Lebanese Association for History Starts Addressing Controversial History
The History Curriculum in Lebanon has not changed since 1970. Different parties have been unable to agree on how to tackle the Lebanese Civil War. The recently established Lebanese Association for History (LAH) took the initiative to start addressing the civil war by organising a seminar in Beirut from June 18-19 on “Teaching and Learning about Civil Wars”. The Lebanese Association for History seeks to promote the teaching of history in Lebanon and raise public awareness about the importance of history to ensure that history teaching becomes more recognized by society and more attractive to learners.
Approximately 70 historians and history educators (representing different religious communities of Lebanon) participated at the seminar. The programme included presentations by educators from Finland and Lebanon on how they teach and address the civil war; a workshop by Maria Georgiou (from Cyprus) exploring why historical accounts of the same event differ; a presentation by Lyna Comaty on an interactive exhibition on civil war memory in Lebanon (a project of Radikal Ungdom and Tajaddod Youth) and a presentation on the Balkan Wars by EUROCLIO – European Association of History Educators).
The workshop offered by the Lebanese Association for History and given by Nayla Hamadeh showed that it was possible to address the Civil War: participants were asked to identify different causes of the war which started in 1975 based on a variety of historical sources and compared the work of groups, engaged in an active and constructive debate.
The seminar was planned in parallel with the study visit of the Finnish History Educators Association in Lebanon whom they planned the workshop together with and shared their experience on how the civil war in Finland was taught. The presentations by the Finnish colleagues showed how the approaches to the history of the civil war has changed over time.
The initial contacts between the Finnish and the Lebanese were set up following the Special Event on History and Citizenship Education in the Middle East and North Africa Region, April 11 2012, Antalya, Turkey which was funded by the Open Society Foundations Education Support Program. The main outcome of the event was the Special Report on the topic, as well as new and exciting connections between peers as exemplified by the new Finish-Lebanese connection.
The seminar was organised in partnership with the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR), the Centre for Lebanese Studies, EUROCLIO, the Finnish Association of History Educators, the Finnish Institute in the Middle East, and the Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies at the American University of Beirut, and was supported by the Open Society Foundation Education Support Program.
European Association of History Educators
Laan van Meerdervoort 70, 2517 AN The Hague, the Netherlands
+31 703817836 (tel), +31 70 3853669 (fax), +31 6 48078702 (mobile)
EUROCLIO receives core funding from the European Commission, is an NGO official partner of UNESCO and is an INGO enjoying participatory status at the Council of Europe