Reconciliation is critical and there has to be a period of reflection and healing of the nations after conflicts, without forgetting the casualties and victims in wars. This was the main message given at the concluding event within the programme where young people from Macedonia, through an analysis of the battle of Dojran from 1918, learned about The Great War.
Throughout the project pupils had the chance to learn from historians and archaeologists, in workshops and a study tour of the Dojran region where the main battles from the Salonika Campaign took place. They produced creative visuals presenting the lessons they learned from the course.
Lt Col Richard Parry, Defence Attaché for Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo, spoke at the final event of the project. He said:
Our work on marking the centenary of the World War I in Macedonia serves to remember all those that lost their lives during the Salonika Campaign which included 10,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers. But also importantly, the many civilians who were killed during the war, as in war civilian casualties far exceed military casualties. We only need look at current events in Syria, Yemen and Ukraine to see this: but also in this region with the recent wars of the 1990s and early 2000s.
Remembering the contribution of the brave men and women serving in the peacekeeping missions, and maintaining the memories of the atrocities that wars bring, can be one of the most effective tools for conflict prevention.
The programme on youth and reconciliation was part of UK’s engagement in marking the centenary of the World War I. It was implemented in Macedonia by ALDA – Association for Local Democracies - from the autumn of 2016 until spring 2017.
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