Building peace in the minds of men and women

Imagining the Balkans travels to The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

This is the fourth stop for the ‘Imagining the Balkans. Identities and Memory in the long 19th century’ travelling exhibit, coordinated by the UNESCO Venice Office with the support and participation of the International Council of Museums (ICOM). The inauguration will take place at the National Museum of The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in Skopje on 12 June 2014.

The initiative brings together National history museums from South East Europe and beyond - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – to share their perspectives  and compare their collections and their national histories. Maria Todorova, professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, United States of America, acted as historical advisor for the exhibit.

The ‘Imagining the Balkans’ exhibit opened in Ljubljana at the National Museum of Slovenia, on 8 April 2013, on the occasion of the annual meeting of the Council of Ministers of Culture of South-East Europe. In line with UNESCO’s global initiative ‘Culture: a Bridge to Development’, it seeks to enhance cooperation and dialogue among national history museums and focuses on the formation and development of modern nations in South-East Europe during the “long 19th century”. After opening in Slovenia, the exhibition began its planned journey around museums of South Europe and beyond with stops in Serbia and Romania.

Yolanda Valle-Neff, Director of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy), extends her thanks to all the museums, curators and experts closely involved in this project in the past 4 years, as well as to ICOM and the International Committee for Exhibitions and Exchange (ICOM/ICEE). “This exhibit is important because it shows in an unprecedented way that history museums in the region are again becoming reflective places of dialogue and understanding. For the very first time, national museums in the region have decided, with the active support of UNESCO, to approach the history of their countries in a multi-perspective manner, in a way that is attentive to cultural diversity and the complexities of national narratives”. Yolanda Valle-Neff confirms UNESCO’s full support to this regional initiative and expresses the hope that this traveling exhibit will continue to benefit and inspire the whole region.

The “Imagining the Balkans. Identities and Memory in the long 19th century” exhibit will be on display at the National Museum of The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia until 15 October 2014 before traveling to other countries from South-East Europe in 2014-2015.