Building the Peace Region Alps-Adriatic (2014 – ongoing)

Building the Peace Region Alps-Adriatic. Envisioning Future by Dealing with the Past.
Promoting open and inclusive public discourse within Austria and Slovenia and between the countries.

The project aims to develop the necessary theoretical and methodological framework as well as a civil initiative for mutual understanding and recognition of diversity within Austria and Slovenia and between the countries. It will explore the social and psychological barriers and their deep historical roots, macro- and micro-historical contexts that in the past have been preventing the full development of a culture of peace in the region. The project will develop, conceptualize and concretize ways to an Peace Region Alps-Adriatic (PRAA).

This initiative will be pursued by an Austrian-Slovenian Working Group that will develop theoretical and methodological framework for analysis, conceptualization of public discourse and social action as well as engage in the (sub)national and bilateral settings that will be expanded to include the whole geographic region with the aim to transform the public discourse and influence grassroots and decision-makers to promote the idea of the PRAA.

The long term objectives of the Working Group will be to 1) analyze the deficits and risks of the current assumptions and attitudes of dealing with the past, 2) explore the underlying social and psychological barriers to mutual understanding and recognition of diversities within societies in the region as well among them, 3) understand their deep historical roots and their macro-historical contexts as a first step in overcoming diverse barriers, 4) broaden the paradigm of regional cooperation, towards a culture of peace based on mutual understanding and recognition of diversity, 5) transform the public discourse based on these objectives and outcomes, and 6) develop (short- and long-term, local, regional, national as well as macro-regional) strategies, concepts, policies and measures for successful regulation and management of socially relevant diversities in the region with the aim to promote and develop PRAA .

We hope that a transformation of the current, often exclusive public discourse into a more inclusive one that addresses the deep-seated barriers to mutual understanding and recognition of diversity and promotes peaceful coexistence as well as equal, just and voluntary cooperation (based on common interests that are constantly being reinforced) will enhance not only the readiness and ability in the region to embrace a genuine culture of peace, but will influence a culture of peace, inclusion, conflict transformation and dealing with the past in other regions in Europe as well.

The first common declaration of the Austrian-Sloveinian working-group is available here (in German, Slovene and Italian).