The importance of history teaching was clearly affirmed at the highest political level at the Council of Europe Summits of Heads of State and Government in 1993, 1997 and 2005.
The Council of Europe Committee of Ministers as a standard setting body adopted Recommendations to member states in particular on History teaching in twenty-first-century Europe and on Intercultural dialogue and the image of the other in history teaching.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe too has expressed itself on various occasions on the subject adopting Recommendations on History and the learning of history in Europe and History teaching in conflict and post-conflict areas.
These key documents reflect the changes which have taken place in Greater Europe since the late 1980s, beginning with the fall of the Berlin Wall as well as the on-going process of globalisation, which in all member states made it increasingly important to understand the role of education in managing diversity democratically.
The recommendations are addressed to the governments of the member states with due regard to their national, regional or local structures and respective responsibilities in particular in the field of history education. The primary target group includes history educators. Other target groups are museums authorities, publishers, audiovisual media, cultural centres, local or regional government cultural departments , non-governmental organisations , libraries, etc.
To face the development of cultural diversity and globalisation presuppose far-reaching changes as regards school curriculums and methods generally, and specifically as regards the teaching of history in all its complexity. Reforms to history teaching should for instance include the viewpoints of different nations, cultures, genders, ages and individuals, thus contributing to reconciliation and peace building , by enabling communities divided by conflict or war to understand the point of view of the other.
To put into action the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers’ and Parliamentary Assembly’s recommendations on history teaching , intergovernmental, regional and bilateral projects are launched bringing together historians, curriculum designers, authors of teaching materials, history teacher trainers, practicing teachers, museum specialists and representatives of NGOs.
Pedagogical tools such as the interactive e-book on Shared histories for a Europe without dividing lines and A look at our past – as the main results of these projects – are intended for teacher trainers, teachers and pupils and also families.