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PRAA - Peace Region Alps-Adria

Envisioning Future by Dealing with the Past. Promoting Open and Inclusive Public Dialogue and Discourse within Austria and Slovenia and between the Countries

Status: running

Contribution: Steering Group Member

Abstract: The Austrian-Slovenian dialogue project PRAA comprises three closely related components:

1. International Dialogue between Austria and Slovenia (with neighboring countries in the long term)

The first challenge is to continue the process of the so called Carinthian "Consensus-" and dialogue group between the different Carinthian conflict parties; however also outside Carinthia, by having dialogue workshops also with representatives of the Slovenian civil society. These workshops are aimed at dealing with the common past as well as the mutual majority-minority situations in Austria (especially in Styria and Carinthia) and Slovenia; in the longer term also between Italy and Slovenia, and Italy and Austria. The need for a common civil societal process of coming to terms with the past of the interrelations and neighbourhood in the Alps-Adriatic region results not least from the challenges in a united Europe, which in turn is challenged by new and old forms of nationalism. This process will by no means replace the work of historical commissions but nevertheless has a distinct meaning. In particular, it is not least about learning processes and models that could be important for future processes of understanding throughout Southeast Europe.

2. Intra-national Dialogue within Austria und Slovenia

The second challenge is to initiate discussions between representatives of civil society organizations at the national level, both in Austria and in Slovenia, both between language groups and within the language groups, simultaneously. In Carinthia, it is especially about continuing the process of the so-called "Consensus-group" on a broader level. Therefore also critics of that process have to be included, especially those who do not see their point of view sufficiently taken into account within the signpost-compromise. The mutual approach of single organizations between the German and Slovene language groups in Carinthia, led to significant tensions between those organizations within the language groups. Therefore it is crucial for the whole process to address the differences and contradictions within the different representative organizations within the language groups.

3. Dialogue in the general public in Austria and Slovenia

The third challenge is to make the results of such a dialogue processes accessible to a wider audience in order to stimulate a wider public debate on the one hand; and progressively implementing the practical results and constructive suggestions from the dialogue processes, on the other hand. In this context, particularly there is the idea to plan and design several Slovenian and Austrian commemorations to be celebrated together in 2020. In the context of the project, the first two project-components are in the foreground. In this sense the project applied for at this point can also be regarded as the pilot project of the whole project idea, to be realized until 2020.

Research: Action and Intervention Research

Research Areas: Peace and Conflict Studies, Memory Politics, Minority Rights

Partners: Zentrum für Friedensforschung und Friedenspädagogik, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt; Herbert C. Kelman Institute (HKI) for Interactive Conflict Transformation; Slovenian Scientific Institute (SZI)

Univ.-Prof. MMag. DDr.

Jürgen Pirker

Institute for Public Law and Political Science

Phone:+43 316 380 - 7412

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