How pandemics and disruptive crises impact remembrance?

Date: 5-6 October, 2020

Online Conference via ZOOM platform

Language: Georgian, English and Russian (simultaneous translation will be provided)

To attend the event please register here -

Reading time: 5 minutes
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The Heinrich Boell Foundation Tbilisi Office – South Caucasus region, together with Ilia State University and Soviet Past Research Laboratory (SOVLAB) organizes the South Caucasus Regional Conference on Memory Politics to address how the COVID-19 pandemic created challenges for researchers working in archives, museums and libraries due to limited digitization. At the same time, speakers of the conference will discuss the opportunities that digitization gives to archives, museums and research institutes to try new, innovative approaches to reach out a broader and different audiences through creating online platforms and exhibitions or using social media to exchange on memory politics. Furthermore, it will be analyzed how educational institutions in the South Caucasus responded to various problems caused by the pandemic.

During the conference, apart from COVID-19, different big crises of the 20th century will be discussed while focusing on their impact on everyday life, political discourses as well as instrumentalization of their remembrance.

By bringing together academics, researchers and students from different disciplines, such as anthropology, political science and history, the Heinrich Boell Foundation, together with its partners,  supports research and discussion on the important topics of memory politics in order to rethink the Soviet and post-Soviet past and to contribute to the process of democratic development in the South Caucasus region.  


Day 1: October 5, duration: 4 hours and 45 minutes

12:00 - 16:45

12:00 - 12:15 (Tbilisi, Baku, Yerevan time)

Welcome Speech by Dr. Stefan Meister, Head of Office, Heinrich Boell Foundation and Professor Giga Zedania, Rector of Ilia State University

12:15 - 15:00 Panel Discussion: Memory politics during pandemics and other big catastrophes: Methodological approaches and practical cases 

Part I - 12:15 - 13:30 - How do archives and educational institutions respond to challenges caused by COVID-19 in the South Caucasus?


  • Manana Ratiani, PhD, Deputy Director , National Center for Teacher Professional Development;

  • Serob Khachatryan, Professor, Department of Philosophy and Psychology, Yerevan State University;

  • David Jishkariani, researcher, SOVLAB

Moderation: Dr. Stefan Meister, hbs

13:30 - 13:45 Break

Part II - 13:45 - 15:00 Presentation of digital projects on different historical periods: how important are these digital projects for wider outreach, especially with regard to reaching out and involving young people?


  • Katja Fausser, Programme Director EUSTORY, Körber-Stiftung;
  • Nikita Lomakin, Historian,  International Society Memorial;
  • David Leupold, Post-doctoral research fellow, Center for Middle Eastern Studies

Moderation: Dr. Stefan Meister, hbs

15:00 - 15:15 Break

15:15 - 16:45 Panel Discussion: Remembrance Culture in the post-Soviet space: how crises and catastrophes of 20th century are memorialized in the official discourse as well as in everyday life


  • Gayane Shagoyan, Researcher at Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, National Academy of Science, Republic of Armenia;
  • Olha Martynyuk, Post-doctoral fellow, University of Basel;
  • Sevil Huseynova, Social Anthropologist, Project Manager, Center for Independent Social Research CISR e.V. Berlin

Moderation: Eviya Hovhannisyan, hbs    

Day 2:  October 6, Duration: 3 hour and 15 minutes

16:00 - 19:15      

16:00 - 17:30 Panel Discussion: The first presidents after the break-up of the Soviet Union: their role and legacy on state and identity building


  • Professor Gerard Libaridian, University of Michigan;
  • Professor Giga Zedania, Ilia State University;
  • Dr. Zaur Gasimov, University of Bonn

Moderation: Tamar Gurchiani, Associate Professor at Ilia State University

17:30 - 17:45 Break

17:45 - 18:45 Ketevan Gurchiani, Professor at Ilia State University in conversation with Erik R. Scott, Associate Professor, University of Kansas on the following topic: The break-up of the Soviet Union and its impact on everyday lives of people;

18:45 - 19:00 Break

19:00 - 19:15 Sum-up of the conference


Please note:

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To attend the event please register here -

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