Second preface by Dr. Wolf Schmidt; Körber-Foundation

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Pre­face
by
Dr. Wolf Schmidt
(Mana­ging Direc­tor, {Kör­ber Foundation})
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The {Kör­ber foun­da­ti­on} is proud to pre­sent the results of a Youth and Histo­ry sur­vey, the most exten­si­ve of its kind yet rea­li­zed. This sur­vey was desi­gned and con­duc­ted by an inde­pen­dent group of sci­en­tists from dif­fe­rent facul­ties as well as histo­ry tea­chers and experts in histo­ry didac­tics. Every coun­try cove­r­ed in this book was repre­sen­ted by a natio­nal coor­di­na­tor. During the last four years a Euro­pean-wide net­work of sur­vey par­ti­ci­pants dedi­ca­ted to ques­ti­ons of youth rese­arch, histo­ry didac­tics and his­to­ri­cal and poli­ti­cal cul­tu­re in a com­pa­ra­ti­ve per­spec­ti­ve has ari­sen. The­re are many dif­fe­rent rea­sons for their enga­ge­ment but but they are all agreed on a basic point: the need of a com­mon data base for trans­na­tio­nal dis­cus­sion and in most cases even a natio­nal inqui­ry into the enti­ty of his­to­ri­cal poli­ti­cal inte­rests and fur­ther atti­tu­des and achie­ve­ments of youth. Issuing this book in the publi­shing depart­ment of a foun­da­ti­on indi­ca­tes an invol­ve­ment of the publis­her bey­ond the usu­al extent. The {Kör­ber Foun­da­ti­on} has been enga­ged in {his­to­ri­cal and poli­ti­cal pro­jects} for many years. One of its major pro­jects is the “Stu­dents’ Com­pe­ti­ti­on on Ger­man Histo­ry for the Federal President’s Award”. This encou­ra­ges young peop­le aged bet­ween 8- and 21-years to rese­arch on for­got­ten, neglec­ted or even sup­pres­sed topics of histo­ry in their own sur­roun­dings. This idea of lear­ning histo­ry by doing archi­ve work, inter­viewing wit­nes­ses of the past, reviewing old news­pa­pers and fin­ding evi­dence of local histo­ry has attrac­ted more than 80,000 young peop­le deli­vering more than 15,000 pie­ces of work during 23 years. Due to this expe­ri­ence, we beca­me awa­re of so many open ques­ti­ons con­cer­ning his­to­ri­cal lear­ning having in our more or less spe­cu­la­ti­ve deba­tes always mis­sed a more repre­sen­ta­ti­ve empi­ri­cal basis. Ano­t­her pro­ject is the Ber­ge­dorf Round Table.These inter­na­tio­nal mee­tings, which have taken place over the last 30 years, invol­ve a chan­ging cir­cle of par­ti­ci­pants from many coun­tries decisi­onma­kers and opi­ni­on lea­ders dis­cus­sing various topics of socie­tal and inter­na­tio­nal affairs. They have shown us not only the impor­t­ance of simp­le misun­derstan­dings and con­flic­ting inte­rests but more espe­cial­ly the influ­ence of dif­fe­rent cul­tu­ral shapings, his­to­ri­cal noti­ons, tra­di­ti­ons and ideo­lo­gies. But how are the­se influ­en­ces to be dis­cus­sed without a com­mon deno­mi­na­tor? This was rough­ly the back­ground when Bodo von Bor­ries, a long-stan­ding coope­ra­ti­ve advi­ser in our histo­ry com­pe­ti­ti­on, told us of the inten­ti­on of an inter­na­tio­nal sur­vey on his­to­ri­cal con­scious­ness among teen­agers. The Kör­ber foun­da­ti­on works as an ope­ra­ting foun­da­ti­on and grant­gi­ving is the­re­fo­re very excep­tio­nal, so the idea to col­la­bo­ra­te was not immedia­te. But after many attempts, Bodo von Bor­ries rea­li­zed that it was impos­si­ble to attain the necessa­ry initi­al finan­cial sup­port for this ambi­tious sur­vey from the usu­al sci­ence-grant-sources and when the ent­i­re pro­ject threa­tened to col­lap­se we recon­si­de­red the issue. In mid-1994 we appre­hen­ded the chan­ce to pri­ma­ri­ly acqui­re a data base and from this deve­lop fol­low up pro­jects appro­pria­te to the men­tio­ned fiel­ds of our inte­rest. The natio­nal sur­veys were sup­por­ted by dif­fe­rent natio­nal funds, and the Kör­ber foun­da­ti­on finan­ced the cen­tral ana­ly­sis and the Ham­burg Uni­ver­si­ty not­with­stan­ding its restric­ted situa­ti­on up held the pro­ject. This was the star­ting point in attai­ning addi­tio­nal grants from the Euro­pean Uni­on and some other foun­da­ti­ons. The Kör­ber foun­da­ti­on is very gra­te­ful for this sup­port. The gran­ters have not been disap­poin­ted. The pro­ject exten­ded con­ti­nuous­ly and all of the par­ti­ci­pants were extrem­ly dedi­ca­ted. The inter­na­tio­nal mana­gers Magne Angvik from Ber­gen, Bodo von Bor­ries from Ham­burg and Láz­ló Kéri from Buda­pest gui­ded the pro­ject in an admi­ra­ble prag­ma­tic man­ner through all the ine­vi­ta­ble dif­fi­cul­ties. The fast and care­ful data ana­ly­sis play­ed a very important part in the ven­ture. The inter­na­tio­nal pro­ject ple­num was extrem­ly impres­sed by the achie­ve­ment of Bodo von Bor­ries and his team and on behalf of the granter‘s and publisher‘s side I would like to add my appre­cia­ti­on. I am not going to com­ment on the results here. The sur­vey cove­r­ed a wide ran­ge of topics on dif­fe­rent levels of school tea­ching, youth men­ta­li­ty, his­to­ri­cal con­cepts and poli­ti­cal atti­tu­des. Moreo­ver, the­re are 27 coun­tries invol­ved and the ques­ti­ons in the ques­ti­onn­aire are of dif­fe­rent impor­t­ance to each. So, at the moment, it is impos­si­ble for me to give a con­cise over­all mes­sa­ge. On the other hand, a lot of fasci­na­ting tracks into the mate­ri­al can be cho­sen and some results, if not con­si­de­red sen­sa­tio­nal, may pro­ve dis­tur­bing or surprising.These are items for fur­ther dis­cus­sion with peop­le from the respec­ti­ve coun­tries and not ones for pro­vo­ca­ti­on or bla­me. The {Kör­ber Foun­da­ti­on} has deci­ded to deve­lop some {fol­low up pro­jects}. We neit­her intend to cover all the aspects of Youth and Histo­ry nor to domi­na­te other “Youth and Histo­ry” acti­vi­ties. Some of the results will be used for our new pro­ject “EUSTORY- The Kör­ber pro­gram­me on his­to­ri­cal cul­tu­re and poli­tics in Euro­pe”. Our aim is to unco­ver cau­ses of con­flicts in our tra­di­ti­ons and his­to­ri­cal and poli­ti­cal images and to streng­t­hen the awa­reness of his­to­ri­cal ide­as in poli­tics. Fur­ther­mo­re, to look for ways of coping with natio­nal and regio­nal con­cepts of histo­ry in a uni­fy­ing Euro­pe and glo­ba­li­zing world. This pro­ject con­sists of three main parts direc­ted at dif­fe­rent tar­get groups. First we will pro­vi­de a Euro­pean-wide Inter­net forum for school stu­dents. To pro­vo­ke deba­te, the par­ti­ci­pants re-ans­wer parts of the ques­ti­onn­aire in their own class or school then ana­ly­se and com­pa­re their results with their natio­nal sam­ple as well as with for­eign results in an Inter­net group of some clas­ses from dif­fe­rent Euro­pean or Midd­le East regi­ons. The start of this expe­ri­ment is sche­du­led for autumn 1997. Second­ly, we will dis­se­mi­na­te and dis­cuss the sur­vey among tea­chers and key per­sons of edu­ca­ti­on throughout Euro­pe. In this field we intend coope­ra­ti­on with {Euro­clio}, the umbrel­la orga­ni­sa­ti­on of histo­ry tea­chers’ asso­cia­ti­ons in Euro­pe. Addi­tio­nal­ly, it will be pos­si­ble to col­la­bo­ra­te in natio­nal, bila­te­ral or tri­la­te­ral semi­nars. As a third point we see the need of deepe­ning the sci­en­ti­fic inter­pre­ta­ti­on of some results and gene­ral­ly sket­ching a Euro­pean “map” of his­to­ri­cal and poli­ti­cal men­ta­li­ties. Last but not least we feel respon­si­ble for main­tai­ning and exten­ding the net­work of Youth and Histo­ry coor­di­na­tors and rese­ar­chers. The­re should be cur­rent infor­ma­ti­on on {new publi­ca­ti­ons}, press arti­cles, semi­nars or public state­ments con­cer­ning Youth and Histo­ry by Inter­net and news­let­ter. We hope that this publi­ca­ti­on is a first important step towards expert dis­cus­sion in Euro­pe. Though we can‘t give grants to indi­vi­du­al rese­ar­chers who will work with the data, we would be very glad to hear from ever­y­bo­dy using it in sci­ence, edu­ca­ti­on or poli­tics. Cri­ti­cal remarks and sug­ges­ti­ons are always welcome.

Ham­burg, in Decem­ber 1996
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