Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue: Young teachers have (the) answers for the future of the Baltic Sea Region!

From 20 – 26 November 2017, the CBSS invited 15 young teachers from the Baltic Sea Region and beyond (Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and the Russian Federation; Belarus and Italy) to Finland and Russia for the fourth edition of the Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue. The first half of the programme took place in Helsinki, hosted by the Aleksanteri Institute of the University of Helsinki, and highlighted the changing context, the country of Finland experienced during the past 100 years.

Several lectures by academics and historians from, amongst others, the ‘Historians without borders’, shed light on the Finnish history in relation to the Russian Empire, Cold War times, the European Union and Russia today and engaged the participants in discussions on the perception and construction of (national) history. During the last panel on 23 November 2017, questions of how and which kind of history can be taught in schools and universities were raised. Katalin Miklossy from the University of Helsinki, for example, stressed that history should be taught within a global instead of a national scope and introduced the future teachers to the concept of phenomena-based education.

During the days in Helsinki, the participants also had the chance to be a CBSS Senior Official for one day and simulated a CSO meeting “under the BSYD Presidency”. The meeting started with a presentation by Marianne Lehtimäki from the Secretariat of Baltic Region Heritage Committee (BRHC) on cultural heritage in the Baltic Sea Region which also introduced the ‘issue’ on the agenda of the BSYD CSO meeting: a shipwreck, assumed to be the “Anna Maria”, a Dutch sailing vessel type Fluyt and sunken in 1705, was found at the bottom of the Baltic Sea where an energy pipeline connecting a BSR and a non-BSR country was planned to be placed. The participants were then asked to reflect on possible solutions to the problem and actions to be taken, considering the national standpoints and legislation of the member states they represented. “The CSO simulation game gave great insight into the real work of intergovernmental organisations – it was an experience which was more worth than the only theoretical courses in International Relations at university,” one participant explained.

The Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue will continue in Saint Petersburg until 26 November 2017, exploring the cultural/historical relations and roots in the Baltic Sea Region.

Domenico Misurelli, IVY volunteer (Interreg Volunteer Youth) at ‘EuroRegion Baltic’ and participant of the BSYD, shared his experiences from the opening day on

See more pictures from the Dialogue here.

The Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue is organised by the Council of the Baltic Sea States Secretariat in partnership with the Aleksanteri Institute (Finland) and Norden Association (Russia), and financially supported by the Federal Foreign Office Germany.