As the first pilot project of MECERN, we launched an essay competition about the image of historic (mainly medieval) neighbors in the schoolbooks of the Central European region – in cooperation with the Georg Eckert Institute for International Schoolbook Research (Braunschweig). The announcement was written up in English, German, French and – with the help of MECERN members in the various countries – local vernaculars. With their and other colleagues’ help, we have established a mailing list of universities, research institutions, libraries, and associations of history teachers in 20 countries, comprising of some 250 electronic addresses who received e-mailed or printed announcements. (We have now placed this contact list on the MECERN webpage under Research Resources: it may be useful for members to circulate invitations or announcements. Of course, the addresses and names are those valid at the time of its compilation, September 2015.)
We have requested that interested parties, students and teachers, register their intention to submit essays in either of the languages of the announcement by 1 November 2015. We were pleased that 25 registrants signed up for the competition. The deadline for submission was 1 February 2016. At that time, eleven essays arrived. Regretfully, a number of registrants did not manage to complete their work in time. Unfortunately, the submission were unevenly spread over region; no essays arrived from Poland, the Czech and Slovak Republics or Hungary. The successful participants came from Bulgaria, Estonia, Croatia, Moldova, Romania, and Russia.
The essays were submitted for evaluation to an international jury consisting of Anna Adamska of Utrecht, Rune Brandt Larsen of Lund, Vasco LaSalvia of Rome, and Robert Maier from the Eckert Institute. János M. Bak from CEU, founding member of MECERN, chaired the jury.
Upon mature deliberation, the jury decided to spread the prizes and instead of giving – as originally planned – one first and two second prizes, granted three second and two third prizes with additional honorary mention of two additional contestants. By doing so, the jury intended to encourage the younger contestants to pursue their historical and educational careers. A grant from Central European University’s Humanities Initiative enabled us to add monetary awards to the prizes.
The final decision of the jury was to grant the second prizes (in the value of € 500 each) to Sergej Filipović from Croatia, Kerli Kraus from Estonia, and Sergiu Musteaţā from Moldavia;
the third prizes (in the value of € 250) went to Viktorija Antolković from Croatia and Diana Nikolaeva Mitea from Bulgaria;
Onoriu Colācel from Romania and the duo Artem Istranin-Alexander Dronov from Russia received honorary mentions.
We congratulate the winners and wish them all the best for their future endeavors.
Some of the best essays have been published in August 2017 as a Dossier in the electronic series of the GEI. edited by János M Bak and Robert Maier as Mutual Images – Essays on the Image of Historic Neighbours in Some Textbooks from Europe’s East. Eckert. Dossiers 10 (2017). Reference: urn:nbn:de:0220‐2017‐0142.