END – the cradle of ITA
European Nuclear Disarmament was the cradle of INTERNATIONAL TEACHER
European Nuclear Disarmament logo
The Danish logo: Atomic weapons? No, thank you!
ITA is the product of a "Peace Pedagogical Workshop" which was a child of the Cold War. The first working group was created from the block-independent peace movement "No to nuclear weapons" and its teaching material group. In 1986 this group created the "workshop" as an alternative to the "Teachers for Peace", an Eastern dominated organisation.
Swedish educator, Anatole Pikas suggested we could further the concept of peace by establishing East-West dialogue-meetings at the grassroots level. His special idea was: "through constructive but contradictory and controversial discussions at the grassroots level to try to establish common approaches and mutual understanding in order to influence decision-makers throughout the system.” Nothing less!
So we took up the idea, and in 1988 at the Limfjord island Mors the first dialogue with "ordinary" teachers from Eastern and Western Europe was held. Since then every year when possible we have created and/or participated in international meetings, exchanges of teachers and students, conferences, etc. Here you see a teacher from the Western Germany and Poland preparing cabbage soup at the meeting held in 1988.
Our international “bridge”, the quarterly magazine "INTERNATIONAL TEACHER Post" - which is edited by an international editorial team and printed in Denmark - was developed in the '80s and is now sent to approx. 300 interested individuals in Denmark and abroad, mainly to the countries of the former Soviet Union, Central- and Easter Asia, but also Australia, Western Europe and the USA. The magazine is one of the causes of our present international educational network cohesiveness. (Copy No. 2/2008-09)
During the years 1990-2000 the Danish State Fund, the Democracy Fund, made it possible for us to invite a few hundred colleagues to Denmark including people from most of the former Soviet Union countries. This gave rise to many Danish revisits! And it formed the basis of our current international network.
During Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen's liberal government (and his successor) we have continued to seek foreign minister support for our work - but without success.
Every year we hold an international meeting. The first one took place in St. Petersburg (picture), Russia (2002), Paide. Estonia (2003) and Nyiregyhaza, Hungary (2004), followed by Brest, Belarus (2005) and Samara, Russia. (2006) and Lugansk Antratsit and Crimea, Ukraine (2007). In 2008, we did not meet in Georgia as originally planned - as the war there forced us to move the meeting to Fjaltring in Denmark. The following year we met in Baku and Caucasus in Azerbaijan. 2010 we will meet in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and visit the beautiful highlands. The annual meeting always includes a recreational component, which has included a Volga cruise, a stay at a Crimean beach, staying in the mountains of Caucasus etc.
Although the Cold War is over, the new conflicts and the "war on terror" around the world show that today's educators and students must actively promote peace with their neighbours, strangers and our environment. That is why we at the international meeting in 2007 decided to work against nationalism and fundamentalism.
Knowledge of war and peace, conflict resolution and conflict prevention is on our education agenda!