Shared Histories for a Europe without Dividing Lines

EPA was invited as a stakeholder to contribute to this very interesting and very important project of the Council of Europe that has just finished. The outcome of the 5-year project is a ground-breaking inter-active e-book on shared European histories. It has been launched nearly on Europe Day (May 5), marking the 60th anniversary of the Council of Europe’s European Cultural Convention. Apart from the fact that there is a part of the book that is provided by EPA, it is a good tool to widen our knowledge as parents, to share it with our children and also to recommend it to history teachers for classroom use.

According to the press release of the Council of Europe, Shared Histories is a comprehensive European history teaching tool for teachers, teacher trainers and curricula designers, pupils and their families. The 900-page e-book includes high-speed navigational tools which can be viewed on any device; tablet, phone or computer. It has been produced by an expert team of historians, curriculum designers, authors of teaching materials, history teacher trainers, teachers, museum specialists and representatives of non-governmental organisations from the majority of Council of Europe member states.
It focuses on aspects of history that have had an impact across the continent – Europe’s common heritage – covering four themes: the impact of the Industrial Revolution, the development of education, human rights as reflected in the history of art and Europe and the world. There are teaching units for pupils aged 8-12, 11-14 and 15-18 and trainee teachers.
For each theme, the e-book provides teaching materials, strategies and techniques, academic papers, case studies, background information, source material and links to external sources. Each theme looks at exchanges between countries, parallel developments and conflicts/tensions and is explored through topics such as:
- The study of passports and visas
- How belief systems work
- The legacy of the 1960s today
- How people kept track of time before clocks and watches 
- Why totalitarian regimes have tried to control the visual arts
It is available free – on http://shared-histories.coe.int – in English, with certain elements in French. Governments are invited to fund the translation of the e-book into their national languages. 
The Director General of Democracy of the Council of Europe Snežana Samardžić-Marković said: ‘Shared histories can help stop the misuse, appropriation and nationalisation of history, by giving pupils and students both the knowledge and analytical tools they need to see through manipulation. In our multicultural societies, particularly at a time of economic crisis and insecurity, the competences for intercultural dialogue and understanding taught through shared histories are vital. Ultimately, this type of education plays a crucial role in building and maintaining Europe’s democratic culture.’ 
More information on the project can be found on the project website and on the website of the Council of Europe 

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