Future needs memories: Ukrainian dialogue on history and memories. Project summary
For more than 20 years, the German women's peacebuilding organization OWEN e.V. has been dealing with dialogues between Western and Eastern Europe. We discovered that different views and perspectives on historical events hinder a proper dialogue between people from different parts of Europe. Over the previous 10 years, OWEN e.V. has focused mainly on the Caucasus. Our experience suggests that historical memories can serve to both exacerbate conflicts and promote reconciliation.
The OWEN e.V. team has been monitoring the armed conflict in Ukraine in dismay with a heavy heart, and in 2015 we decided to offer our background and experience in the Caucasian countries to the peacekeepers in Ukraine. Together with our partner organizations, Foundations for Freedom INGO and Podillia-Socium Centre NGO, we have implemented a joint project named "Future needs memories: Ukrainian dialogue on history and memories".
Project organizers aimed at developing critical thinking about the historical events and skills of communicating about the past, as well as promoting dialogue between different communities in Ukraine.
In the framework of the the project, Lviv and Vinnytsia hosted two 'Different Memories – Common Future!' workshops in September and October 2015. Participants of the workshops from different cities and towns learned techniques for dialogue on history and memories based on the experience of the German organization OWEN e.V. – Mobile Academy for Gender Democracy and Peace Development.
Participants of the workshops dealt with public presentation of history, personal and family memories. We have explored different perceptions of history, while participants got acquainted with the methodology of dialogues on history and memories.
As recently as October and November, the participants of the workshops got the chance to implement gained experience and knowledge by carrying out their own projects. Altogether, 13 micro-projects have been implemented, including dialogue meetings between IDPs and local residents, thematic city tours, surveys, workshops for teachers, dialogue meeting concerning renaming streets, and intergenerational dialogues.
In December, coordinators of micro-projects presented their initiatives at the final meeting in Vinnytsia.
Unconscious sharing of these stories is a problem №1 in Ukraine. ATO leads to misunderstandings within families... However, we definitely need to talk about it all! - - a participant from Vinnytsia.
I have learned many new methods for dealing with conflict cases. - a participant from Lviv.
I have realized that memories also imply personal responsibility. - a participant from Vinnytsia.
We lack interpersonal exchanges. We need no more books, but we do need dialogue, especially the intergenerational one. - a participant from Vinnytsia.
This short video shows the importance and types of dialogue on history. Also, our project participants reflect on the experience gained during the implementation of their dialogue initiatives.
Read more about the project here.
The project was implemented from June till December 2015 by OWEN e.V. in partnership with Centre Podillia-Socium NGO, Foundations for Freedom INGO, Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations, with funding from the Federal Foreign Office (Germany).
OWEN e.V. – Mobile Academy for Gender Democracy and Peace Development
Translation by Halyna Stasevych