The project aims to develop a new set of ‘model curricula’ covering the thematic ﬁeld of the Caucasus and Byzantium from Late Antiquity through the Middle Ages, applicable not only to certain specialized institutions in the participating countries or CEU, but to a wide range of western institutions currently offering courses in medieval and/or Byzantine history and interested in expanding their areas of teaching.
This aim is best achieved by building an international network, including key institutions in the southern Caucasus region – which have the potential and desire for engagement –, CEU, Turkish and western universities; bringing together representatives of the national academic systems in the south-western Caucasus will help exploit the academic resources available in the region to the fullest.
In terms of activities, the project started with an initial exploratory workshop bringing together in Budapest faculty from Caucasian institutions targeted for the program with faculty from CEU's Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies as well as with main representatives of international Caucasian Studies, in order to identify the further needs and priorities of the partner programmes in implementing the project objectives, and the best ways of meeting them according to schedule (November 26–28, 2010).
The project subsequently organized one three-day workshop per academic year rotating from CEU through Georgia, Armenia and Turkey (ultimately returning to CEU for the concluding workshop in November 2014), with support for logistics from the National Centre of Manuscripts, Tbilisi, Georgia, the Mesrop Mashtots Matenadaran (Institute of Ancient Manuscripts), Yerevan, Armenia, and Koç University’s RCAC. These regional workshops provided an opportunity for the participants to visit each others’ facilities and offer their expertise to each other, while organically involving CEU, Turkish and western scholars in the work of developing higher education in – as well as on – the Caucasus. Each workshop was dedicated to produce one set of thematically related yet highly interdisciplinary, multi-media syllabi/curricula, to review the provisional work previously achieved, and to discuss and prepare the collection of the material support (images etc.) necessary to accomplish the syllabi.
In the intervening periods, exchange of faculty and doctoral students – also involved in teaching – and intensive source language instruction took place both in the Caucasus and in Budapest.
- To develop a set of thematically related highly interdisciplinary, multi-media syllabi and curricula on Byzantium and the Caucasus at MA and PhD levels; (a) to implement these at participating institutions and (b) to make them available to higher education institutions worldwide as a ‘model’ to help implement courses on such topics; therefore, it is mandatory that each syllabus/curriculum be accompanied by a set of multi-media teaching support material (‘sourcebook’), which shall be published in print and on the internet in order to facilitate maximum dissemination;
- to assist faculty in participating institutions in developing the ability to teach the syllabi and curricula devised over the duration of the project, including linguistic skills, and draw on and proﬁt from each other’s ﬁelds of expertise;
- to involve a group of international advisers from different continents and different higher education institutions in order to guarantee that the syllabi and curricula devised over the duration of the project meets international standards of the highest quality;
- to increase the mobility of doctoral students enrolled with participating institutions in order to help them create academic networks already at an early stage of their careers in research and teaching; simultaneously, to give qualiﬁed PhD students the chance of gaining valuable, independent teaching experience; in this context, to improve, wherever possible, the quality of PhD supervision through faculty exchange and capacity building, joint supervision and the development of joint evaluation procedures;
- to improve access to and availability of scholarly resources, especially libraries, in participating institutions for the purposes of both teaching and research;
- under the auspices of the Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies and the Department of Medieval Studies, to create an international hub of excellence of teaching and researching Byzantino-Caucasian subjects, latissimo sensu, at CEU; this would be one of the very few such centres in the world.
Co-directors: N. Gaul, I. Perczel