On December 14-15, 2013 Nansen Dialogue Centre Skopje organized and hosted the Second international conference on integrated education “Integrated education- trend, tendency and necessity” that was held in Skopje, Macedonia. The conference brought together 140 participants in order to achieve positive influence towards the upgrade of knowledge, strengthening the capacities and skills of the education cadre from primary and secondary education that are in the role of promoters and supports of the idea and concept of integrated education.
Prof. Steinar Bryn lectured on the Conference on the topic “Integrated education-trend, tendency and necessity”. The lecture reflected the work of the Nansen dialogue network and how the lessons learned from the long years of experience can be applied to build integrated societies.
The lecture session started with the history of the connection established between Lillehammer and Sarajevo and how the Nansen Academy as Olympic hosts was able to invite potential leaders to three months conversations in Lillehammer. Later, through the work of regional Nansen Dialog Centers, the results from the dialogue seminars in the Western Balkans were presented. Prof. Bryn explained how the dialog started about the causes and consequences of the breakup of Yugoslavia and why it became so violent.
The most important learning that came out of these efforts was the understanding of dialogue as an attitude toward the world and as a way of communicating.
During the lecture, prof. Bryn highlighted the importance of building and integrated society where the citizens have equal access to resources and opportunities stressing that it is not possible to achieve that without integrated schooling. Prof Bryn highlighted that integrated schooling helps the process of breaking down the prejudices we have about each other, helps increasing the knowledge about each other and is a starting point towards ensuring the respect that the multiple identities deserve. In that context prof. Bryn elaborated the lines based on which an integrated society can be built upon: loyalty towards the state, allowing variations in ethnic traditions and habits, developing a representative democracy – where all citizens are represented and also developing inclusive politics where work programs, educational programs and social programs are for all citizens.
“In order to succeed in creating an integrated multiethnic society we must apply the two most valuable lessons learned from the Nansen Dialog experience. We need to develop a dialog culture – where curiosity and respect for each other, where the ability to see things from other peoples perspective, become normal. We need a dialog culture where we all make a serious effort to understand each other better. But equally important: We need an integrated education. To succeed in this effort we must take integrated education much more seriously. It will be the foundation for multiethnic societies.
The Nansen Model developed here in Macedonia is not only a response to the current situation in Macedonia – it is a road sign toward a more humane future in all of Europe.”- highlighted prof. Bryn during his lecture.