On May 23-27, 2022, the first meeting of the Platform for Dialogue Between Historians was organized by the European Union and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Berat, Albania.
The facilitator of the meeting was Jeremy Smith, an associate professor at Zayed University, who taught Russian history in the UK for 11 years at the University of Birmingham and 10 years at the University of Eastern Finland. He is also the author of numerous books on the Soviet past, including the Soviet past of Georgia.
Representatives from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova and Georgia, mainly academia, NGOs and various institutions that study history and related fields attended the meeting.
Topics discussed on meeting included the role of the historian as a medium between society and government during the transitional justice period and in countries with a traumatic recent past. Participants discussed international projects and researches that aim to understand past in the regional and international context. Representatives from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia spoke about revision of history textbooks in there and neighboring countries and the issue that there is no common agreement around this topic in these countries.
Anton Vatcharadze delivered a speech at the meeting - "Archival openness in the former Soviet republics and the countries of the Eastern bloc." He discussed the problems that historians face with limited access to archives. He also discussed the good examples of Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic countries, and the ways in which the authorities should show the public the importance of open archives. After the meeting, a discussion was held on this issue, to which several participants responded with interesting opinions.
For future additional meeting and continuation of regional dialogue is planned between historians.
The visit was carried out with the support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida.
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