In the one-year Past2Present4Future project, thirty-two young people were dealing with remembrance and exploring contemporary issues that result from historical events. They co-developed new educational materials for younger generations. The P2P4F helped young people remember World War II lessons and appreciate European values.
The P2P4F project concept was based on the need for engaging youth in innovative, youth-led history education whose purpose is closely related to contemporary challenges. Through interactive pedagogy, creative input, experiential visits to historical sites of National Socialist crimes and service-based voluntary projects, youth involved in P2P4F developed a deep sense of historical awareness and of the legacy of history.
Furthermore, in the face of the recent resurgence in World War II historical revisionism in the Western Balkans, this project provided an opportunity to exchange with German youth. They compared and learnt how to face history and deal with it and how these processes (or lack thereof) influence our societies. Given the presence of (extreme) right-wing political parties and calls for historical revisionism, this project was needed, as young people today may run the danger of taking Europe for granted. European values and integration needed to be underlined – and youth involved in this project developed a keen understanding of and commitment to these ideals.
Finally, through the combination of participant-driven content and creative inputs, historical sites visits, engaging lecturers, critical pedagogy-based trainers, intermediary group action projects and joint educational material co-creation, P2P4F seeked to become a new, integrated and comprehensive model of youth civic engagement through historical human rights education.
- Young people study the history of National Socialism in an original way that they have not experienced before, developing critical historical consciousness and conscience in the process;
- Young people deal with both historical narratives of World War II as well as current narratives about Europe (migration, populism, historical revisionism, European integration), which promote sharing experiences and European solidarity among youth from Germany and the Western Balkan;
- Strengthening youth understanding and sense of agency in (creative) involvement in remembrance, commemoration, and (personal) activism against historical revisionism, anti-semitism, romaphobia, and xenophobia;
- Young people inspire their peers and are role-models for others (through the P2P4F documentary and accompanying lesson plan) to engage in historical examination and remembrance.