Successful Finish of History Competition 2019/2020 in Ukraine

Logo of the Ukrainian History Competition 2019/2020 | Photo: NOVA DOBA
Logo of the Ukrainian History Competition 2019/2020 | Photo: NOVA DOBA

Starting in September 2019, a total of 1,727 young people aged between 14 and 18 years got engaged in the competition dealing with the topic „Soviet Past – Rethinking the History“. Teamed up into research groups, pupils conducted 290 local studies of the Ukrainian Soviet past. All competition entries are entirely accessible on the relaunched official project website (in Ukrainian language).

Participants were guided and assisted by teachers and tutors. The formats ranged from rather classical essays to comic books, online quests and exhibitions. Each contribution was accompanied by a research diary reflecting the students‘ teamwork for the time of their common studies.

The evaluation of the entries was conducted in two stages. As a first step a team of professional educators from “NOVA DOBA - The All-Ukrainian Association of Teachers of History, Civic Education and Social Studies“ selected 36 of the 292 works. They assessed the scientific and pedagogical merits of the entries and also analysed them thoroughly with regard to plagiarism.
At the second stage of evaluation the best 36 entries were forwarded to a jury consisting of renowned professional historians from Ukraine: Yaroslav Hrytsak, Oksana Kis, Georgiy Kasyanov, Tetiana Sebta and Natalia Shlikhta. This jury carefully analysed and evaluated the selected entries. 15 works shared first place, 10 second place and 11 third place. 23 more works were marked as "having great potential and deserving encouragement.“

Being asked about their impression of this year‘s competition entries Natalia Shlikhta, jury member from the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, stressed the quality of works: "By selecting specific historical subjects, the contestants have not only carried out wonderful mini-studies based on historiography and a variety of sources. They have also tried to draw some broader conclusions from these studies about Ukrainian history and its contemporary perception. And, even more, they have presented their findings in desirable formats, popularising them among their peers."

Tetiana Sebta, a World War II researcher and also a member of the jury, praised another benefit of the whole project: "The competition, as several participants put it in their entries, has not only enriched their knowledge of certain historical periods, but also changed their views of history. Thanks to the competition, a completely different world has opened up to them, which teaches them, encourages them to think, analyse, and empathise. And that is definitely the best result."

Her colleague Oksana Kis, expert in gender history, added: "To me, this competition is not so much about history as it is about knowing oneself through history studies."

All these positive assessments and results are indeed a good reason to celebrate. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic restrictions in Ukraine, the award ceremony had to be postponed and will now be held in Kiev in September 2020.

„Soviet Past: Rethinking the History“ is part of the international project „History competitions in Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine II“ which is implemented by DVV International in cooperation with Körber-Stiftung and funded by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany. Local partner for the implementation in Ukraine is „ NOVA DOBA - The All-Ukrainian Association of Teachers of History, Civic Education and Social Studies”, one of the founding organisations of the EUSTORY Network.

Jury members of the Ukrainian History Competition 2019/2020:

Yaroslav Hrytsak
PhD in history, professor at the Ukrainian Catholic University, Director of the Institute of Historical Research at Ivan Franko Lviv State University, guest professor at the Central European University in Budapest, co-editor of the scientific magazine Modern Ukraine, member of the editorial board of journals Ab Imperio, Critique and Slavic Review, member of the supervisory board of the journal Harvard Ukrainian Studies.

Oksana Kis
PhD, is an historian and anthropologist, and Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Ethnology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in Lviv. She graduated in 1992 from Lviv State University; completed her PhD dissertation in 2002 at Ivan Krypyakevych Institute of Ukrainian Studies, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. She is also Director of the Lviv resarch center “Woman and Society” (NGO) and president of the Ukrainian Association for Research in Women’s History. Dr. Kis served as a guest editor for special issues of academic journals (JI, Ukraina Moderna, Narodoznavchi Zoshyty) and other volumes devoted to gender issues.

Georgiy Kasyanov
PhD, completed his doctorate in History at the National Academy of Sciences; currently he is Head of the Department of Contemporary History and Politics at the Institute of Ukrainian History of the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences. Author of numerous books and articles dedicated to the Soviet period and politics of memory.

Tetiana Sebta
PhD, is an historian and scholarly associate of the Institute of Ukrainian Archeography and Source Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Author of several publications dedicated to WWII and prisoners of war.

Natalia Shlikhta
Associate Professor and Head of the Department of History at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. Her major research interests are ecclesiastical history of the 20th century and everyday Soviet history. She is a participant of numerous international projects in the field of her interest. Her major recent publications include a monograph in Ukrainian “Tserkva tykh, khto vyzhyv. Radianska Ukraina, seredyna 1940-kh – pochatok 1970-kh rr.” [The Church of those who survived. Soviet Ukraine, mid-1940s – early 1970s] (Kharkiv: Akta, 2011) and a textbook in Ukrainian “Istoriia radianskoho suspilstva: Kurs lektsii” [History of Soviet society: Lectures] (Kharkiv: Akta, 2015).

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