On Thursday 31st March and Friday 1st April, we gathered both online and in the Rotes Rathaus in the centre of Berlin to mark the closing of the programme “Transition Dialogue” and to present the handbook that has been the result of the hard work of the project and its coordinators. Our conference was particularly significant given the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine, and this background remained present and poignant throughout each of our speakers’ panels. The question therefore always remained: has “Transition Dialogue” succeeded? And can we continue to engage in dialogue about transition, with these events in mind?
The handbook “Teaching history of transition in Europe: A handbook for history and civic education” was introduced by Alexander Formozov of Austausch e.V. (formerly the DRA), who outlined both the reasoning for and the structure of the handbook. The handbook seeks to help teachers in this by addressing four main questions, each corresponding to a section of the book: What is transition? How are teachers dealing with it now? What topics are the most important and yet are not being covered enough? And how do we rectify this? Our panels then explored these questions, for example by looking at case studies of the mapping processes for the handbook or examining transition as part of a history of state building.