Seminar: The Role of Youth Delegations of Political Parties in Memorialisation and Learning about the Past

On September 23, 2016 forumZFD organised a seminar with representatives of youth organisations of several Lebanese political parties in cooperation with the Center for Applied Research in Education (CARE), the Lebanese Association for History (LAH), Saint Joseph University (USJ) and German expert Dr. Mara Albrecht. The overall objective of the seminar was to open a constructive dialogue about their particular role in memorialisation and learning about the past with a specific emphasis on education

Leaders and members of the youth organisations are the future leaders of the country and therefore have a notable impact on the history writing of tomorrow. Therefore, the seminar aimed to provide a platform for critically reflecting differences in historical narratives, cultures of remembrance and the individual role in responsible learning about the past.

In the morning session each delegation held a presentation on its respective political party's specific culture of remembrance in terms of participation in commemorative events, creation of media of remembrance and involvement in schools and summer camps. Afterwards the various politicians and USJ-students, who joined the audience as “observers”, had the opportunity to ask questions and discuss about sensitive issues.

In the afternoon, Dr. Mara Albrecht (University of Erfurt, Germany) and Dr. Bassel Akar (Notre Dame University-Louaiye, Center for Applied Research and Education) presented the main findings of their research report “Power of Remembrance – Political Parties, Memory and Learning about the Past in Lebanon". Instead of focussing on the ideal of a single and unique narrative of historical events, the research team introduced a disciplinary approach for learning about the past. This alternative approach builds upon critically reviewing and examining multiple historical interpretations as a starting point for conducting a history book in school education.

The seminar was launched as part of our programme area Dealing with the Past and took place at the University Saint Joseph in collaboration with Dr. Bassel Akar from the Center for Applied Research in Education at NDU (CARE), the Lebanese Association for History (LAH), the department of History and UIR Memoire (CEMAM) of University Saint Joseph and the German expert Dr. Mara Albrecht from Erfurt University in Germany.

The research report “Power of Remembrance – Political Parties, Memory and Learning about the Past in Lebanon" is available for download in English and Arabic.