16-18 December 2014 – CDRSEE Executive Director Zvezdana Kovac took part in an important international conference in Berlin on European Commemoration, sponsored by the German Federal Foreign Office, which focused on remembrance in societies.
The commemoratory conference recognized the Centenary of the First World War, and through that considered three central questions – the significance and aims of remembrance in societies, the major dividing lines in European memories, and strategies to support a joint dialogue on remembrance and European identity.
The overall theme was well expressed by Dr. Gunnar Dedio, producer of the documentary drama “14 – Diaries of the Great War”, a multinational production using pictorial material from 21 countries, presented via diaries and personal accounts from many individual perspectives. Dr. Dedio called for an effort to make a non-national way of looking at history the normal way of looking at history.
Prominent university history professors and representatives of many civil society organisations took part. The opening speech was given by Prof. Alan Kramer of Trinity College Dublin, University of Dublin, Ireland. Ambassador Andreas Meitzner, Germany’s Special Representative for the Events Commemorating the Start of World War I, and Ronald Grätz, Secretary General of the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (IFA), also spoke to participants.
The participants, including the CDRSEE, played a major role in the impact of the conference. As the German Federal Foreign Office said in its justification of the project, the particular background and experience of each participant indeed helped shape the understanding of the multitude of perspectives on the memory of the European war. The conference was a testament to the importance of taking an interdisciplinary approach to history, culture and politics.