Within the project, students at both universities grapple with the current pedagogical methods and historical research for teaching about the Holocaust as well as German-Jewish and German-Israeli history in general. The course includes a preparatory seminar and two exchange meetings in April and August 2014. Visits to Yad Vashem, Israel's official memorial site, and the House of the Wannsee Conference and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, both in Berlin, are to be included. During these meetings, which are being held in cooperation with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, the students will design teaching and learning materials that will be integrated in teacher education at both universities. The materials will be made available via an online platform. The Teaching Award's prize money of 10,000 euros is being used to design the platform.
"The combination of excellent training in historical research, visits to important memorials, and personal encounters will be an exciting experience for everyone involved," says Martin Lücke. Dr. Dan Porat and Mr. Shamir Yeger at the Hebrew University's School of Education are proven experts in Holocaust education, and Prof. Dr. Moshe Zimmermann at the Richard Koebner Minerva Center for German History is one of the most highly regarded historians in the field of German-Jewish history. The generous support of the Claims Conference and the Stiftung Deutsche Klassenlotterie Berlin as well as the DAAD Center for German Studies at the Hebrew University are of great significance in enabling the implementation of the program.
"This project fits in particularly well with Freie Universität's internationalization strategy," said Peter-André Alt, the president of the university. Over the years Freie Universität Berlin and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem have cooperated in various ways. Currently they are working together within a Primary Partnership that includes numerous joint projects in the humanities as well as the social and natural sciences.
Unlike the awards presented by various academic departments at Freie Universität Berlin that recognize individual faculty members for their outstanding teaching, the Teaching Award of Freie Universität Berlin is given for innovative teaching concepts and formats. Each year there is a different thematic emphasis. The first competition requested proposals for teaching projects that were research oriented with an international focus. A total of 19 proposals were submitted. They included plans for teaching projects in the humanities as well as the social and natural sciences. Proposals were submitted by all levels of faculty as well as students at Freie Universität. They included ideas for field research projects, research seminars with student symposia, or for the use of new media. "The selection panel did not have an easy task," said Peter-André Alt. "There was great variety in the submitted teaching concepts, and a great deal of creativity in the development of innovative forms of teaching and learning." The award ceremony will take place during the 2014 spring/summer semester.
The Teaching Award of Freie Universität Berlin and the concept of "research-oriented teaching" are integral components of the university's future development concept Veritas – Justitia – Libertas. International Network University, with which Freie Universität Berlin won excellence status for the second time in a row in 2012 in the national Excellence Initiative for German universities.