Historians without Borders in Finland, our Finnish NGO founded in June 2015, now has more than 300 members. The international network for which we are acting as the secretariat keeps growing. After our conference in May 2016 we have had meetings with historians in Vienna, Berlin, Rome, Kiev, New York, Princeton, Washington, Reykjavik, Paris, Lisbon and Madrid and established worldwide contacts. The reception for our initiative has been overwhelmingly positive and we are working hard to be able to live up to all the expectations we have created.
Many events in 2016 show how history is continuously abused in conflicts. In the coming year we hope to be able to work concretely to counter this and bring historians together in promote “interactive dialogue between different views and interpretations of history” as stated in the Declaration adopted at our Helsinki Conference on establishing our Network.
We have no shortage of issues historians need to address. In addition to deepening the general and comprehensive knowledge and understanding of history so needed in our ahistorical times, we also have to do this in an increasingly post-factual environment where political dialogue and election campaigns are fought with open disregard for facts.
In February our international coordinating committee will meet in Stockholm. There will also be an open seminar arranged together with the Swedish Institute of International Affairs on History and Politic with Timothy Garton Ash as one of the keynote speakers. You are welcome to join us if you are in Stockholm on February the 20th.
Best wishes for our joint work to make the coming year a Happy and Peaceful New Year!
Chairman of Historians without Borders in Finland