History, in its broadest sense, is our collective memory – sometimes clear, sometimes obscured or neglected, sometimes contentious, and changing in the light of new learning and shifting public perceptions. It shapes our communities, the relationship between different groups, our states, our solidarities, and our enmities. It can inform constructive questioning and a more thoughtful politics. Or it can be distorted and weaponised with profound consequences for our democracies and our security.


Teaching Difficult Histories

11-12 May 2024

The Ratiu Forum – a partnership between LSE IDEAS (London School of Economics) and the Ratiu Foundations – will host the 2024 Teaching of History Workshop on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th of May at the Ratiu Democracy Centre in Turda, Romania. Focusing on Teaching Difficult Histories, the workshop will explore the challenges and practicalities of teaching history with a view to its significance beyond the classroom.

This workshop will explore the challenges and practicalities of teaching history with a view to its significance beyond the classroom. We will seek to answer the questions: why teach History, and how can we effectively educate about our challenging pasts? The key themes and challenges will be addressed by our panellists with reference to legislation passed in recent years that introduced the Holocaust and the 1989 Revolution to the History teaching curriculum in Romania – as optional subjects.

The 2024 workshop will bring together history teachers, relevant policy experts and civil society representatives. The number of participants will be limited to 25 selected by invitation and an open call for applications.

Applications are open to motivated high-school level History teachers and university students seeking a career in education – from Romania and Moldova. We welcome applicants who wish to engage in a more critical and complex way with difficult aspects of Romanian history, such as the revolution of 1989 and the Holocaust, and to develop their didactic skills.

The selection procedure will consist of an assessment of submitted applications against the selection criteria listed below and will conclude with the appointment of the successful participants. Following the workshop, participants will be invited to submit a short History essay – on the topics of either the Holocaust or the 1989 Revolution; one essay will be chosen and awarded the Ratiu Forum History Prize – further details to be announced.

For any further information please contact Stuart Austin (Ratiu Forum Programme Manager, LSE IDEAS): s.j.austin@lse.ac.uk

Covered topics:

  • Why history and its teaching matter
  • Tackling mythologies in the history classroom
  • Difficult history and disinformation
  • Disarming history – working with visual sources, or learning history in situ
  • The History Curriculum  and the Future of Democracy and Security in the Region 

Moderator: John Lotherington (21st Century Trust)

Please scroll down for the Agenda.

The selected participants will be accommodated in Turda at the Ratiu Compound. 

Participants will have the opportunity to attend workshops led by John Lotherington, director of the 21st Century Trust in London and prominent History education expert, alongside several other distinguished academics affiliated with prominent institutions, including the London School of Economics, the University of Bucharest, Babeș-Bolyai University, the University of Belgrade, and Maynooth University.

Free event. Application is required.

The project is addressed to high-school level/aspiring history teachers. Candidates must believe in democratic values, to honour the legacy of Ion Ratiu, and be Romanian or Moldovan citizens. Candidates must also have a working knowledge of English.

To apply for the Teaching Difficult Histories Workshop, interested candidates should submit the following information to Doinita Seruna: doinita.seruna@ratiudemocracycenter.org 

  • A CV, of no longer than two pages
  • A short cover letter explaining their motivation to apply, in terms of personal and professional development, and the key issues they would like to take away from the Programme. The cover letter should be between 250 and 500 words
  • Two written answers to the following questions (250-300 words each), in preparation for the workshops: What do you think are the three major issues confronting history teaching today? Do you think that, during your career to date, teaching history has changed or is changing? If so, how would you evaluate those changes?

The Ratiu Forum will be considering the following criteria when assessing applications:

  • Either proven experience teaching history at the high school level, or current university students seeking a career in education at high-school level
  • An open-minded and analytical approach
  • An ambition to develop both professionally and personally as a teacher
  • A commitment to engaging fully in the Programme and to making the most of the knowledge and expertise of the speakers

Please read here the information note on the processing of personal data for participants.
Please fill out and send us also the GDPR form available here.

Please click here to download the agenda.
  • Prof Carol Capiță (University of Bucharest)
  • Dr Raul Cârstocea (University of Maynooth & Observatory on History Teaching in Europe) 
  • Dominic Howell (Election Observer for the OSCE, EU, and UK; former teacher of History)
  • Marie-Louise Jansen (Director, the Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation’s Contested Histories in Public Spaces Project)
  • Prof Slobodan Markovich (University of Belgrade)
  • Ana Radaković (Vice-President, Education for the 21st Century & PhD Student, University of Belgrade)
  • Tim Ryback (Co-Founder of the Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation)
  • Lidija Suica (Director of the NGO Education for the 21st Century)
  • Prof Marko Suica (University of Belgrade & Observatory on History Teaching in Europe)
  • Denitza Vidolova (Sofia Platform)
  • Dr Eric Weaver (University of Debrecen)