On Friday, 13 December 2019, the first international event of the European project Breaching the Walls. We do need Education! was held at the University of Bielefeld (Germany), which involved the whole partnership composed of the 6 organizations: the Gramsci Emilia-Romagna Foundation as lead partner together with the University of Bielefeld, the Institute of Contemporary History in Prague, the Municipality of Tirana, the Past/Not Past Association in Paris and the History Meeting House in Warsaw.
Breaching the walls. We do need education! is one of the projects that won the European Memory 2019 call within the Europe for Citizens programme 2014-2020.
In the place made available by the University of Bielefeld, at 9.00 a.m., the first meeting of the beginning of the project was held between the partners, which is indispensable to formalize and agree on the activities planned for the next 18 months, i.e. for the entire duration of the project. It was a moment of exchange and dialogue on the objectives and on the best ways to undertake the following actions. Eleven people participated.
At 10.30 a.m. the complete presentation of the project followed, with the participation of Marica Tolomelli, professor at the University of Bologna, for the Fondazione Gramsci Emilia-Romagna, and Teresa Malice, researcher in contemporary history who took care of the historiographic section of the project. The session opened with greetings from Peter Kramper of the Faculty of History, Philosophy and Theology of the University of Bielefeld. Representatives of the partner organizations who presented their role and the actions that will be implemented also spoke, explaining which are the historical issues that will be investigated and deepened with this project. Bruna Lobiundo spoke for Past/not Past in Paris, Lenka Kratka for the Institute of Contemporary History in Prague, Stefan Laffin and Peter Gruener and for the University of Bielefeld. Marica Tolomelli then read the greetings of the two partners who could not participate: the City of Tirana and the History Meeting House in Warsaw. A discussion then followed, together with the 26 people who participated in the meeting, which also involved the international guests of the afternoon.
The second part of the day was dedicated to a historical study of 1989 in Central and Eastern Europe, on the contents that gave rise to this project, problematizing some crucial issues around the event of the fall of the Berlin Wall. This session was attended by international scholars such as Christina Morina, a specialist in politics and cultures of memory, who has been a professor of contemporary history at the University of Bielefeld since 2019, and Josette Baer Hill, a professor at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Zurich, who deals with the history of political thought in Central and Eastern Europe, in particular the history of Czechoslovakia. Finally, Ekaterina Pavlenko, a researcher and staff member of the International Historical Educational and Human Rights Society “Memorial” in Moscow, who is particularly interested in the field of public history, is working on several projects dedicated to the period of Perestroika. Then followed a moment of collective discussion on the topics covered. This event was attended by 36 people from 7 different countries: Italy, Germany, France, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Russia and Chile).
The first international event of this important project confirms the intention to encourage European citizens to develop a critical and historiographically aware approach to the dynamics that characterized 1989, the fall of the Wall and the impact that these events generated on the balance of European political space between the late eighties and our present.