2014 Session 4: 1989 and the culture of remembrance: many stories and the untold truth

Dealing with the Past while looking to the Future

International conference, part of the presidential initiative 25 years free Bulgaria

11 and 12 November 2014, Sofia, Bulgaria

The recent communist past is a topic that fundamentally divides Bulgarian society. It is often the subject of radical affirmation, rejection or emotional appraisals. We have a plethora of diverging stories but no consensual evidence-based history. Common issues in post-communist societies are the recycling of elites and invisible networks that are rotted in the past but influence the politics of the day. A lack of a culture of remembrance renders a society susceptible to mythologizing, nostalgic distortions of the past and partisan confrontation.  How can we cope with such deficiencies, especially with regard to younger generations, who have no personal memories of the past?

Dagmar Schipanski, Member of the Board of the Christian Democratic Union and President of the Studienkolleg zu Berlin (Germany)

Janusz Bugajski, Senior Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) (USA)

Martin Ivanov, Minister of Culture (2014) andSecretary of culture, education and national identity at the President’s Office (Bulgaria)

Nassya Kralevska-Owens, Writer and Journalist (Bulgaria/ USA)

Moderator: Margarita Assenova, Director of Programs for the Balkans, the Caucasus and Central Asia at The Jamestown Foundation (Bulgaria/ USA)