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European History Teachers awarded with prestigious European Union prize for active role in Civil Society

On 4 November 2009 in Charlemagne building of the European Commission in Brussels, EUROCLIO, the European Association of History Educators will receive the runner-up prize for Organised Civil Society 2009 from the  European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). Joke van der Leeuw-Roord, Executive-Director of EUROCLIO will accept the prize from the EESC President Mario Sepi.  “The award is a just recognition of the continued efforts of EUROCLIO and its international network to promote European democratic values and European citizenship through history teaching," stated Joke van der Leeuw-Roord. The award comes only weeks after a EUROCLIO project team was awarded the Anna Lindh Foundation runner-up prize for Intercultural Dialogue and in the same year Executive-Director of EUROCLIO won the Royal Dutch Orde van Oranje-Nassau for her national and international commitment to History education.

The EESC, a consultative body of the European Union, consists of 344 members from social and economic interest groups across Europe the possibility to articulate opinions on EU matters on a formal platform. By awarding this prize, the EESC has paid special tribute to the History teacher of Europe for their important contribution to the creation of European identity and citizenship, shoring up the values of European integration.

The German Association of History teachers took the initiative to nominate EUROCLIO for this award and received overwhelming support from different EUROCLIO member and partner organizations all over Europe. In these recommendations, EUROCLIO has been praised for ‘its uniting methodology in projects which brings together history teachers and students across the borders of European countries’ and for the manner in which ‘sensitive issues are solved by a critical approach in a civic and democratic spirit.’

Professor Robert Stradling of the University of Edinburgh and advisor to the Council of Europe’s Directorate of Education, wrote on the award that it was a fully deserved recognition of EUROCLIO’s “evolutionary approach to history education has an important long-term role to play in forging future generations’ perceptions of the Europe in which they live.”

Hans Almgren, from the Swedish History Teachers’ Association stated that “thanks to EUROCLIO the possibilities have grown for History as a peace-making subject” as opposed to a “war-making subject” for students.

Aija Kļaviņa Chair of the Latvian History Teachers’ Association stated that EUROCLIO has been instrumental in “creating opportunities [for European history teachers] to network with colleagues in other European countries and outside of Europe.”

Yosanna Vella, Senior Lecturer at the University of Malta, wrote on the award that “[she firmly believes] that no other international organisation can surpass Euroclio’s contribution to the promotion of European identity and integration” and that “their tireless endeavours are truly long lasting.” Yosanna wrote that there is “nothing comparable to EUROCLIO in Europe or abroad, as far as networking and effective promotion of excellent history teaching methods are concerned.” 

Receiving the second EESC Prize for Civil Society is a great tribute to the work that EUROCLIO has conducted throughout Europe since 1993 and serves to emphasizes the value of EUROCLIO’s work towards mutual understanding and international cooperation through history education in Europe.

More information about EUROCLIO can be found at www.euroclio.eu

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