Current living place:
Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina

Dr. Ljubinka Petrovic-Ziemer

Programme directress Forum Ziviler Friedensdienst (Forum Civil Peace Service); Coordination of the regional work group “Academia & Practice in Dealing-with-the-Past, Forum ZFD), Sarajevo

  • Former activities:

    2005-2012: teaching peace and conflict studies (focusing also on dealing with the past issues in and outside Europe) at Studienforum, Berlin; theater and conflict transformation (theater group “rabenschwarz”, Berlin); PhD work in the field of literary/theater/cultural studies (Trier, Berlin); research at Berghof Conflict research, Berlin;
    2003-2005: teaching literary and cultural studies at the German Department of the Philosophical Faculty in Sarajevo,

    1992-2003: peace work in Croatia (Osijek), interreligious peace work in BiH, human rights activism in Germany (Fulda), postgraduate programme in literary studies (University of Sarajevo)

  • My organization:
    Forum ZFD is a German peace organisation that engages in conflict transformation and promoting the values of nonviolence and justice. One of its main activity areas is dealing with the past and memory work. Forum ZFD is active in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and Mazedonia.

  • Examples of concrete activities I have organized/am organizing in the field of “dealing with the past”:
    • co-organising the exhibition “MOnuMENTI. the changing face of remembrance” in Sarajevo;
    • organising a panel discussion on “Cultures of remembrance in dialogue”, Sarajevo;
    • supporting forumZFD's work with war veterans who engage in peace and educational work in BiH;
    • conceptualising the dealing with the past work of forumZFD in the Western Balkans;
    • research on dealing with the past and peace-building in Croatia, Serbia and B&H;
    • lecturing on dwp issues, memory politics / cultures of remembrance.

  • Concrete challenges I am facing in my “dealing with the past”-related work:

    The need to relativise or even deny the suffering of the so-called “others” and the crimes committed in one's own community seems to me to be the key problem in dealing with the past. As a consequence, the tendency becomes very strong and apparently very appealing to ground individual and group identity on victimhood, and militarised heroism. Finally, the largest challenge in dwp is my own limited, selective and biased view on past and present violence.

  • My personal link to/interest for the topic of “dealing with difficult pasts”:
    My personal interest and link to dwp (and the protection of the unprotected) is the insight that human beings are able in certain circumstances to do severe harm to others who are in a weak and dependent position. Also, the insight that human beings can develop a sense of lust for power and brutal behaviour. Most importantly, the suffering of a human being simply hurts.