The project is inspired by the slogan ‘Never again’ that in Europe became apparent through the peace-promoting posters at the end of the WWI only to be obliterated two decades later by the start of WWII. However, while an unknown number of victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre is not yet buried, and the number of refugees coming to Europe since 2015 is increasing (including survivors of Mosul in Iraq, Aleppo in Syria, and threatened Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar), we keep breaking the promise since then. Consequently, we deal with the threats of the fragility of peace, such as there are unemployment, shattered democratic values through radicalized and nationalistic governments and the rise of hatred and intolerance, specifically islamophobia.
As university teachers, we witness young generations feeling disempowered, apolitical and passive toward these challenges; although students at the higher education level are well informed and educated, the knowledge about our past and society rarely gets applied outside of the campus. Having a privilege to work with them holds as responsible to address this challenge and contribute in training of active European citizens. The project “Again Never Again” responds to those needs by creating and developing an experiential learning platform to equip university teachers and our students better for their voluntary engagements in communities to support sustainable peace, discrimination free and tolerant society.
We want to engage and connect different advocates outside of of the campus to create, apply and publically present their projects in and with local communities and stakeholders to raise awareness of the common and shared history of Europe, the importance of remembering to not to repeat its darkest parts and to emphasize its efforts in sustaining the peace and well-being of its people. We specifically want to deepen the understanding of our own histories and potential of transmission of collective traumas through transgenerational dialogue with the preceding generations.
Over the next 18 months, the project aims to address those questions and respond to it with developing and testing 4 different groups of experiential learning tools (ELT) in order to experience the harmful effects of transmitted collective traumas and how they impact the continuation of hatreds and vengeance today.
For this, partners and their local collaborators will organize events in their home countries that will bring together students and teachers and other community members. In the dissemination phase, we will reflect on the methodologies and present them in this platform so they can serve as in-class and online tools for educators and other individuals that deal with transmission of collective traumas.
If we learnt anything from the slogan »Never Again« is that words are not enough; only through learning by doing, we can understand our own role and importance in civic and democratic participation and doing this in collaboration with different actors.