It was during OHTE’s 1st Annual Conference that the EU Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas first announced European Commission support for the work of the Observatory and the allocation of €1 000 000 for a new joint project that would support cooperation in the field of history education:
The study of our common history is an excellent way to promote democracy, our model of society. We can and must learn from history. [...] Critical understanding of texts, and the ability to evaluate information sources - especially digital ones - determine political, cultural, health, electoral choices [...] In this perspective, I am really happy to announce the open dialogue we have established between the Observatory and the European Commission to build a partnership and support your work."
The cooperation with the EU Commission’s Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (DG EAC), was shaped into a joint project “Transnational History Education and Cooperation Laboratory (HISTOLAB)” for a duration of 24 months and a budget of € 1 111 111 co-financed and implemented by the Council of Europe.
This main objective of the project is to set up a cooperation platform for history education involving a broad range of stakeholders. It is aimed at enabling knowledge sharing and learning from national, regional and European experiences through case studies conducted by the partner organisations, the OHTE reports, and the exchange of innovative practices between the network’s members. It will take into account already existing networks of education professionals and build on nearly 70 years of Council of Europe work in the field of history teaching, including its most recent intergovernmental programme on history education.
This will be done through a series of tools and events including:
- a digital resource hub comprising available publications in line with CoE recommendations and standards
- a directory of partners
- a joint calendar and digital bulletin board
- an online forum and virtual meeting room
- a set of Guidelines on countering distortion of history on social media
- a European Prize for Democratic History Education for schools
- at least 2 international fora / conferences
- monthly events (webinars, workshops and training sessions)
The collaboration between key partners in the field of history education is time-honoured, whereas HISTOLAB will seek to pool and make availble current and future resources to support exchanges. Ultimately, HISTOLAB aims to provide a better understanding of the commonalities of European history, with the goal of fostering a common European identity, rooted in the appreciation of democracy.
More information on HISTOLAB will be published soon. The digital platform and its secondary functions will soon be subject to a call for tenders.