Dealing With The Past

May 12th, 2016th from 6 to 8 pm


Project title: “Civil Courage in difficult time”

Implementing organization: The Training Center for Management of Conflicts (TCMC)

Project Coordinator: Mr. Albert Hani, Deputy Country director of forumZFD, Skopje

Project Partners and list of participants of the group:

  • Sulejman Rexhepi, Islamic Religious Community in Macedonia (IRCM)
  • Berta Romano Nikolic, Head Association of Jewish Community in Macedonia  (AJCM)
  • E. Jovan Tegovski, Ambassador, International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)
  • Izet Mexhiti, Mayor of Municipality of Cair, Skopje, Republic of Macedonia
  • Skender Asani, Director of Institute for Spiritual and Cultural Heritage of Albanians (ISCHA)
  • Aleksandar Manojlovski, Researcher and representative of Institute of National History (INI)
  • Maja Susa, Researcher and representative of the Holocaust Memorial Center of Macedonia
  • Abdylkadir Memedi, Director of Institute for geostrategic researches and foreign policy (IGRFP)
  • Nora Maliqi, Project Manager, forumZFD, Skopje
  • Bardhyl Tushi, Head of Science department of Ministry of Education and Science
  • Ardian Limani, Assistant researcher, Institute for Spiritual and Cultural Heritage of Albanians (ISCHA)
  • Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Macedonia (MFA)
  • Ministry of Culture of Macedonia (MCM)
  • Embassy of the Republic of Macedonia in United States of America.



The project is financially supported by:

  • Municipality of Cair, Skopje, Republic of Macedonia
  • Ministry of Culture of Macedonia,
  • Ministry of Education of Macedonia,
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Macedonia,
  • And all other project partners that generously donated time, energy and money for successful implementation of this project;

We are thankful to American Embassy in Skopje for issuing entry visas free of charge for the group;



Being granted with the honor to facilitate a “confidence-building process” among key state institutions that deal with the past in Macedonia, the German forumZFD and the local Training Center for Management of Conflicts (TCMC), implemented numerous of courageous activities jointly with the Institute of National History (INI), Institute for spiritual and cultural heritage of Albanians (ISCHA) as well as all history associations of both Albanian and Macedonians in Macedonia. Sensitive and complex as it is this trust-building process, the project did not just open the first opportunities for joint actions among Macedonian and Albanian historians on institutional and academic level but, it also carefully developed trust-building process, in which the controversial and conflicting issues treated in history books started to become challenge, and courage started to become part of our culture of this small network of institutions.


  • Having in mind that, History in Balkans is mostly under service of daily politics and it is seen more as propaganda, rather than a narrative which gives us the opportunity to learn from, and description of events from the past that prevents us from repeating the mistakes in future;
  • Having in mind that, Ethnocentric, nationalistic and religiously based descriptions of the events from the past pose a great threat to Peace and Stability in Balkans as well as the world in general, and historians can be generators of Peace but also of violence;  and
  • Having in mind that, The great stories of cooperation across ethnic and religious barriers exist in many cultures, but they are hidden intentionally by politicians and historians that cannot distinct their ethnic and religious belonging from objectivity, professionalism and necessity of people to live in Peace and Stability;


Small group of enthusiastic Historians and Civil society activists in Republic of Macedonia transferred the controversial and conflicting dialogue among historians of different ethnic and religious background, from personal fight through statements for Media, in to inter-institutional and academic dialogue.  Than after, while walking the past, the group realized that they have developed a unique and authentic approach to dealing with the past, through searching for the matching points in the past of all ethnic and religious communities, in stud of zooming in to differences.

In search for positive stories in the past among different ethnic and religious communities in Macedonia, the group came across interesting evidence on concrete stories during the time of Holocaust, in which Jewish, Muslims and Orthodox Christians were cooperating and supporting each other strongly.  Being under a social pressure both, Muslim and Jewish communities, did not dare to speak the truth up to today.

Determined to take out the dust of the archived documents of the Holocaust period in the Balkans, and believing that in that dust, a different truth is hidden, this group of courageous historians reveled the untold stories of Muslims, Jews and orthodox Christians in Macedonia and Albania (at that time known as “The nest of Jews”).  This is how the friendship among history institutes with the Association of the Jewish Community in Macedonia and the Holocaust Museum in Skopje has started.

Now we want to tell the world that:

The cooperation across ethnic and religious barriers was and it is possible. We can learn from the past and we have a chance of not repeating the mistakes of the past in future.  There are many stories from which we should all be proud off, and from which the world has a chance to help changing the discourse of hate into respect and tolerance among people. Macedonia could be a god example for the world. We have very good examples of interreligious dialogue to share.


At this project titled: “Civil Courage in difficult time”, the network is presenting three main activities:

(1) Exhibition with pictures of the archived documents, evidences from the period of Holocaust in Skopje;

(2) Public discussion on taboo topics and inter-religious dialogue with the heads of Jewish and Muslim communities in Macedonia on the topic of “Civil courage in difficult time”,

(3) Study trip on topic of Religious freedom.


From 07 to 20 May 2016 in USA.

  • 7 – 10 May 2016, the exhibition will be installed in Washington DC at the premises of the Macedonian Embassy in USA. On 9 May 2016 at 12:00 h. will be the opening of the exhibition;
  • Public discussion on “Civil Courage in difficult times” will be on 9 May 2016, 16:00 h in Washington DC, at the premises of the George Town University
  • 11 – 20 May 2016, the Exhibition “Dealing with the past – Civil courage in dangerous time” will be presented in New York at the Premises of the Macedonian Cultural center – GALLERY MC. On 12th May 2016 – 06-08:00 pm. will be the official opening of the exhibition;
  • The Study trip is a cross cutting activity, it encompasses numerous of official meetings at U.S. Capitol, Universities and Museums, and will be happening from 07 to 13 May 2016 both, in Washington DC and New York.