Utopian Dreams on Practical Possibilities


For countries rebuilding in the wake of violence and repression, memorials, museums and places of memory represent a critical terrain where the past is confronted and conflict can be addressed. This article focuses on the work of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience and an evaluation of the youth programs of three of its members: the Liberation War Museum in Bangladesh, the Monte Sole Peace School in Italy and the Villa Grimaldi Peace Park in Chile. The evaluation found that the sites had a number of impacts on the young people who visited them, including changing opinions, raising awareness, improving relationships, encouraging civic engagement and increasing emotional understanding of the human consequences of atrocity. The article questions how such impacts relate to wider social processes (for example, human rights reform, violence prevention and transitional justice) and how social and political processes affect the potential for individual and group impacts.

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