Dealing with the Past in the Western Balkans

In the Western Balkans, we aim for a more inclusive “culture of remembrance” in order to achieve a peaceful future in the region. Our approach to Dealing with the Past is the individual, societal, and political recognition and acceptance of the responsibility for injustice and violence. These are central prerequisites for re-establishing trust, security, and willingness for dialogue and cooperation.

We are striving to

  • Create a culture of remembrance that promotes peace by encouraging model alternatives to the official politics of memory, nationalist narratives and glorification of war and by transforming victim identities and militarised images of masculinity and gender roles in a way that has an effect not only in protected spaces, but also in a public (visible) manner;
  • Strengthen the work of civil society organisations in the Western Balkans, promote regional cooperation, and at the same time encourage connections between initiatives at the grass-roots and the middle-levels of society;
  • Build trust and cooperative relationships with actors who, as those directly affected, are central to Dealing with the Past sustainably.

Each of our programme offices are involved in projects with partners for Dealing with the Past in a variety of ways. These include supporting dialogue and reconciliation processes regardless of ethnic, religious, or social backgrounds, such as facilitating inclusive meetings with formerly violent conflicting parties to address issues such as missing persons or participating in discussions and formal processes for establishing mechanisms of transitional justice. Other projects focus on overcoming ethnic segregation in society and the educational system, for example through non-violent conflict management and mediation projects in schools and with youth groups. We also work with partners on promoting multi-ethnic dialogues and contributing to public debates on Dealing with the Past in a constructive manner as a means for overcoming hate and violence. In all of these projects and activities, we aim to support the development of sustainable structures for promoting tolerance and peace.