In the beginning of August 2018 ANP started a new cycle within the project of “Dealing with the Past in Kosovo”. From 30th September until 6th October 16 participants from all over Kosovo successfully completed seven days of training for Dealing with the Past (DwP). The participants were selected, based on defined criteria: age from 21 and up, motivation to work on DwP, gender balance, diverse communities, different professional background, and from different places of Kosovo. The heterogenic group has started a deep, emotional and very hard process of dealing with their personal fates and pain they experienced in the past.

During the first part of the training, participants were actively working on topics of nonviolent communication, teamwork, understanding conflict, prejudices and the role of gender in society. After successfully elaborating on the above mentioned topics in active group work-sessions and discussions, it was dealt with the DwP process in Germany after the Second World War. As the ANP trainers formed a “safe space” during the first days and the group built up trust, ANP was enabled to start working with DwP topics in Kosovo.

In the second part of the training the participants had the chance to learn a lot about the DwP process and as well open the discussion about burned issues. Beside the interactive workshops on the topic for DwP, participants used creative methods, like painting, to express their stories and memories from the past in an indirect and abstract way. Everyone in the training was overwhelmed by the empathy that appears when listening to the emotional experiences of the others.

At the end of the training the group discussed how they would like to document the past and especially their private and personal stories, to foster a civil narrative. The ANP trainer team received very positive feedback for the applied methods, the design of the training, the chosen venue and the selection process. Therefore the participants expressed great motivation to further be part in the project and to document their stories.

Immediately after the training the ANP team started to individually meet the participants to further develop the stories of the participants and find the right form of publishing these life stories. The ANP team is providing full support to the individuals to develop and write their life stories. However, the participants have the final say in regard to content that they would like to share with the wide audience.

Therefore, ANP feels very satisfied to have started the new cycle with a motivated group of people that is currently contributing to the reduction of the ethnocentric narratives which continues to be dominant in Kosovo. ANP is looking forward very much to intensify the work with the current group and support the participants with their contribution to achieve sustainable peace.