Oral history Azerbaijan

Objectives of the Activity

Please describe, why did you do it: What did you want to achieve? What was your plan? Please describe this in connection of the aims and objectives of the “Remember to act” project

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 testimonies of conflict-affected people from young and older generations and to build a mutual understanding about the lessons learned from the past and to peacefully coexist  in the society young people are living.


Description of the activity

Please describe shortly, what you have done concretely and how you have implemented this activity:

Before the training session, we had the testimonies of the conflict affected people in a video format which included details about how the conflict shaped theirs and their families` lives, their personal experiences and their hopes and messages for peace.

During the “Oral history” training 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.  After explaining the elements of the activity such as how to prepare interview questions, dealing with the conflict affected people without triggering the trauma and storytelling, the participants were introduced to the videos. After the videos, the trainer asked about the impressions and the opinions of the participants about the stories they heard by the interviewees. Then, the discussions were held by the trainer based on the guiding questions to build up to the conclusion on how to support the peace movement and build mutual understanding through young people. 


Number of participants reached/ involved

No. of participants in total: 18

No. of young people, who participated: 18 

Quote of an involved young person

It was interesting for me to learn about the personal experiences of people and their life before the conflict. Learning about the culture of remembrance and how it can be effective in the peace movement was new knowledge I took with me from this event. 

Quote of an involved staff member

It was a challenging, but insightful experience for me to be part of this activity. It is great to see young people are interested and open for the discussions on such an important topic. 

Photos and Videos of the activity

Please provide more pictures and if possible videos of the activity and here you name:

No. or name of picture/video file + Title or description of what you can see on this picture or video

Memory, Conflict and Peace – Malahat Maharramova

Malahat Maharramova, an internally displaced person from Jabrayil district of Azerbaijan, lost husband and forced to leave her home with 3 children as a result of the first Nagorno Karabakh war in 1993. Despite all the struggles and traumas of the war, she still believes to the peaceful future and shares her story and memories. Malahat Maharramova: There will be peace. It is not impossible because we want peace.

Memory, Conflict and Peace – Amina Mirzayeva

Amina is originally from Zangilan district. She remembers the stories of her parents and grandparents about their village which she did not have an opportunity to see because of the Nagorno Karabakh war. She shares her experience about visiting her home with the family members for the first time after many years. Amina is also hopeful about the future of this region. Amina Mirzayeva: “None of us would want there to be blood again, or to see young teens become a martyr. We are supporters of peace that will prevent these things from happening.”

Memory, Conflict and Peace – Javid Gurbanov

Javid Gurbanov became an internally displaced person at the age of 5. Rebuilding life after being displaced was extremely hard for his family as they had to leave all their belongings in their district. Javid Gurbanov: “We lived in a village before my parents bought a home in the city center. Yes, I remember our house, and it had three rooms. The one in the village was a two-story house, and it had a garden, and there was a river passing by near the house. They are all in my memories. I would like peace to happen because relations must be restored, it cannot continue like this. Two nations cannot be enemies like this forever”.

Memory, Conflict and Peace – Bayazid Mehdili

Bayazid Mehdili is originally from Gubadli district of the Karabakh region. He describes his family`s life before the war, peaceful co-existence before the conflict and his future plans about returning his district. Bayazid Mehdili: “Yes, I am planning to return after the restoration and construction works, after the Gubadli district is completely cleared of mines, certain restoration works. I’m a student myself, I’m planning to work in Gubadli as a staff member after graduating university and probably completing my master’s degree in Baku.”