Living Library in Azerbaijan

Objectives of the Activity

As a continuation of our international train-the-trainer sessions in Passau, Germany in which we were introduced with the concept and importance of Culture of remembrance, 3 main methodologies and how to implement them at the national level. As the aim of this project is to raise awareness of young people about importance of remembrance culture and foster young people’s commitment to be involved in democratic processes and the Peace Movement, we decided to focus on conflict affected people and the role of culture of remembrance in promoting peace among youth as the active members of the society. Since the start of the first Nagorno Karabakh war, thousands of people lost their lives and nearly one million civilians became internally displaced people living in Baku and other regions of Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, this conflict continued to shape the lives of the generations for more than 30 years.

 Therefore, it was important for us to have the stories of conflict-affected people from older generations to hear by the young people. It is particularly important not just to talk about what happened to these people during and after war, but also how two nations once peacefully coexisted. It is important to talk about it in order to raise awareness among young people about peaceful coexistence without mistrust and anger.

Description of the activity

During the “Living library” session, the trainer first started with informing the participants about “Remember to Act: Understand-Learn-Act” project by explaining them what we want to achieve with this project and why it is so important, what is the culture of remembrance and the “Oral history” method about, as well as provided information about the project, donors and partners.   

Then, the sessions continued with the stories of two “Living books“ who were born and lived in Karabakh before the war started in 1992. After their memories were listened to, the participants asked them questions about their personal experiences and how they think about the future of this issue. Then, the trainer led the discussions on what the students learned about the living books, the most interesting part, what was new for them and whether they would again participate in the living library activity. 

Number of participants reached/ involved

No. of participants in total: 11

No. of young people, who participated: 11 

Quote of an involved young person

Definitely, I would like this type of event to be held more. We usually hear from TV or read from books about the other aspects of the conflict, but it is important to focus on personal stories to have a better understanding. 

Quote of an involved staff member

First time I saw this method in Passau, I was very impressed how little actually I know about war-affected people in other parts of the world and how different conflicts can affect people. I was very delighted that we were able to implement it in our local context and definitely do it again. 

Photos and Videos of the activity

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