@RealTimeWW1 wins Charlemagne Youth Prize 2015

Print“The greatest achievement of the European integration project is that there has not been war on the territory of the member states for 70 years now.” Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament and laureate of the Charlemagne Prize 2015, said this sentence twice last week: once on Thursday, 14 May 2015, after receiving the Charlemagne Prize in Aachen. And once already on Tuesday, 12 May 2015, in his laudatory speech for this year’s winner of the Charlemagne Youth Prize. Although the winning project is all about war: it is the Twitter project @RealTimeWW1 from our Master in European Contemporary History at the University of Luxembourg.

In this project, the students tweet stories and events from the First World War in real time, exactly 100 years after they happened – on the same date and, if possible, even at the same time. To show that if there is war, it is everywhere, and also how easily small conflicts can turn into horrid battles, is one of the project’s aims. In a time where peace is by many taking for granted, the students want to make their followers aware what great an achievement the peaceful Europe is in which we are living today. The jury of the Charlemagne Youth Prize 2015 acknowledged this aim by choosing the project out of ca. 350 submissions from all EU member states, and honoured it with the first prize.

This first prize consists not only of the 5.000€ prize money and a certificate. It implies also an extent of attention as yet unknown to the project. All 28 national winners of the Charlemagne Youth Prize that had been chosen in the EU member states were invited to three days in Aachen. During these days, a number of national and EU politicians showed great interest in the project, the idea and the persons behind it, its scope and its challenges. The resulting talks were very interesting and encouraging.

However, some small remarks will stick to mind just as much, remarks of people that approached me as the project’s representative in Aachen without any grand introduction, just wanting to tell me what value they see in @RealTimeWW1. Tp tell me what connects them to the First World War: be it their grandfather, having become a prisoner of war without ever being a soldier, only living in the wrong country at the wrong time with the wrong nationality. Be it a German father standing at a square in London when war was declared, and a British guy saying right next to him: ‘If I met a German now, I would wring his neck!’ It was not even always an immediate connection to World War One that made our project speak to them personally, but the appreciation of peace. People from Eastern European countries emphasised the value of open borders, of personal and public security, of (relative) welfare instead of mined and fenced frontiers, permanent fear, permanent shortages. With tears in their eyes they expressed what great a comfort it is for them to see that there are young men and women able to appreciate the European peace we all enjoy nowadays.

All these people’s experiences and their appreciation for our project will be a motivation to continue @RealTimeWW1 over the next years – everyday. Just as the war did, in its impacts, not take a pause. The awareness of being able to believe that this Twitter account is the closest we may ever be to war might well be the most important award coming with the Charlemagne Youth Prize 2015.

More information on the prize, and also on the second and third winners: http://www.charlemagneyouthprize.eu/

Mechthild Herzog

Press release – On Twitter, history students bring the First World War back to life in real time one century later

twitter.jpegOn the occasion of the First World War commemorations, Masters of Modern European History students at the University of Luxembourg are using Twitter to recount, day after day, the twists and turns of the conflict via the @RealTimeWW1 account.

A conflict in 140 characters; an entire peace treaty in two lines; history written in tweets… and at university, what’s more…This is the wild gamble attempted by the teaching staff on the Masters in Modern European History at the University of Luxembourg, to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. Each tweet is published one hundred years day for day — or even hour for hour — after the event it recounts. Almost 200 tweets have already been published and more than 1,500 others are in the pipeline, repainting the sweeping canvas of a destructive conflict that cost 9 million lives and left 8 million with terrible injuries!

Consequently, on 24th January 2014, a tweet announced the warning from the French War Ministry of the risk of a conflict that could threaten stocks of food for the inhabitants or Paris. The next day, another tweet announced that the Paris city council had decided to purchase 400,000 euros worth of flour stocks. For Benoît Majerus, a researcher and lecturer in history, as well as the director of Masters studies, behind this initiative, the Twitter account @RealTimeWW1 makes it possible to follow “day after day, hour after hour, the sequence of minor or major events that make up an international conflict”… and which seem so similar to news that is currently reaching us from certain hot spots on the planet, such as the tweet on 11th March announcing the vote by the Russian parliament of significant credits to arm the infantry and navy.

Four classes of students involved

The Masters in Modern European History is well placed to run this project: the lectures are given in three languages (French, English and German) to students of 8 different nationalities in a country (Luxembourg) which paid a heavy tribute to the conflict and is a particular embodiment of bridges between European countries. The four classes of students involved in the project are able to consult a large range of documents from the era, in many different languages: English, French, German, Luxembourgish, Spanish, Portuguese, Serbo-Croat, Romanian, Greek and Italian.

This project is part of the “digital humanities” movement, which involves human and social sciences filtered through the prism of information technology. Digital humanities draw on the use of digitised historical sources. As a result, all the tweets on @RealTimeWW1 are accompanied by a link to a document from the era that can be consulted on line. Similarly, using an everyday social network to revive major historical occurrences is an experiment ideally designed for the discipline of digital humanities. It also makes it possible to explore means of knowledge production and broadcasting specific to the 21st century.

The social network Twitter has already been used for historic “live-tweets” of varying magnitude. The @RealTimeWWII account run by Allwin Collinson paved the way with more than 7,300 tweets published since 2012, recounting the Second World War 70 years afterwards. The University of Oxford also ran the @Arras95 account for one and a half months, covering the battle of Arras 95 years later (from 9th April to 16th May 1917/2012).

The first tweets from the @RealTimeWW1 account focused on the Balkan Wars (1912-1913), attempts by the peoples of Europe under the domination of the Ottoman Empire to emancipate themselves. These conflicts provoked the Balkan crisis of 1914 and are etched in history as the “prelude to the First World War”. After having covered the entire Great War, the account will stay live until 2018 to describe the first years of the post-war period.


Find out more

Masters in Modern European History: a historical perspective is of paramount importance for tomorrow’s professionals working in the political, academic and business worlds in being able to tackle future socio-political matters. The Masters in Modern European History allows the students to develop the necessary expertise to explore modern European issues. With its many links to European and cultural institutions as well as multi-national companies located in Luxembourg, this course of study offers an enriching and stimulating environment. The Masters aims to develop a first-rate course of study in European history by offering lectures based on critical appreciation and theoretical thinking. The programme is focused on questions and issues that make up European history, such as the process of European integration and construction in all its political and socio-economic aspects, social and cultural construction of identities, intra- and extra-European migration, as well as European relations with other regions of the world.

The programme of studies places particular emphasis on training experts in Digital Humanities and Public History, combining historical theory and its practical application.

http://h-europe.uni.lu/ | @940europe

About the University of Luxembourg

The University of Luxembourg, founded in 2003, is a multilingual, international research university with 6200 students and staff from all over the globe. Its research focuses on international finance, ICT security, systems biomedicine, European law, business law and educational sciences.

Contact for media: Associate Professor Benoît Majerus, benoit.majerus@uni.lu, T. + 352 46 66 44 6744

Every day another (hi)story

A battle in 140 signs. A whole peace negotiation put into two lines. History written in tweets. The interest in dates and facts of contemporary history is growing, going beyond academic circles. The Master students of European Contemporary History at the University of Luxembourg made it their business to go beyond – via social media. To present some curious historical facts. The cause: In only a few months, the beginning of World War I is exactly 100 years ago.

Inspired by Allwin Collinson’s project @RealtimeWWII, the students will offer a collection of World War I stories and facts on Twitter. The aim is to make history easy to assimilate with little means. What makes the “real time” projects especially fascinating is that events are posted on the exactly same date and, if possible, even time, if reproducible in source material.

This source material is of crucial importance: A lot of stories on World War I can be found in the extents of the world wide web. One of the students’ most important aims is to offer reliable source documents for every date they tweet. These sources are not necessarily governmental documents – though these are appearing as well. But besides official events, stories shall be told about the individual people being affected by the war, about soldiers and nurses, queens and prisoners. So their diaries, letters, poems, photographs are taken to tell another, less known side of the history of World War I.

Of course, it is impossible to cover the whole World War with this method. But the Master students try to enlighten several aspects of a historical context influencing the every day life in many personal stories. The different national backgrounds of the students made the consultation of a wide range of source documents possible, in many different languages – English, French, German, Luxembourgish, Spanish, Portuguese, Serbo-Croatian, Romanian, Greek, Italian.

To catch some interest for the project, @RealtimeWorldWar1 already started to tweet: 100 years ago, the Balkan region was shaped by several conflicts. So right now, some dates and facts about the Balkan Wars are released via the Twitter account. Students will work on the project until 2017/18 – they feed a database, add and edit tweets. With every tweet, a link to a source document is offered. Furthermore links lead to the Master’s own homepage where more information on certain personalities and events can be found. Thus, the students invite their visitors and followers to focus on the everyday’s life during World War I. The tweets are the tidbits that shall awaken an appetite to learn more about the historical context.

Such tidbits are, however, only little fragments of the whole. The limitative Twitter format does not allow widespread examination of a subject. On the one hand, the risk of decontextualisation and misinterpretation is significant. On the other hand, it prompts the students to find out what is the quintessence of a historical event. Thus, they can learn how to really focus on certain circumstances – and how to attract a reader’s interest in it while exploring the possibilities of a new tool.

Besides a row of other valuable projects on the World War I centenary, as the University of Oxord project “Europeana 1914-1918”, @RealtimeWorldWar1 tries to bring events of high historical importance back on the level which they had 100 years ago: the everyday’s life of the European people. Thus, a perspective is offered that brings the reader face-to-face with contemporary witness of the war period. World War I is one of the oldest periods we can reconstruct with the support and background of modern media as photographs and films. There are even some, though fewer and fewer, time witnesses left. This range of sources offers the opportunity to have an insight into more than a history of winners and losers. It opens the way to an understanding of the meaning of war for the most different people. The “World War I goes Twitter” project of the Luxembourgish Master students lets this meaning breath through short sentences. Thus, the events may gain importance for a wide range of today’s readers.

Conférences: Les Balkans occidentaux et l’Europe

Organized by: University of Luxembourg, Faculté des Lettres des Sciences Humaines, des Arts, et des Sciences de l’Education
Date and Place: 19.02.2013, Walferdange, University of Luxembourg, Building X, Room 2.34
Time: 16h00 – 18h00

Programme Chaire Jean Monnet en Histoire de l’intégration européenne et du Master en Histoire européenne contemporaine

“Cinq ans après l’indépendance, quelle souveraineté pour le Kosovo?”

Séminaire de Belgzim Kamberi

Le Bureau civil international (ICO), chargé de « superviser » l’indépendance, conformément au plan Ahtisaari, a fermé ses portes en septembre 2012, avec un bilan très mitigé et le Kosovo a théoriquement accédé à la « pleine souveraineté ». Dans le même temps, le mandat d’Eulex, la mission « technique » de l’Union européenne, est prolongée, tandis la Kfor fait venir de nouvelles troupes en renfort. La tension reste forte au Nord du Kosovo et les Serbes considèrent celui-ci comme déjà autonome, même si certains d’entre eux, timidement, commencent à se tourner vers les administrations kosovares. Cinq ans après sa déclaration d’indépendance unilatérale, quel est le  bilan d’une tutelle internationale qui a contribué à éloigner encore plus le Kosovo de l’État de droit et de la démocratie.

Belgzim Kamberi : journaliste, responsable des pages Albanie et Kosovo pour “Le Courrier des Balkans”, collaborateur de l’AFP, “Le Monde”, “El Mundo”, “New York Times”, “BBC”, “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”, “The Guardian”, “Arte”.

Les Balkans occidentaux et l’Europe

Projection: Les Balkans occidentaux et l’Europe

Organized by: University of Luxembourg, Faculté des Lettres des Sciences Humaines, des Arts, et des Sciences de l’Education
Date and Place: 21.02.2013, Luxembourg, Cinémathèque de la ville de Luxembourg
Time: 20h30 – 23h00

Programme Chaire Jean Monnet en Histoire de l’intégration européenne et du Master en Histoire européenne contemporaine

Projection du documentaire “Réunion”

Norvège, Kosovo (2011), vostang, 72’,  de Jon Haukeland

suivi d’un débat

Quelles perspectives pour le Kosovo?

animé par Belgzim Kamberi

“Réunion” Norvège, Kosovo (2011), vostang, 72′, de Jon Haukeland


In 1999 Serbian military forces and Albanian guerrillas were fighting in Kosovo. Serbs and Albanians lived separated lives. But when their country was on the brink of war, a group of students from Pristina decided to meet their opponents for the first time. Two weeks after the meeting NATO bombed and they all lost track of each other. Ten years later the participants meets again. The conflicts between them are now even stronger. When they watch the film of their last meeting in 1999, they are confronted with their previous self, but it also becomes obvious that the conflict is still, in many ways, the same. Only now the tables are turned.

Les Balkans occidentaux et l’Europe

Présentation: House of European History

Organized by: University of Luxembourg, Faculté des Lettres des Sciences Humaines, des Arts, et des Sciences de l’Education
Date and Place: 17.12.2012, Walferdange, University of Luxembourg, Building X, Room 0.33
Time: 11h45 – 13h15

Présentation du projet House of European History par les représentants Taja Vovk-Van Gaal et Christine Dupont, dans le cadre du cours Narrating Europe, organisé par Benoit Majerus.

Fonction des représentants du projet:

Recruitment for the post of “Associate Professor/Professor in Digital History”

Organized by: University of Luxembourg, Faculté des Lettres des Sciences Humaines, des Arts, et des Sciences de l’Education
Date and Place: 19.12.2012, Walferdange, University of Luxembourg, Building VI, Room 111
Time: 09h35 – 11h50


09h35 10h05
Dr. Malte REBHEIN “Scientific Visualization and the Study of History”
10h10 10h40 Dr. Frédéric CLAVERT “Reading the historian’s sources in the digital age”
10h45 11h15 Dr. Andreas FICKERS “Original or authentic? The challenge of transmedia storytelling in digital history”
11h20 11h50 Dr. Thomas GROTUM “Digital Archives: The Future of Digital History?”

Conference Eurochange: European responses to economic and social changes from the 1970s to the new millennium

Organized by: René Leboutte (Jean Monnet Chair in European Integration History, University of Luxembourg) / Paolo Tedeschi (Università Milano-Bicocca) with the collaboration of the CVCE (Centre Virtuel de la Connaissance sur l’Europe)
Date and place: 04.12.2012-05.12.2012, Walferdange, University of Luxembourg, IPSE, Building X, Room 0.34

Tuesday December 4 (14:00-17:30) R. Leboutte / Elena Danescu / Paolo Tedeschi

Research Seminar

  • Dr Elena Danescu (Centre Virtuel de la Connaissance sur l’Europe)

Le Rapport du Groupe Werner et la crise monétaire des années 1970

  • Paolo Tedeschi

La PAC face à la crise monétaire des années 1970 : monnaie verte et montants compensatoires

  • Thierry Grosbois

La crise de l’EURO

Wednesday December 5 (09:00-13:00) EUROCHANGE. Social and Economic Change  in the European Community from the 1970s to the New Millennium

  • René Leboutte

European Steel Industry Crisis (1973-1990).

  • Giulio Mellinato (Department of Economics – Faculty of Economics Milano-Bicocca University)

The Feeble Response. European Institutions and Shipbuilding Crisis (1958-1979)

  • Enzo Dia (Department of Economics – Faculty of Economics Milano-Bicocca University )

When the crisis hits: The evolution of monetary policy and liquidity provision in the European Union.

  • Paolo Tedeschi (Department of Economics – Faculty of Economics Milano-Bicocca University)

The European Investment Bank between the end of the Gold Exchange Standard and the birth of the ECU

Konferenz: Zwischen Verehrung und Verachtung? Der Transfer der Kulturmorphologie Oswald Spenglers ins Europa der Zwischenkriegszeit (1919-1939)

Veranstalter: Leibniz-Institut für Europäische Geschichte, Mainz
Datum, Ort: 20.06.2012-21.06.2012, Mainz, Alte Universitätsstraße 19, Konferenzraum, 1. OG

Kaum ein anderer deutscher Intellektueller der ersten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts ist in der unmittelbaren Nachkriegszeit so intensiv zitiert, besprochen und kritisiert worden wie der deutsche Kultur- und Geschichtsphilosoph Oswald Spengler (1880-1936). Seine monumentale Kulturmorphologie zum Untergang des Abendlandes wurde ebenso verehrt wie verachtet.

Das Ziel der Tagung ist es, die bisherigen Untersuchungen zur Rezeption Spenglers in >Westeuropa< zu vervollständigen und zugleich auf den mittelosteuropäischen bzw. südosteuropäischen Raum auszuweiten. Wurde Spenglers Kulturmorphologie >ein zu eins< transferiert? Oder kam es zu einer Reihe von Umdeutungen bei der Begegnung des >Eigenen< mit dem >Fremden<?