Do you think the differences in viewing the past are inescapable? Do you want to find out more and learn new perspectives of what has happened to us? Do you think there are myths that need to be disclosed? Do you think there are facts around which we can all agree? Do you want to give yourself and others a better future?
There are many different formal and informal versions of the history of the wars of the 1990s on the territory of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia. These wars left us in the legacy of the interrupted and destroyed links of once affiliated societies. Our politicians have not learned the lessons from the tragedy of these conflicts yet their manipulating of the past produces new intolerance, hatred and insecurity for young people and for the upcoming generations.
Mutual intolerance and hostility in the relations of neighboring states and societies is the greatest obstacle specifically for young people who want to travel, collaborate and socialize with their peers regardless of their citizenship, where they are born, the language they speak… Also, due to the lack of constructive investment in relationships the region and the problems that come out of it, young people will have the most damage. At the same time, different views of history are causing problems within our societies where students are divided inside the schools, precisely because of the avoidance of dialogue. This intolerance only builds up and the differences deepen.
Therefore, we carry out this project with the conviction that a stable and peaceful future based on mutual understanding and general respect for civilizational values such as the rule of law is our responsibility that we are prepared to take.
The ‘Past continues’ initiative offers you the opportunity to make a generational step forward and, together with young people from the region, take part in creating a new look at the past that has separated us so far. This program puts you in the position of co-author of the “Shared Narratives” publication and gives you the opportunity to learn through study visits to places in the region, getting to know new people and to discuss with contemporary witnesses as well as prominent regional and world experts on history, dialogue and justice.
Join the team of more than 100 young people from five countries who will jointly critically observe existing myths and jointly send a strong message to politicians that dialogue and co-operation are possible.
Bring Yout Own History seminar and trainings
The project will begin by gathering 120 young people from Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Kosovo on a regional seminar titled “Bring Your Own History” on which everyone will “bring” their own knowledge and perspectives on events from the recent past gained through society, the family and the context in which they live. The aim of the seminar is for the participants to present some dominant narratives and gain new knowledge and experience through lectures on historical dialogue in order to critically consider its context and perspective, as well as the perspectives of others.
Working seminar and study visits
At the end of the first seminar participants will be divided into several study groups and subgroups depending on their own interests and for the each will be held a special seminar to further elaborate upcoming work. Through the organized study tours throughout the project groups will also visit sites of crimes and human rights violations in order to discuss and investigate.
Working on the shared narratives
Participants will then work on narratives on controversial issues from the recent past around which our societies are deeply divided. Participants will be encouraged to rely as much as possible on the established facts and relevant documents in the paper, and experts will provide them with guidance and openness for discussions and all issues related to themes. It is quite possible that not all participants will agree on certain narratives or their parts. And that’s fine. No one will be compelled to stand behind something they disagree with and in which is not convinced. Therefore, it is possible for some events to have more narratives.
Promotion of the results
The whole process of meeting, dialogue and study work will be documented, and the ultimate result of youth work – “Shared Narratives” – will be publicly announced and promoted in all countries in the region.
The project will last until March 4th 2019.
We invite young people between the ages of 18 and 23 who are interested in participating in the ‘History continues’ initiative, regardless of whether they are students or what they are studying, to apply by sending a resume and motivation letter (up to 300 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for applications is 14.3.2018. If you are received, you should plan to participate in the entire project process, starting with the Bring Your Own History conference, which will be held in Belgrade from March 28-31 2018. All project participation costs will be covered by the organizer.
This project was developed through the fellowship program Alliance for Historical Dialogue and Accountability of the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at the University of Columbia in New York, USA, and is implemented by the Regional Network of Youth Initiative for Human Rights in collaboration with PAX for Peace from the Netherlands with support by the Robert Bosch Foundation from Germany and the European Commission.