During the last few years PAX has focused on memorialization and shared narratives in the Western Balkans (Kosovo, Serbia, BiH and Croatia). Inclusive Memory Initiatives are increasingly important for the Western Balkans, as they directly challenge the dominant ethno-nationalist narratives that the political elites continue to promote. PAX supported a number of such inclusive memory initiatives. Specific attention has been given to identify which inclusive memory initiatives exist in the different countries, how they overlap, how they cooperate and what pitfalls they experience.
A report titled: Mapping Inclusive Memory Initiatives in the Western Balkans was written upon the basis of interviews with local stakeholders, targeted research and our own experiences. Several meetings were organized with partners, embassies and other international stakeholders and donors to discuss the report, and concrete follow up steps. It can connect initiatives and organizations, open up discussion and help improve lobby on the importance of inclusive memorialization in the international arena (especially Brussels). We work together with local NGO’s (e.g. Youth Initiative for Human Rights network), woman groups, local governments, universities and victims organizations, while in the coming years we would also like to include veterans as a specific group because they are an important actor in discussions on commemorations and historical narratives.
Read also the interview on emerging-europe.com with Simone Remijnse, one of the autors of the report: Politics of memory and memorialisation: Is there an inclusive way forward for the Western Balkans?
'The Past Continues' initiative offers more than 100 young people from the Western Balkans an opportunity to reflect on their parents’ war, waged during the nineties. In ethnically mixed groups they will do research, they will pay field visits and interview people involved in the events back then. PAX is a partner in this program, and will assist as resource organisation and in the organisation of some of the field visits. This program is part of PAX Regional Dealing with the Past Program for the Western Balkans. Read a blogpost about the initiative. More about the Past Continues project.
During the Yugoslav wars, many cultural spaces and buildings became their antipodes - they became spaces and buildings of torture. This project aims to encourage people to become aware of these cultural spaces, and to enter into dialogue with others. A photobook on such cultural spaces in Kosovo, BiH and Croatia, was published, together with a photo exhibition, which encourage viewers and readers to reflect on the relationship between national culture and social conflict.