History and the Politics of Reconciliation (2000-2005)

This program focused on the following:

Role of Historical Commissions in Reconciliation

A main component of the program was a project examining the role of historical commissions as instruments of reckoning, memory and reconciliation. It co-sponsored, with the International Historians Commission, the International Historical Commission on Polish-Jewish History. In focusing on a particular case study, we hope to foster cross-cultural research on the historians' role in mastering the so-called "unmasterable past" and in directing public attention to issues that continue to impede reconciliation. 

History Education

The program's other main component was a project on history education—particularly at the secondary level, which bears the imprimatur of state authority. With the help of a grant from the U.S. Institute of Peace, we began sponsoring original field research on secondary education and reconciliation. Eleven researchers were funded to perform four case studies on history textbooks in a range of countries.

In November 2005, we co-sponsored, together with the U.S. Institute of Peace, an international conference entitled Unite or Divide? The Challenges of Teaching History in Societies Emerging from Violent Conflict. The conference brought together 28 history teachers, policy makers, educational reform specialists, and transitional justice experts from around the world.