The project’s relevance is determined by the vital role the memory politics holds in the general EU information safety agenda by preserving and protecting historical memory from manipulative propaganda technologies (i.e. historical negationism, artificial informational vacuum and fakes) widely applied during modern “memory wars” fed by ongoing political confrontations. The role of historical remembrance in peacebuilding process as stated in the Declaration on European Identity, CULT Committee suggestions to the new Europe for Citizens program, European Parliament’s Resolution on Remembrance of the Holocaust, Anti- Semitism and Racism, the Council of Europe Resolution 1481, the Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism, the European Parliament’s Resolution of 2 April 2009 on European Conscience and Totalitarianism and other fundamental EU documents needs to be clearly articulated in Ukrainian national memory politics. The challenges historians, journalists, cultural managers, writers, teachers and public officials communicating historical trauma-related messages to the wide audience face when balancing the general principles of scientific objectivity, fact-based narrative, political correctness and tolerance with the demands of the current political agenda have acquired specific visibility under the ongoing military conflict in the South-Eastern Ukraine largely reflecting the pro-European vs post-Communist clash of values, senses, meanings and visions of history. The military confrontation has brought to light such obvious performance gaps in managing Ukrainian memory politics, as a) the lack of strategic vision in planning (memory politics manifestations being sporadic and mostly timed to a certain, largely controversial, selection of commemorative dates); b) denying European democratic memory culture practices (i.e. historical narrative diversification) in favour of a single canonized official metanarrative; c) lack of the proper “work of sorrow” over transgenerational and the newly-acquired historical traumas, positioning victimhood as a core of national identity, thus encouraging historical guilt transfer (largely influencing the existing foreign policy activities) and “the historical enemy” demonization; d) violating the general principles of historical objectivity in favor of politically-charged or biased interpretations leading to continuous mythmaking around historical figures or events. As a result, the Ukrainian society remains largely split over its attitudes to historical past and, consequently, to current identity, values and the visions of the future, that, in its turn, keeps hampering the European integration processes, as well as peacemaking initiatives in the regions (Rating Group Ukraine social surveys, 2017-2018; Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation’s survey, 2018; Kyiv International Institute of Sociology survey, 2019).
The project, therefore, is strategically aimed at building up balanced, effective and diverse national memory politics based on the best European peacemaking and peacebuilding practices in the field of treating transgenerational historical trauma and reaching social compromise over history, memory and identity through societal healing, politics of remembrance and forgiveness delivered to wide audience via various media (educational and cultural institutions, opinion journalism, fiction, cultural events, official discourses etc.).
The project’s tactical goal is to equip the new generations of historians, journalists, sociologists, cultural managers, public officials and teachers of Humanities and Social Sciences with the professionally relevant set of knowledge and skills for effectively communicating the historical trauma-relevant and conflict-sensitive messages to various types of audience, thus contributing to peacebuilding in the Ukrainian society, with specific attention paid to historical objectivity, fact checking, hate speech prevention and confronting manipulative technologies.
The project’s tasks comprise 1) designing an innovative, interactive multidisciplinary course European Memory Politics for Peacemaking establishing a holistic vision of European memory politics as a peacemaking tool reaching out to wide audience through various discourses (historical research, official messages, commemorative practices, cultural products and events, journalism and fiction); teaching the course to Bachelor students majoring in History, Sociology, Journalism and Philology; 2) introducing practicing specialists (secondary school teachers of Humanities and Social Sciences, public officials, journalists and cultural managers) to the general principles of peacemaking through memory politics based on best European practices in the field through target-focused practical trainings and workshops; 3) improving national memory politics with regard to European standards.
The results of the project would comprise: 1) the course “European Memory Politics for Peacemaking” designed, accredited and taught to 140 Bachelor students, with its distant education version and all the course materials (didactic materials, learning tools, guidelines for teachers, source databases and a coursebook) available online; 2) 2 tailor-made trainings and workshops for practicing specialists (60 in total), with all the training materials available online; 3) 1 policy paper on bridging the performance gaps in Ukrainian memory politics with the help of best European practices in the field, disseminated in print and online, with a set of easily comprehendible infographics to be used for teaching and informational purposes; 4) 1 research paper based on social surveys to be conducted within the project’s framework and published in peer reviewed journals; 5) a series of diverse promotional (1 project presentation, annual course presentations etc.) and dissemination events (1 round table debates, 1 webinar, 1 final conference) reaching out to various types of audience.
The sustainability of the project’s results would be granted through introducing the course as an obligatory subject for Bachelor students majoring in Humanities and Social Sciences and as an optional subject for the rest of the students. The course would serve as an integral part of the university’s EU Studies development program through a productive synergy with JMM EUVOLIA and E+ KA2 CBHE DESTIN projects, as well as with such disciplines as “European Civilization and Its Values” and “Comparative Analysis of European Communities”.