Welcome on Board: The New Armenian Project Team and Its First Steps
In 2021/2022, Armenia joins the cooperation project “History Competitions 3.0” and will conduct a first nationwide history competition for youngsters of the Transcaucasian republic. Reason enough to present some more information and insights about the Armenian competition topic, the Armenian project team and their first implementation steps.
Project Team: DVVI Armenia and NGO “Hazarashen”
The History Competition project in Armenia is being implemented by the DVV International Armenia country office in partnership with the NGO “Hazarashen” Armenian Center for Ethnological Studies which is specialised in anthropological, ethnographic, oral history research and education. To support the project implementation, DVVI Armenia also involved the educational foundation “Paradigma”, specialised in research & advocacy on education policymaking, teaching & learning. “Paradigma” offers its services without being an official project partner.
Following the project’s current thematic umbrella ("Between Rejection and Nostalgia: Soviet and Post-Soviet History in Families and Local Communities”), the competition topic for Armenia is “Between Forgetting and Remembering: Soviet and Post-Soviet Memory Landscape in Families and Communities”. It will touch topics around Soviet tangible heritage, including certain buildings, monuments and memorial sites that exist in almost every community of Armenia. They can become practical environments for teaching and learning. These places not only foster thoughts about identity, memory and landscape, thus enabling students’ critical thinking about complex issues of the past, but they will also help in understanding the history, in comprehending efforts of political elites for control over history and memory, and they convey the popular or “everyday life” meaning and their significance in the life of the communities, people and families.
The project aims at giving a voice to muted places and stories that once had meaning in people’s lives. The participants will explore the monuments and memorial places, as well as memories and stories weaved around those in their own communities, villages, towns and neighborhoods by applying oral history and local history research methods.
Official Kick-Off and Further Schedule
The project was officially launched on October 25, 2021. A hybrid event was organised for all the teachers interested in the project: around 30 people participated in the event either in online or face-to-face format. The project team presented the project, its international dimension and popularity, achievements and opportunities. The project patron, Hovhannes Hovhannisyan, who is the acting rector of the Yerevan State University, joined the event by sending a video message and two university professors (anthropologists) were invited to give a lecture on the importance of reviewing and reevaluating Armenia’s Soviet past which triggered interest and enthusiasm in the participants.
After the event, trainings for teachers were launched in the regions (Tavush, Shirak) and around 30 teachers participated in the face-to-face and online trainings till now. Three more trainings will still be conducted in 2021 reaching as many participants as possible.
The trained teachers will form student groups, work with them to transfer knowledge and skills on research methods gained during the trainings and prepare them for the competition.
From 1 April, 2022 onwards, students are invited to hand in their works for the competition. The deadline for the submission is 30 April, 2022.
In sum: A promising start has been made in Armenia and the stage is now set for an interesting and successful first history competition. Good luck to our partners in Armenia!
More Information on Partner Organisations
Hazarashen NGO: “Hazarashen” NGO is specialised in anthropological, ethnographic, oral history research and education. While the organisation focuses more on research, it also initiates and implements cultural and educational projects. Over a dozen projects implemented by the organisation deal with history and historical memory, as well as traditional and modern culture of Armenians.
On 22 June, 2017 DVV International Armenia, in cooperation with the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography NAS RA, established an Oral History Center. The center aimed at developing the oral history methodology and increase its role as an alternative source for history research and history teaching in Armenia, conduct research on modern history in Armenia and in the region with the oral history methodology, develop educational modules and organise courses for students and all interested people. In 2018, with the financial support from DVV International, the center developed an oral history teaching module for school teachers which was successfully piloted in one of the experimental schools in Yerevan.
In connection with the conduction of the teacher trainings for the preparation of the competition, DVVI Armenia and Hazarashen also benefit from the expertise and knowledge of the educational foundation “Paradigma”. In 2020 “Paradigma” published the “Book on History Teaching: Why? How?”, which is a teacher manual and includes around 70 educational strategies for history teaching offering teachers alternative methodological approaches to their traditional ones. The training conducted by Paradigma is based on the strategies presented in the book, which is about “why” and “how” to turn the history learning into an inspiring self-knowledge and active thinking process․