The first module of the ETOS Balkan seminar was held on August 27, 2020. with representatives of Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina with the aim of networking and working together to promote learning and living ethical values. Participants say that the integration of fundamental ethical values must come to the fore despite of the collapsed value system and the fact that the school is an educational and mainly without nurturing taking part in it.
The seminar was moderated by Associate Professor Zilka Spahić Šiljak, and Project Coordinator Azra Nezirić, with the participation of ETOS trainers. Alen Kristić, M.Sc., spoke about the goals and applicability of the ETOS initiative in the region, and Izet Numanović and Miroslav Bagara spoke about the religious and philosophical foundation of ETOS and ethical values. Sedžida Hadžić and Amela Petričević presented the practical application of ETOS in school curricula and the teaching process. Within the dialogue part of the seminar, participants discussed the core values throughout the former Yugoslavia, from Novi Sad to Kotor through Podgorica, Osijek, Đakovo, Vukovar, Tuzla, Sarajevo to Živinice. Discussions and exchange of experiences have shown that the value base is common but the upgrade is different and our projection of it depends on the upgrade.
The conclusion of the first module of the Ethos Balkan seminar was that the educational system is in practice a hotbed of nationalism, chauvinism, xenophobia, that within it the language is understood belligerently, that religious, warrior and militant historical revisionism closes us in small circles that do not allow us to breathe humanly and to build a value system.
In the continuation of the work, the ETOS Balkan Network, with the support of the TPO Foundation, will jointly agree on the methodology and methods that will attract and encourage students to think freely and critically (by their own heads) and let them translate the material into understandable language. As one participant pointed out: “Of course, Kant as such will not take any high school students out of their shoes, but contemporary and creative approaches to bringing great ideas closer to young people will do.”
At this point, the ETOS initiative seeks to offer an alternative as a glimmer of hope that it is able and possible to work and act.