Project aims to develop common understanding of history of three nations

Klagenfurt, 15 February - A pilot project led by the Slovenian Scientific Institute in Klagenfurt, Austria, is seeking to develop a trilingual online platform in a bid to contribute to multicultural education and a common understanding of the past shared by Slovenia, Austria and Italy.

An exhibition on the 1920 Carinthian plebiscite at the National Museum of Slovenia.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA
File photo

In the first phase the two-year project will try to present various aspects of the shared past side by side, says Daniel Wutti of the Institute for Multilingualism and Transcultural Education at the University College of Teacher Education in Klagenfurt.

The next step will be to form a common view of certain historical events, shared content. A long-term goal would be to produce shared textbooks or collections of papers in the three languages.

"However, it will take quite a while to reach that goal, we are aware of that," Wutti told the STA as the project was presented.

The effort builds on the past projects of the culture of remembrance in Austria and neighbouring countries and the Alps-Adriatic peace region involving multilingual and intercultural education.

One such example of the culture of remembrance was 33 concrete didactic tools for cross-border education developed on the centenary of the 1920 Carinthia plebiscite.

"We definitely have a common history, which we cannot look upon in purely national terms," said Wutti.

The project will thus first review how shared history is being taught in the three countries to identify both examples of best practice of transnational teaching as well as nationally exclusive views.

The aim is to develop modern teaching tools. The first workshop to that aim will be held in Italy's Gorizia in March, followed by those in Ljubljana and Klagenfurt, after which participants from all three countries are to meet in the autumn.

The pilot project will focus on the period between 1848 and 1919, with the following projects to be devoted to other periods.

At the end of the pilot project the online platform would offer teachers in the three countries free quality teaching material for the period in all three languages.

This could also result in new cross-border school projects and the desire is for the platform to be used to raise awareness of the public in the region.

Teachers, students, scientists and other experts are invited to join in, also via the planned workshops.

The pilot project is currently financed by Austria but for further bigger projects EU funding will be sought.

The Slovenian partner in the project is the National Education Institute, while talks are under way for partnership in Italy.

© STA, 2022