Healing the Past Dialogue

A programme of Healing the Past dialogues across Ukraine

The history not transformed gets transferred…

The Healing the Past dialogues programme launched in 2011 resulted from the evaluation of the results of the Summer Outreach Programme 2010 dealing with collecting the live stories in the communities throughout Ukraine.

The aim of the Healing the Past dialogues programme is to create a space to discuss one’s own understanding and perception of history in the family, community, national, or international context. During the dialogue, participants are encouraged to share their own feelings, personal stories, and anecdotal evidence.

By the dialogue we mean a process and a method of communication aimed to build interaction between people who share their experience, ideas, and information regarding the chosen topic. The result of a dialogue is acquiring a new, broader understanding of the situation through communication between people seeing things from different perspectives.

The Healing the Past Dialogue is a four-day seminar for up to 20 participants who display the diversity of opinions represented in various communities in Ukraine. During the space of four days, participants are introduced to the principles of a dialogue, they get immersed in understanding the historical context, determine the social and political markers that influenced their families, communities, and country(-ies).

Brief lectures held by experts in the field of history, journalism, conflict resolution, psychology, etc., together with the following discussions help understand the historical context. A dialogue is usually led by 2 facilitators and includes theoretical and practical parts.

A dialogue is based on the following principles:

  • respect for the right of others to have their own view of life;
  • achieving consensus without blaming (concentrating on WHAT is right rather than WHO is right);
  • getting to know about the past by learning people’s life stories;
  • understanding that future is built based on the principles of responsibility for the past.

The Healing the Past Dialogue is aimed at wide audience, in particular for civic activists, researchers, historians, journalists, psychologists, teachers, students, and enthusiasts in related fields.

During 2011-2013, in the framework of the Ukraine Action: Healing the Past project 9 dialogues in different parts of Ukraine were held, namely in Lviv, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, on the Khortytsia island, in Crimea, in Zakarpattia region. Participants represented different communities in Ukraine, as well as there were guests from Moldova, Romania, Algeria, and Azerbaijan. Two of these dialogues were topic-based, for example the topic for one of the dialogues in Lviv was  "May, 9th. The points of contact", in Chernihiv participants had dialogue around "Our heritage and its contemporary significance: monuments, street names". Around ⅔ participants represented the local community (residing at the territory where dialogue took place), while ⅓ participants came from other parts of the country.

The Healing the Past dialogue methodology was built by the Foundations for Freedom, INGO facilitators Diana Damsa and Olena Kashkarova based on the techniques used within the Initiatives of Change International, extended based on experience and described in the methodology manual by Oleh Ovcharenko, a Healing the Past dialogue facilitator.

Let us be ready to respect the uniqueness of others, recognizing their right for memory, own perception of history, allowing yourself to doubt and trust, understand and forgive, so that our past now or later can let us go peacefully in order to experience mutual development, joy, and love.

Translation by Halyna Bunio.