HIA Germany Organizes a Workshop on Transitions from Dictatorship to Democracy

February 01, 2012

HIA Germany hosted a workshop entitled “European Transitions from Dictatorship to Democracy in the Late 1980s and their Consequences for Europe Today." The workshop, which took place in Berlin from February 5 to 11, 2012, focused on the dynamics and repercussions of the regime changes in Europe in the late 1980s. A participant group of 14 engaged citizens aged 25 to 55 from Belarus, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Turkey explored the following issues:

  • What were the social and political causes for the political transitions in Central and Eastern Europe in the late 1980s?
  • How can the national histories of transitions be placed in the context of other political movements during the late 1980’s?
  • What consequences, both short and long-term, did the regime change have on the individuals and on the societies as a whole?
  • What strategies are used to come to terms with the past and with what results?

The first part of the workshop consisted of discussions and testimonies from participants, eyewitnesses and other experts. Field trips to the Berlin Wall memorial sites, the Stasi archives and the Stasi detention center showed examples of transitional justice and public remembrance in the unified Germany.

In the second part, the group played and evaluated a regime change simulation delevoped by Humanity in Action Alumni in 2009. The simulation takes place in a fictitious country in the midst of political upheaval and regime change. This society's dominant interest groups come together to negotiate a course of action that is acceptable to all. Participants were asked to represent one of these interest groups. The simulation manual is available for download at http://www.humanityinaction.org/knowledgebase/list/article_type-teaching_tool.

This project was supported as a “Grundtvig Workshop” by the European Union Lifelong Learning Programme.

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