History and Globalization: An Academic Pursue

History and Globalization: An Academic Pursue

In a world ravaged by new technology, one must wonder what will become of the discipline of History in our education systems: will millennials praise the growth of mankind, or will we keep on teaching our children that the wonders of their own Nations overcome those of the world?
From ever since children start school, from such a young age as five or six, they are taught the History of their own country, from the first gregarious communities to occupy the territory up until modern History. Yet, the core points of every History programme remain the same: “how did we affect the world?”, “How did we, as a society, evolved?”, “What happened to us?”
As much as one argues that national identity is something primary to every men or woman, globalization is a phenomena not to be ignored, and the Global Village, anchored on the Internet, is the new Nation that gathers all with access to the World Wide Web. However, world education leaders seem to purposely overlook the facts, and insist on leaving it in the hands of the younger to discover that there is a world out there, with History as rich as their own.
For a better understanding of this issue, let us point out two education systems that differ when it comes to relating national History and World History, and offer a possibility to “cover” the plot of World History in students’ curricula.
On the one hand, in England, a new subject programme was implemented in 2014, named “National Curriculum”, specifying what British students must study and what they should be learning at different ages. Even though the History programme refers the need to “gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world”1, students must focus their attention on British History: local history, the Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings in Britain, Britain and the wider world in Tudor times, Victorian Britain and Britain since 1930.
In Portugal, on the other hand, secondary school is divided in five areas of interest, each with specific compulsory subjects. The History programme2 relies on modules that will first provide the student with political, economic, and social context for every Age, and then introduce the country’s situation given said context. This programme’s main pretence is for the student to “develop a sense of self-criticism, the ability to accept different opinions and to recognise the existence of various working modules of society.”3 Yet, the issue remains: although Portuguese students have a clear image of what Europe as a whole has lived since the invention of Democracy, the rest of the world is a mystery until the 16th century. And even then, History programmes pursue a European-centred perspective.
These self-centred perspectives result, as Europe well knows, in a strong sense of nationalism, in an honest belief that our home country is the best of the entire world, this feeling often being expressed as arrogance and suspicion towards foreigners. It was this feeling of superiority that led to the advent of two world wars that left nothing behind but grieve and destruction.
The question now is how to prevent such feelings from forming? Investigators Robert Bain and Tamara Shreiner from Michigan University claim the answer to these concerns relies
on the creation of a new subject, a World History subject. In the USA, this is a high school subject, growing more and more popular every year. However, the teaching in these classes still goes much on a “Hollywood-based” view of History, opposing to the purest form of historicism Education Ministers should provide.
According to the authors, in order to make sure that World History is about the whole world, and not just the Western part, it is necessary to divide the subject in 4 independent structural patterns that, together, provide students with the most information about World History. They are: “World Civilization Plus”, which offers an expanded version of a familiar narrative that focuses on the development of civilization in the West, specifically Europe; “Social Studies World History”, which offers a multidisciplinary approach to broad themes such as “Time, Continuity, and Change,” but which still does not challenge the “Europe as the Center of the World Model”; “Geographic/Regional World History”, which considers change over time in differing regions and sometimes braids these strands together in separate courses on Africa, East Asia, South Asia, or Latin America in addition to a broadly based world history course; and “Global World History”, which the authors describe as a synthesis of “trans-regional and civilizational studies” that requires students to “look at and across regions of the world.”4
It is fair to wonder whether teaching such a subject is enough to erase the distrustful feelings that mandated international interpersonal relationships over the past few millennia. Ever since Ancient Greece, Xenophon argued that closed societies were better than open societies. Discussion on this topic has not evolved much since 500 B.C. However, it is also fair to argue that World History would help young students to understand other cultural options and thus, to more easily accept different views of the world.

Xenophon: Ancient Greek philosopher, argued that closed societies were better than open societies

This is not an easy discussion. There are numerous arguments in favour and against a subject such as World History. Apart from those already presented, one might ask how to ensure impartiality from those talking of History, given that there are always two sides to the same story. Even if we argue that World History should always be presented through both perspectives, the winning and the loosing, we are still left with the natural inability of Men to not take sides. These are questions we are far from answering with all due certainty.
The examples to prove this phenomena are more than well-documented. If a British student were to travel across the Ocean and discuss British History with fellow North-American students, he would be confronted with a certain difficulty, since what Americans call the “Independence War” is known to the British as the “Colonial Insurgence”. Moving Easter, the Second World War was known as the “Great Patriotic War” in soviet countries for many years.
However important National History might be in building a person’s character, providing them with knowledge that derives directly from their ancestor’s way of life it is fair to wonder how can anyone be expected to discuss, open-minded, freely, about subjects such as History, if they were never given the chance to study, in school, under an advisor and among their peers, the existence of other perspectives, different from their own?
The answer is, they cannot. That is why we advocate a European History subject, directed mostly to high schoolers. Hopefully, the understanding of Europe’s historical evolution as a highly interactive block, with more in common than in difference, will reinforce the bond that unites all of Europe under the same flag of peace and development for all. Consequently, it would diminish the nationalistic and xenophobic feelings that are spreading throughout Europe, today, as it would bring closer the various nations that form the Old World, as a single world, made of different opinions, based on discussion and the well-being of its population.


About the author 


Leonor Frade

Leonor Frade (18) participated in the “My Europe” Workshop in Lisbon in 2014. She has since then been a member of the working group on Gender Equality and now writes for the Education group. She is a Law student and enjoys discussions about politics, education, employment, science and philosophy. She presents the result of those discussions in short essays and hopes you will enjoy them. 



1 – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-historyprogrammes-of-study/national-curriculum-in-england-history-programmes-of-study, on december 5th 2017
2 – http://www.dge.mec.pt/sites/default/files/Secundario/Documentos/Documentos_Disciplinas_ novo/Curso_Linguas_e_Humanidades/historia_a_10_11_12.pdf, on december 5th 2017
3 – http://www.dge.mec.pt/sites/default/files/Secundario/Documentos/Documentos_Disciplinas_ novo/Curso_Linguas_e_Humanidades/historia_a_10_11_12.pdf, on december 5th 2017
4 – Robert B. Bain and Tamara L. Shreiner, “Issues and Options in Creating a National Assessment in World History,” History Teacher 38:2 (February 2005), 241–72

Persecuted Beyond Borders

Image result for lgbt italy

After such a great reception of the article we shared entitled ‘Persecuted beyond borders: why Italy needs LGBT refugee shelters’, the YCF decided to interview the author of this piece.

Claudia Torrisi is an Italian journalist who has a passion for social issues, migrations and human rights. She has a master’s degree in Law and has previously worked with some non-profit organisations and projects such as Chayn Italia.

Torrisi has an extremely open background, working in various positions such as a journalist, volunteer, web editor and even worked on the mayoral campaign in Rome during 2016. She is very versatile in her work and as published pieces with openDemocracy, VICE Media and more.

Her piece focuses on the need for centres for LGBT refugees in Italy and documents how some refugees feel unsafe in the current setup. She tells of how they feel attacked and scared, often sensing that they are isolated when they arrive. Many fear telling their stories and sharing their experiences with those they meet in the crisis centres. Their lives are put on hold as they fear criminalisation for their sexual status.

Join us on 15th November 2017 as we interview Claudia Torrisi live on our social media channels.

Europe’s youth must stand up against populists

Now it has also reached Germany. The fact that a right-wing populist party, the AfD in Germany moves into the Bundestag with official provisional results of 12, 6% is another warning for Europe. Everywhere in Europe, tendencies to close the borders, return to the nation state and abolish a common currency can be seen. The leaders in Europe have been warned sufficiently to take populists seriously and to do everything to ensure that Europe remains a one-of-a-kind entity. Europe’s youth in particular is called upon to take a stand against all positions of populists and clearly choose a free Europe without borders. We do not want to lose all the advantages that Europe has given us in the last 50 years and return to nation-states. We want to continue to be able to travel freely within the EU, pay in a common currency and be able to communicate with all people. Our goal is to maintain a free Europe and to give all people equal opportunities. That is why we launched the initiative European Youth Marathon with the slogan ‘I’m a part of Europe’. Join us and fight for the unity of a free Europe.


About the Author:

Prof. Dr. Manfred Pohl is CEO and founder of My Europe 2100 e.V.. Additionally, he is founder of the future think tank Frankfurter Zukunftsrat, founder and Deputy Chairman of the European Association for Banking and Financial History (EABH) as well as of the Institute for Corporate Cultural Affairs. In 2011 he was awarded with the Verdienstkreuz 1. Klasse of the Federal Republic Germany for his charitable commitment in the European banking and financial sector. Read more… 


Everything seems impossible until it is done

Who are supposed to be the ‘climate-change refugees’? ‘Climate-change refugees’ or so called ‘environmental migrants’ are people who are forced to leave their home towns either temporarily or permanently due to sudden or progressive climate changes which compromise their well being and secure livelihood.

These changes may include increased droughts, desertification, sea revel rise, disruption of seasonal weather patterns such as monsoons, etc. Human activities like burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests contribute to global warming because they release greenhouse gases. Rising temperatures associated with global warming cause glaciers and ice caps to melt, which lead to droughts and desertification – the transformation of arable land to desert. These effects make it completely impossible for people in the region to feet on the crops and they are forced consequently to roam the world to look for better lives.    

Unlike the refugees who flee their homes due to conflict or political oppression, ‘climate-change refugees’ are not protected by international laws and may face greater political risks.

Unlike the refugees who flee their homes due to conflict or political oppression, ‘climate-change refugees’ are not protected by international laws and may face greater political risks. You have to admit, the word “refugees” should not be used in consideration of these people. It’s not them on whom we have to put the blame, because that is nature which caused it.

Nowadays, the problem of migrants is causing a great deal of wrangling in the whole world, including Europe. The European Commission has taken a comprehensive approach to tackle the refugee crisis in Europe, drawing on the various tools and instruments available at the EU level and in the member states. The European Commission gathers periodically at the summit to discuss these contemporary issues and to take corresponding measures. Statistics indicate that the number of migrants crossing Europe illegally by land and sea in 2015 has passed over one million. Of course, not all of them can be called the ‘climate-change refugees’. Some of them may migrate due to social instabilities, such as the terror attacks and the wars in the central and the Western Asia, although some people are migrating, simply because of the climate changes.Then what are the biggest challenges that ‘climate-change refugees’ are facing?

Firstly, wherever people happen to land, there would be significant traditional, cultural and religious differences. To adapt to the afterward circumstances, they would need sizeable amount of time. For example, if one has moved from Western Asia to Eastern Europe, traditional customs will have changed, from greeting others to food culture. This would affect everyone including youngsters and the next generations, trying successfully or not so to integrate into their new cultures.

Another challenge could be finding suitable jobs or finding themselves a place in the workforce.  Currently, migrant workers accounts for 150 million of the world’s approximately 232 million international migrants. Migrant workers contribute to the growth and develop in their countries of destination.
Especially having in mind the rising unemployment rate in the countries where they decide to reside. Furthermore, migration and the resulting unemployment rate have been one of the major issues in the traditional, as well as contemporary global economic scenario. And some criminal activities like robberies, thefts and various negative behaviors by unemployed migrants might arise and will disturb the public order in certain countries. To prevent these, the chances have to be given for refugees to be employed after the specific education system.

When properly managed, the refugees may have far-reaching potentials and their communities as well.

As Nelson Mandela, one of the most famous politicians said “Everything seems impossible until it is done”, other problems and challenges could occur that we might face. Yet we, as human beings have responsibilities to protect the refugees. When properly managed, the refugees may have far-reaching potentials and their communities as well. And consequently they would serve as part of the society which contributes for the economic growth of the country, overcoming ethnic differences and winning the fight for position among other people.


About the author:

Ri Kang Song (16) took part in the My Europe Workshop in Sofia on 28-29 November 2016 and won the fifth prize of the writing competition.

We should be the change!

Climate change – a change in global or regional climate patterns, in particular a change apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric CO2 produced by the use of fossil fuels.

Refugee – a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape a war, persecution, or a natural disaster.

Climate-change refugees – these are people who can no longer gain a secure livelihood in their homelands because of draught, soil erosion, deforestation and other environmental problems and are forced to move out of their countries

The Earth is facing a lot of climate challenges in the past decades, which include global warming, deforestation, pollution, flood and storm disasters and other consequences as a result of them. These climate changes also affect the life of the people, who are forced in many occasions to leave their native countries and seek other lands to inhabit and make a living because they no longer can provide for themselves, or it is even dangerous to live in these areas.

They seek refuge and a safe place to live because their homes have been often destroyed by natural disasters- natural disasters caused by people or pollution.

They seek refuge and a safe place to live because their homes have been often destroyed by natural disasters- natural disasters caused by people or pollution. This problem will continue to exist and even get worse if we don’t come up with a solution.  Otherwise more and more refugees will come from the environmentally unsafe countries. And after some time, space will become less and slowly but surely the states which shelter the climate-change refugees will be overpopulated. Criminal behavior may occur along with other refugee crisis e.g. assaults against the ones seeking new homes. Poverty is another problem, as there may not be enough resources in the overpopulated areas to provide living for these climate refugees.

In 1995 the so-called environmental refugees totaled at least 25 million people, compared with 27 million traditional refugees (people running away from political conflicts, religious persecution and ethnic problems). The climate-change refugees could well double by 2010. When the global warming takes hold, there could be as many as 200 million people overtaken by rainfall regimes, by droughts of unprecedented duration and severity, and by sea-level rise and coastal flooding. * Based on Myers, N and Kent J (1995) Environmental Exodus: An Emergent Crisis in the Global Arena.

The direction of movement as predicted of scientists will be mainly from south towards north and from east towards west. This immigration will cause extreme overpopulations on small areas. One of the main problems considered, perhaps as the most vital for all of us is the food supplying. Some 20 countries with a projected population of 440 million are expected to experience up to 25% shortfall in food supplies. In addition most of the areas, which produce the most of our food and which we import from, will be destroyed due to the climate changes and more than approximately 10 to 20 million or even more people will be semi-starved by 2050.

Climate-change refugees run away because of climate change, as the name suggests. And along with the name comes the main goal we have to achieve in order these people to keep their homes – we have to change the climate as it used to be before the pollution started. And there are many things that can be done and which do not require spending money. For example, reduction of use in fossil fuels, less deforestation, as they both result in too much CO2, are the perfect ways to start our mission to save our planet and save the people. Other actions which can be taken are: walking to school, smart energy use (we should turn off the lights when walking out of the room), smart water use (we should turn off the sink tap) – these methods can help the reduction in carbon pollution over time.

Personally, I think this global problem should be voiced whenever, especially from the youths because as many surveys say the adults start to acknowledge the things they used to dismiss when the youth starts voice their opinion.

The climate-change refugee crisis has been known to exist since the second part of the 20th century. Many politicians have talked openly about the problem. But still nowadays not many of us understand the threat that’s been lurking around for years and the climate-change refugees are just the beginning. Personally, I think this global problem should be voiced whenever, especially from the youths because as many surveys say the adults start to acknowledge the things they used to dismiss when the youth starts voice their opinion. In order for our mission to begin and be successful we have to start from somewhere, we have to help raise the public awareness and I think we, the young generation, should be the beginning. We should be the change!

About the author:

Katya Georgieva Ivanova took (16) part in the My Europe Workshop in Sofia on 28-29 November 2016 and won the fourth prize of the writing competition.

Far from home

Refugees. What an incredible word!

The term ‘’climate refugee’’ or ‘’environmental immigrant’’ was first proposed by Lether Brown in 1976 and it is often used to describe people who are forced to leave their homes , regions ,areas due to a sudden or long-term changes  to their local environment which compromises their well-being or secure livelihood.

Such changes include rising temperatures which lead to droughts and desertification (caused by variety of factors , mainly because of climate change , desertification  is a type of land degradation in which relatively dry area becomes increasingly acrid , usually losing its water bodies , vegetation and wildlife) as well as rising sea level , caused by the melting of ice caps , glaciers etc. Those changes are often associated with a very common, yet very dangerous problem – Global Warming.

Global Warming is a term describing the observed century-scale rise in the average temperature of the Earth’s climate system and its related effects. By using fossil fuels such as oil, coal, steel etc. we are rising the world’s global temperature every day, thus leaving thousands of people without homes, due to a lack of shelter, water and food and urge them to immigrant, searching for a better life for their families and themselves.

Today’s choices are going to significantly affect the risk that climate change will pose for the rest of century.

Talking about Global Warming we cannot miss to mention the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), established in 1988 and their work, which continues to present day. More than seven hundred scientists all over the globe work every day, trying to reduce carbon emissions, so that the world can avoid the catastrophic warming, which would dramatically disrupt human life and natural ecosystems. “Today’s choices are going to significantly affect the risk that climate change will pose for the rest of century” , says Kelly Levin , a scientist studying climate change impacts at the World’s Resources Institute (WRI) in Washington , D.C.

Another group working on the problem with modern-day refugees is the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). It consists of people who are willing to work on the problem by providing basic human needs – shelter , which provides safety , the distribution of food and water for those in need and special services for women and children. It also helps by offering job applications which helps the immigrants to easily find jobs and take a better care for their families and themselves, thus creating partnerships through cheap labour workers which also helps them adapt to their surroundings and improve their lives. We are humans and we must help each other!

Looking directly at the problem, it is our duty first to integrate those people into our societies, so that we can treat them as equal to us, despite their origin, cultural differences or religion. And the best start for integration is with education. Everything starts with school – it builds every man and woman as a person, it helps us adapt to modern-world societies and teaches us tolerance and understanding, thus making the school system perfect for immigrants and their children.

And the best start for integration is with education.

It is necessary to understand that this is not going to happen fast. The process may take several years, but in the end Europe will have healthy (physically and mentally), educated, happy and motivated people, ready to fill up our society with their colourful and unique culture, specific religion and different personalities.

This will help manufacturing, it will develop industry and will help carry out cultural activities and by doing so we will be learning from them as they will be learning from us!

What our continent is going to face in the next decades would be dramatic – thousands, maybe even millions of people will be flooding into our countries. This will seriously affect our economies and we as a union, as the European Union (EU) will have to rise up against that challenge – “The migration crisis has the potential to destabilize governments ,countries and the whole European continent..” , says Viktor Orban , the Prime Minister of Hungary.

Of course, this is the worst case scenario – we know that we are facing a major crisis, maybe the biggest in Europe for the 21st century and we will have to find a solution to it. And the best solution for this problem is by resolving another important problem – Global Warming.

It is the reason why climate-refugees are immigrating, more specifically to Europe – the Global Warming itself has destroyed their homes.

We must stop using fossil fuels, as they are the main reason behind it, because of the carbon emissions, but we will also have to decrease the carbon dioxide from burning gasoline used for transportation, the methane emissions from animals and stop the deforestation and turn to renewable energy sources such as the sunlight, water and wind!

By using these renewable resources we assure the reclamation of the Ozone layer, the decreasing of the world’s temperature and also prevent the extinction of many endangered species.

This will help us preserve the homes of almost all climate-refugees and it will decrease their number significantly. We assure one better future for the next generations and for ourselves!

The world has always been changing and immigration is not something new. Because of it we have discovered the world as explorers and because of it, we have survived! And now we are facing another immigration – the immigration of climate-change refugees in the 21st century. We have to stand against that problem as a Union. The world is changing once again and it is time for us to adapt as for them, too!

About the author:

Radoslav Nikolaev Stefanov (16) took part in the My Europe Workshop in Sofia on 28-29 November 2016 and won the third prize of the writing competition.