About the organisations
Since 2013, the Belarusian EUSTORY competition is conducted by the two public associations Historica and Dyjaryuš.
Historica was launched and officially registered in 2000. The public association's main activities are scientific and educational. It unites young historians and supporters of historical activities. The aim of the organisation is to support the historical and cultural heritage in Belarus by researching and promoting various topics of the Belarusian history. Since the existence of Historica more than 50 events have been held on current historical issues. Furthermore, more than 10 work camps in the context of architectural heritage have been organised. Historica is one of the initiators of the "International Day of Monuments and Sites celebration” on April 18. Since 2009, members of Historica have been guiding a project dedicated to Michael Cleophas Oginsky and the culture of the early 19th century. The online project "Belarusian archive of oral history" was started in 2011 to maintain the historical memory of the region. Currently the portal maintains more than 30 collections of more than 600 commemorative records.
The public association Dyjaryuš was founded as an independent organisation on the basis of the Modern History Archive attached to the Belarusian Humanitarian Foundation "Nasha Niva" in September 1999. The association is independent and its focus lies on building up of a national database of the history of Belarusian society in the 20th century. The scope of the organisations’ activities is not limited to historical research only. The educational, cultural, media- and publishing-related activities are aimed at establishing an efficient information and popularisation center. Dyjaryuš is mainly interested in the history independence and civil rights.
Apart from research, teaching and archive work, there is also a wide range of activities in the media such as: dissemination of Dyjaryuš-materials by the independent Belarusian "Radio Raziya", series of the articles on history titled "Modern History Archive" in "Spadchyna" magazine, media coverage of Dyjaryuš's projects. Since March 2002 the organisation has been holding discussion seminars "Belarus in the 20th Century" together with the Belarusian Jewish Centre. Dyjaryuš has been actively involved in the civil initiative "Preserving the Kurapaty Memorial".
The history competition
Historica and Dyjaryuš strongly believe that competitions which promote modern history topics and which revive an interest in history will also promote changes in Belarusian society and strengthen values of individual rights and freedoms. It should be noted, however, that the competition "Bliskaja Historyja" is not a political project; its purpose is rather to develop civic self-awareness in Belarus. In this sense, the competition offers young people an opportunity to study local history, draw conclusions, and make historical appraisals themselves, thus forming their own views without regard to social stereotypes and political slogans.
The competition is intended for students of secondary schools and other secondary educational establishments. Students are supposed to collect information and documents, evaluate their factual credibility (also by comparison to some other sources), draw conclusions, and finally, present the arguments in an interesting form. The works can be presented in many different ways. Either as written texts, or as a special issue of a student newspaper. Documents and photographs can be attached to the submissions, as well as tape recordings containing interviews.
Tutors are allowed to assist participants: in choosing the topic of investigation; with the narration; with taking photos, photocopying or typing on a typewriter or computer if the students do not have access to this equipment; with visiting archives; in collecting and processing the material; in establishing contacts with witnesses and in conducting the interview.
A Committee establishes the rules of the competition that must be followed by the participants. The Committee also appoints the members of the jury which consists of specialists who have been working in the field of Belarusian culture and history. The jury's work is organised in three stages. First, they make a selection of works that met the criteria of the competition by evaluating the topics and their relationship to the historical period under consideration. Then they select the winners of the competition, and finally, they distribute the awards.
The award ceremony takes place in Minsk. All prize winners and their supervisors are invited. The number of prize winners may vary. First prizes consist of a computer, books on history and literature, and music tapes. Second prizes are a dictaphone, a camera, books or tapes and third prizes are a dictaphone, books and tapes. Tutors of the best works as well as regional competition co-ordinators can also be awarded special prizes.