Traditional seminar for Tolerance Education Centre communities in Ariogala

On 2 – 3 August, the seminar “Local History, Its Use In The Educational Process. Getting To Know The Events Of 20th-Century History In Švėkšna, Tauragė, Raseiniai And Kelmė Districts”.


This traditional summer seminar is designed for teacher communities working in the Tolerance Education Centres. The annual seminar aims to learn about historical events that took place in the 20th century in various places in Lithuania: towns and townships.

Each year the seminar starts in Ariogala, at the Tolerance Education Centre in Ariogala Gymnasium. This year, from Ariogala, we went to Švėkšna, where our guide Monika Žąsytienė introduced us to the history of the town and its unique cultural sites. The history of the baroque Villa Genowefa (Švėkšna Manor) with its park, the traces of the rich past, and the traces of a large Jewish community with its renovated synagogue.

After the visit to Švėkšna, we went to the Tauragė Regional Museum “Santaka”, where the teachers’ community got acquainted not only with the history of the border town and the historical events in Tauragė but also learned about the educational activities organized by the museum staff for students of different ages.

On the second day of the seminar, the teachers, guided by Arnas Zmitra, continued their acquaintance with the districts of Raseiniai and Kelme: they were introduced to the history of the town of Šiluva, which is famous for the apparition of the Virgin Mary, and interesting for the visiting guests for the personalities who lived there. Participants saw the legendary chair of director Eimantas Nekrošius, which stands in John Paul II Square as a reminder of his work. A memorial stone commemorates a large Jewish community of Šiluva on the site where the synagogue once stood.

From Šiluva, the educators travelled to the Kelme Manor, where the history of Kelme began. After getting acquainted with the museum’s rich and interactive exposition, the teachers visited the Lithuanian Partisans Memorial in Kryžkalnis. Our guide Arnas Zmitra pointed out that next year an information center will be built next to the memorial, which will provide detailed information about the partisan war in Lithuania.

From Kryžkalnis, the participants went to Nemakščiai, which welcomed the group with flowers and flags, as Nemakščiai is the Small Capital of Culture in 2022. After being to the town center, learning about the unique history of the local church, and visiting the Octopus Museum, the teachers returned to Ariogala Gymnasium to discuss the seminar.

According to Arvydas Stankus, head of the gymnasium: “Every seminar and each trip brings a lot of knowledge and information that we later use in our pedagogical work. So the historical and cultural places in the neighbourhood revealed that each of them can tell its own story – all we need to do is make the place talk.”

27 teachers and education staff took part in the annual event. The seminar was organized by the Secretariat of the International Commission together with the Tolerance Education Centre of Ariogala Gymnasium.