnbauer, Director of the Southeast Institute, University of Regensburg, Michael Martens, Southeast Europe  correspondent, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Nenad 各bek, Executive Director of CDRSEE, and Costa Carras, Member of the CDRSEE Board, at the panel discussion after the award ceremony. Photo: Torben Geek, 28.10.2013

vltr: Ulf Brunnbauer, Director of the Southeast Institute, University of Regensburg, Michael Martens, Southeast Europe correspondent, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Nenad 各bek, Executive Director of CDRSEE, and Costa Carras, Member of the CDRSEE Board, at the panel discussion after the award ceremony. Photo: Torben Geeck, 28.10.2013

 

vlnr: Kurt Beck, FES Chairman, Nenad 各bek, Executive Director of CDRSEE, and Martin Schulz, MEP, President of the European Parliament, at the FES Human Rights Award 2013 ceremony. Photo: Torben Geek, 28.10.2013

vlnr: Kurt Beck, FES Chairman, Nenad 各bek, Executive Director of CDRSEE, and Martin Schulz, MEP, President of the European Parliament, at the FES Human Rights Award 2013 ceremony. Photo: Torben Geeck, 28.10.2013

 

The JHP organises training workshops to show teachers, those who have the biggest impact on the leaders of tomorrow, ways to customise the JHP materials and  build lesson plans for their own situations. The JHP promotes honest discussions and the understanding that there are multiple interpretations for any event. Here, teachers discussed JHP materials at a session in Bihac, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Photo: CDRSEE, 2013

The JHP organises training workshops to show teachers, those who have the biggest impact on the leaders of tomorrow, ways to customise the JHP materials and build lesson plans for their own situations. The JHP promotes honest discussions and the understanding that there are multiple interpretations for any event. Here, teachers discussed JHP materials at a session in Bihac, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Photo: CDRSEE, 2013

 

CDRSEE's Joint History Project, the gold-standard multi-perspecitve history education program in the Balkans, presented the project to Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade. A compelling discussion ensued among the international group about the understanding of history. Photo: CDRSEE, 2013

CDRSEE's Joint History Project, the gold-standard multi-perspecitve history education program in the Balkans, presented the project to Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade. A compelling discussion ensued among the international group about the understanding of history. Photo: CDRSEE, 2013

 

»Euro(pe) -- A crisis without end?« Two dozen students from France, Germany and Greece gathered in a three-city tour, to listen, debate and create. The result -- fresh ideas and innovative solutions to the European crisis, and a promise for more communication and cooperation. Photo: CDRSEE, 2013

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Human Rights Award 2013

Center for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeast Europe (CDRSEE), Greece

Political context

The Political Context

The break-up of the former Yugoslavia at the end of the 1990s led to the biggest humanitarian catastrophe in Europe since the Second World War. Besides the loss of lives, the large-scale tragedy of flight and expulsion and the material destruction the eyes of the world were stunned above all by the inhuman brutality of the combatants, primarily along ethnic lines. Symbolic of the war crimes committed at that time was the Srebrenica massacre, in which up to 8,000 people lost their lives.

One of the roots of the devastating conflict was the region痴 unresolved historical legacy. The earlier サfraternal stateォ of Yugoslavia imploded, due, among other things, to stereotypes, myths of victimhood and nationalist and exclusionary rhetoric in politics, culture and the media. Historical narratives served to justify national characteristics and to distance oneself from neighbours and members of ethnic minorities.

History and historiography cosy with the state were narrowed down to a national historiography aimed at creating a national identity. Also in schools, history and the present were not considered critically. Rather stereotypes consolidated by the conflict were perpetuated and engraved in students con-sciousnesses.

In the meantime, the countries of the so-called サwestern Balkansォ have taken important steps to resolve their past and to establish good neighbourly relations; not least because that is a condition of EU membership. However, reconciliation in the narrower sense requires even greater political courage and will.

Even more important is to pay more attention and give more political space to the wealth of civil society initiatives to achieve reconciliation between Yugoslavia痴 constituent states, formerly at daggers drawn. In particular, they make a major contribution to the historical resolution of the causes and processes, and not only with regard to the immediate period of conflict.

The Award Winner

The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung痴 human rights award this year recognises the particular contribution of the Center for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeast-Europe (CDRSEE).

Founded in 1998, this non-governmental organisation advocates the strengthening of democratic and pluralistic societies in South-east Europe, alongside European values, market economies oriented towards the rule of law and social responsibility, the inclusion of disadvantaged groups and reconciliation between the peoples of the region. It does this by means of education programmes, public debates, concrete assistance and networking opportunities and conferences and seminars.

One project in particular stands out from its range of activities, the サJoint History Projectォ. Running for 14 years now, this project is aimed at enabling students to open their eyes to the history of the region, often referred to as the サBalkan powder kegォ, which サproduces more history than it can cope withォ.

The CDRSEE痴 history textbooks translated into 10 national languages encourage students to develop a critical view of historical events and contexts. Thus they provide them with the means to obtain a better understanding of both the past and the present.

The CDRSEE has also been able to persuade the political powers-that-be in the countries of South-east Europe that historical knowledge must be transmitted in new ways, if mutual stereotypes and prejudices are to be overcome. In the meantime, new approaches to teaching and new textbooks have been introduced into the curricula of some countries in the region.

Furthermore, the CDRSEE promotes regional cooperation between teachers and teachers associations. Researchers, translators and publishers throughout South-east Europe also participate in the project.

One needs to recall the heated and resentment-, even hate-filled atmosphere in the region of the サwestern Balkansォ around 1999 in order to measure the belief and convictions with which the initiators of the サJoint History Projectォ began work on their history textbooks for South-east Europe. As was only to be expected, resistance to their approach was great. The prospect of talking to a brick wall did not deter those concerned and their supporters from pursuing their goals of reconciliation and democratisation, however.

Due to their commitment, courage and remarkable endurance they have made an important contribution to achieving reconciliation between the countries of South-east Europe. The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung would like to acknowledge this exceptional achievement with the bestowal of its human rights award.

The award ceremony took place on October 28st, 2013 at Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Berlin. The laudation was held by Martin Schulz, MEP, President of the European Parliament.

Following the award ceremony was the panel discussion
Divided Memory - Common History: Shaping a peaceful future of Southeast Europe
Panelists:
Ulf Brunnbauer, Director of the Southeast Institute, University of Regensburg
Costa Carras, Member of the Board, CDRSEE
Stavros Lambrinidis, European Union's Special Representative for Human Rights (tbc)
Nenad Šebek, Executive Director of CDRSEE
Chair:
Michael Martens, Southeast Europe correspondent, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung


Download the leaflet
(in German)

Further Information: Reasons for nominating TUJ Laudatio of Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament Photos and Audio Photos of the award ceremony Interview with Nenad 各bek (CDRSEE) (7min10) Speech by Nenad 各bek (CDRSEE) (6min16) Laudatio by Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament (German, 10min52)
Media Coverage
CDRSEE Publications Workbooks of the »Joint History Project« CDRSEE, 2. Edition, 2009 FES Publications on the Subject Our responsibility does not end at the EU's borders for a committed European Union enlargement and neighborhood policy Dietmar Nietan, FES International Policy Analysis, 2013 Monitoring regional cooperation in South East Europe Stefan Dehnert et al. (Hrsg), FES, 2012 The dynamics of conflict in the multi-ethnic state of Bosnia and Herzegovina Timo Kivim臾i, Marina Kramer und Paul Pasch, FES Study, 2012 Exiting conflict, owning the peace Local ownership and peacebuilding relationships in the cases of Bosnia and Kosovo Mary Martin et al. (Hrsg.), FES Study, 2012 Links Website of the CDRSEE