Over 150 history educators from 38 countries joined the 21st EUROCLIO Annual Conference from 31 March to 6 April in Ohrid, Macedonia. During one week, the participants were engaged in thinking together on the question: How can we share our Cultural Heritage? The conference kicked its start with a welcoming reception at the EU Delegation in Skopje and guests were warmly welcomed by the EUROCLIO Director Jonathan Even-Zohar, EUROCLIO President Sylvia Semmet, President of ANIM (Association of History Teachers in Macedonia) Mire Mladenovski and Minister Counseller of the EU Delegation Center, Robert Liddell.
The official opening took place on the 1st of April at the Metropol Hotel in Ohrid. Nikola Bakracheski, the Mayor of Ohrid, expressed his joy for hosting the conference in the historical town of Ohrid. The keynote speeches of historians Keith Brown of Brown University in Boston, Todor Cepreganov of University of Goce Delchev in Stip and Boban Petrovski of Skopje University on the connection between Balkan and world history set a positive tone for the Annual Conference 2014.
It truly was an inspiring week full of workshops, debates, presentations, round-table discussions and study trips. The conference stimulated discussions on how to share cultural heritage beyond national and regional borders. The Balkan was an interesting case study. Through workshops on the history of the Balkans, hosted by history professionals from the region, participants experienced how challenging it is to deal with contested memory, and teach history in a multi-perspective way on national, regional, and global levels.
On the 2nd of April, the participants got the chance to get insight on the Macedonian education system by visiting educational institutions and got an excellent city-tour by high school students from the Gymnasiums in Bitola. The visits to the WWI cemetery and the ancient site Heraclea Lyncestis were impressive. Especially the words of the French Ambassador Laurence Auer on history education in the Balkans were motivating for all. The day trip around Lake Ohrid was tight but nevertheless fruitful. The tour-guide gave us a glimpse of the truly rich Byzantine heritage of the area. The lunch at the St Naum monastery surprisingly turned into a real Macedonian fest, including traditional drinks, music and dance.
Of course there was plenty of time to meet new people, have interesting (off-topic) conversations and network with participants from different countries. The International EUROCLIO Pub Quiz was again a great success and this year’s Gala dinner was a unique experience: the traditional folk music made everyone dance until late at night.
We are looking back at a great week and are very excited to see what Elsinore 2015 will bring!