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Teen Flying University / Latający Uniwersytet Młodzieży

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Landecker Democracy Fellow Tomasz Cebulski founded a research and historical interpretation center, POLIN TRAVEL and video documentation center SKY HERITAGE PICTURES. He is a political studies scholar, experienced genealogist and licensed tour leader in Poland and Central Europe.

His project is a “Teen Flying University” ( or “Latający Uniwersytet Młodzieży” in Polish). It will teach history, based on local sites of memory to help build a global future. 

The idea is simple, since Tomasz believes that there is an educational potential in simplicity. His project will focus on mending the world from the bottom up. Four cities will be picked in south-eastern Poland, the traditional conservative voting block, where some areas have recently implemented socially excluding legislations. Tomasz, with the help of local teachers, politicians, scouts and church groups, will create learning modules for groups of up to twenty students between the ages of 14 to 18. All the participating cities have a rich history of multi-ethnicity and forgotten or neglected historical sites. 

The program will be an incredible opportunity to use local history and heritage sites for teaching and developing passion for history as a science.

The current cities that are confirmed for the program are Czarny Dunajec, and Kraśnik. In the case of Jordanów and Nowy Targ work is under way to form a group of 20 students.  Ultimately, the project will aim to take care of local cemeteries, shrines, churches, and synagogues. However, before taking over maintenance, the local history of the area will be studied and explored. There will be historical interviews conducted with the local population, with the intention of creating online content describing the community’s history and diversity. 

The project will begin with lectures, either online or in person, about the basics of historical research and general information on Judaism, Roma, and Greek Orthodox culture. The package of lectures will also include the basics of photography, editing, and responsible usage of social media. For most of these students, this will be their first time being exposed to other cultures and religions. The program will be an opportunity to use local history and heritage sites for teaching and developing passion for history as a science. To reframe, protect and refurbish the local and often forgotten sites of memory providing those with more contemporary visual and textual narrative.  It will provide a framework for promoting values of dialogue, tolerance, and diversity.