Ukrainian Award Ceremony 2018

Ukrainian prizewinners, their tutors and competition organisers 2018 | Photo: DVV International Ukraine
Ukrainian prizewinners, their tutors and competition organisers 2018 | Photo: DVV International Ukraine

On 16 June 2018, the award ceremony of the Ukrainian history competition took place in the National Museum of History in Kiev. 288 teams with more than 1,000 young people aged between 14 and 18 years from different regions of Ukraine submitted their entries on the topic: »(Hi)story of my Community: The Past for a Common Future.« Historians and journalists such as Yaroslav Hrytsak, Oksana Kis, Danylo Yanevsky and Tetyana Sebta formed the jury, which selected the twelve best entries to be awarded.

This year’s Ukrainian competition was organised and conducted by DVV International Ukraine in partnership with the Ukrainian non-governmental organisation NOVA DOBA, with organisational support of the Ministry of Education and Sciences of Ukraine, under expert advice by the Körber-Stiftung/EUSTORY and funded by the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany.

Petro Kendzor, NOVA DOBA | Photo: DVV International Ukraine
Petro Kendzor, NOVA DOBA | Photo: DVV International Ukraine

Representatives of the German Embassy, the EUSTORY Network and the Ministry of Education awarded the prizewinners. Petro Kendzor, founder member of the EUSTORY Network and a representative of NOVA DOBA, referred to the participants: »History can be compared with a car’s rear-view mirror - you can drive without it, but it is going to be extremely dangerous.«

Ukrainian prizewinners with Andrea Stohr from the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany | Photo: DVV International Ukraine
Ukrainian prizewinners with Andrea Stohr from the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany | Photo: DVV International Ukraine

In Ukraine, a divided country in the midst of nation building process that is currently suffering from warlike confrontation with its Russian neighbours, dealing with history is anything but easy, as reflected in heated discussions during the teacher workshops accompanying the award ceremony. In order to involve young people in historical discourses, the current history competition had pursued a strongly action-oriented approach: Participants were invited not only to explore topics from their immediate environment historically, but also to develop ideas on how their new findings could be harnessed for their community. The organisers deliberately addressed participants from all regions of Ukraine and called on both, teachers and civil society activists, to support young people in their projects. The students created virtual exhibitions, city tours for residents or visitors, they took care of forgotten monuments or researched the diverse history of individual buildings in their city. The four first prize projects are from Hlobyne in Poltava Oblast, Mariupol in Donetsk, Kropywnytsky and Lviv in Western Ukraine. The groups, for example, critically researched in archives to the founding myth of their city, researched the "ethnic mosaic" of the inhabitants or created a tourist city guide to historically attractive sites for a rather disreputable district in Lviv. However, this is not the end of the commitment of those young people: In addition to their award the successful participants will apply for a financial support of their local projects to the organisers DVV International Ukraine and NOVA DOBA.

Ukrainian prizewinners and their tutor with Oleg Smirnov, country director of DVV International Ukraine (right) | Photo: DVV International Ukraine
Ukrainian prizewinners and their tutor with Oleg Smirnov, country director of DVV International Ukraine (right) | Photo: DVV International Ukraine

During the award ceremony, the twelve winning teams presented their projects and answered questions from the audience. Afterwards, tutors and team members took part in a discussion about local history, moderated by the Ukrainian writer Oksana Kis’. The coordinator of the competition, Andrii Fert, and the country director of DVV International Ukraine, Oleg Smirnov, awarded the winners with certificates and presents.

One of the students stated: »Why do I like this project? Because it helps me to understand that history is not just a set of dates to be learned for a test, but something interesting, something that belongs to you, something you can find by yourself.« Another Ukrainian prizewinner described her enthusiasm for dealing with history “from below”: »For me, dealing with local history is like inhaling fresh air!«

The winners' entries can be found here.


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