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Remember For The Future:
The Role of Youth and Adult Education in Working with the Past and Reconciliation Processes

Dates: and

Venue: Gustav Stresemann Institute Bonn, Germany

Why this conference?

Many countries in the world are still going through, have gone through and will go through periods of social upheavals which involve a collective confrontation with past painful events. Remembering, repressing, forgetting, forgiving, denying, living together in multicultural and multi-religious societies, sustaining a peaceful future after conflicts are concerns not only of politicians, civil activists and historians but for many ordinary people who hold in their memories their own hurtful experiences or those of their parents, families and/or communities.

What is the role of youth and adult education in these processes? Can youth and adult education make a difference? Can it help to process the past and bring a peaceful future?

Is it possible to change past wrongs through dealing with history or is forgetting the better option? What are the ways, methods and approaches which work for a meaningful and sustainable reconciliation based on mutual respect?

Confronting history and handling the recent past is one youth and adult education focus - an issue and a getting importance skill - that raised our attention in several regions where dvv international implements its broader activities: South Eastern Europe, Russia, Armenia and Turkey, Caucasus, Central Asia and since recently in Cambodia. Hence, being already a well-known part of the overall educational discourse, practitioners in these regions work on systematising how much youth and adult education methodology can contribute to the processing of nation and identity building; democratization processes; processing memories; suppressing memories; memory/post-memory work; reflecting the past, present and future; biographical work/eye-witnesses work; getting into terms with the past, reconciliation work and how to handle blame, denial, etc. Thus, at one side the conference would like to raise the vast variety of issues/topics in this field and from the other - to offer tools on how to deal with these issues?

During the last years through its activities the history network of dvv international is growing bigger and bigger and the involvement also of official actors in the host countries and regions is becoming more intensive. This in respect demands from the network also more responsibility and efficiency. Therefore it is of absolute importance to be able to systematise and discuss what is already achieved and evaluate and compile that knowledge and experience for the next generations of various practitioners to come.

Especially when dealing with reconciliation the role of the young people is of crucial importance, young adults are much more anxious to confront history, to overcome the traumas and to contribute for the rapprochement processes across national borders. In this respect, a special focus on intergenerational dialogue will be paid, also having in mind that 2012 is European Year for Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity.

Target groups

There are several main target groups for this conference:

  • History and reconciliation experts, researchers, professors from conflict regions and the international community that will bring and exchange their knowledge and experience. Generally, university partners and the ones coming from the civil society.
  • Possible future partner institutions and organisations
  • The worldwide network of adult educators working in the field of history, biography and reconciliation that is spread all over the world and also their partners in the adult education field;
  • The history network of dvv international and their partner coming from various countries and regions to serve as multipliers of their experience and to strengthen the network though dialogue and exchange;
  • Youth workers.


Through this conference and its workshops we would like:

  • to share/exchange our lessons learnt and to create space for elaborating them in working practices for practitioners from different spheres;
  • to empower individuals and personalities working in the history field through offering them tools and approaches to support them while interacting with their target group;
  • to reach a meta-level of understanding the processing of the past through bringing experts from various disciplines from history, anthropology and ethnography and even medicine and psychology;
  • to search jointly the answers of questions: What to remember? What to forget? Whom to forget? Why is this so much important? And what is my role in it?
  • To initiate new project ideas, new operations and partnerships.


The conference will serve as an open forum for exchange, so we would like to offer the following formats:

  • Plenary session with key note speakers;
  • Thematic workshops on various issues like: memory and post-memory, identity building, biographical methods, etc.
  • Practical workshops on suggesting various approaches, methods and techniques that work in the history adult education field;
  • Site visits to have a real practical experience;
  • Film screening and discussions.


We envision a book to be published in advance that will serve as a background material including papers from prominent experts in the field who will participate later in the conference, thus, suggesting further reading, as well our rich experience in the field.

Contact to conference team

Matthias Klingenberg, Vanya Ivanova and Yasmin Fernandez at