Regional peacebuilding conference explores past burdens, future visions


Beatrix Austin and Andrea Zemskov-Zuege from the Berghof Foundation gave inputs from an international perspective at the Sarajevo conference “The politics of building peace in the region: Burdens of the past, visions for the future”. Beatrix spoke on “External actors: Breaking or sustaining cultures of victimhood in peacebuilding”. Andrea offered lessons from her work in the Caucasus in “Which past? Whose justice? Towards a broader approach to history and memory in conflict”. Their inputs, as well as meetings with partners new and old, also will feed into developing new project ideas on dealing with the past in areas of strategic interest to the Berghof Foundation.

Peacebuilding and Dealing with the Past are ongoing issues of concern in the region of the Western Balkans, also more than 20 years after the peace agreement of Dayton was signed. From 19 to 22 October 2017 around 200 participants, mostly from the region interspersed with some international experts, convened in Sarajevo for the conference, which was jointly organized by the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Sarajevo, forumZFD Bosnia and Herzegovina and the German Southeast Europe Association. It tackled, from a multitude of perspectives, the themes “Ethno-national interpretations of Bosnia and Herzegovina”, “Building peace in contemporary Bosnia and Herzegovina: Challenges and Lessons learned”, “The role of external actors in the peacebuilding process in the region”, “Transitional Justice and culture of remembrance”, “Civil society and peacebuilding”, “The future of peacebuilding in the region”. Keynote addresses on the moral foundations of peacebuilding and the absence of change-inducing events in the post-Dayton period complemented the programme, as did two panels presenting current PhD research.

For more information on the conference “The Politics of Building Peace in the Region: Burdens of the Past, Visions for the Future”, see:

University of Sarajevo, Faculty of Political Science >

ForumZFD, Western Balkans >

More on the work of Berghof Foundation in the area Dealing with the Past >