17th Annual Report
You may download the report here.
You have before you one more, our seventeenth annual report on our activities in the period September 2013 – September 2014.
Looking back at the past year and global developments, it seems the world has become an even more dangerous place to live than it was twelve months ago. Intensified conflicts and military interventions, both in the Middle East and in Europe, events that are no doubt of concern to us, create the reality we live and work in since we feel their aftershocks in the places where we work. To avoid falling into pessimism and apathy, we in the CNA team feel the need to do what we can, hoping that we can make at least small steps forward. That is why we are particularly glad that apart from the Basic Training in Peacebuilding held in October 2013, this report also includes a presentation of our Training for Trainers, a peace education programme that we have re-launched after an almost ten-year-long hiatus and that took up a significant portion of our capacities in 2014. It comprises everything we consider important for achieving a society of sustainable peace – critical thinking, taking responsibility for society and the community, encouraging a re-examination of own attitudes and acceptance of diversity. Also, working on peacebuilding for many years, and encountering opposing narratives about wars, we wanted to create a space for a joint analysis of the dominant culture of memory in this region and the impact of dominant policies on peace work. This was discussed at our exchange seminar “How to Reconcile Histories?” that brought together participants from BiH, Croatia, and Serbia involved in peace and civic activism, history, art and the media. This year also saw the publication of the English translation of our handbook Reconciliation?! Training Handbook for Dealing with the Past whose reception exceeded our expectations. This encourages us to persevere in our activities whose results are often not directly visible, but that we know are indispensable. This is also apparent from the peace actions of war-veterans now involved in processes of establishing dialogue, building peace and trust. This year we present the visits of our mixed groups of war-veterans to memorial sites, as well as their attendance of commemorations and events to mark important dates from the recent past of significance to the communities in which we work. We also joined the Mandela Dialogues where we had an opportunity to learn about memory-related experiences in contexts different from ours, although the issues we face are often shared. All of this will be described in more detail in the report.
Our work on documenting places of suffering and memorial sites, as well as modes of memorialisation in Bosnia and Herzegovina following the war(s) of 1992-1995 is almost complete. The scope of the study, as well as practical limitations when it comes to acquiring official data on memorialisation practices in BiH have somewhat disrupted our plans, so that the publication documenting the basic traits and processes that characterise how our communities remember their immediate past will be published next year. Currently under way is a research study on the fate of ethnic Germans from the Danube region in the aftermath of the Second World War in Serbia. Namely, traces of ethnic Germans in the Danube region are first suddenly, then gradually ebbing away, as is unfortunately the case even today with other ethnic groups in other areas throughout war-torn regions where “traces” of those who were only yesterday our neighbours start to fade. That is precisely why it is important to mark and ‘record’ what remains but is no longer noticeable, what is gone and what legacy it left behind: not just buildings, monuments, but also sites of suffering, concentration camps and mass graves. Our long-term friend and colleague Helena Rill joins us for this study, a welcome development for all of us.
In anticipation of what is yet to come, we ask you to look at what marked this past year for us. As usual, we look forward to your feedback, reactions, criticism, but also your support, all of which we find useful.