Declaration on the establishment of the international network of Historians without Borders to be presented for adoption at the final session of the conference Friday 20th May.
Wanting to promote and deepen the general understanding of history;
Calling on historians to defuse conflicts by sharing knowledge about history in conflict-resolution processes;
Recognizing the role of historians in reconciling divergent views about historical events by promoting interactive dialogue between differing interpretations of history;
Concerned about how insufficient historical knowledge and understanding leaves people vulnerable to the misuse of historical narratives and impedes their ability to see into the future;
Emphasizing the need for concentrated efforts to counteract the misuse of history;
Appealing to governments and legislatures to refrain from unilaterally passing resolutions and legislation on controversial interpretations of historical events;
Underlining that an understanding approach to historical monuments should leave an environment where traces of all our history can be seen and in due time serve as focal points for understanding our common past;
Stressing the importance of open and free access to historical material and archives;
Welcoming the initiative of Historians without Borders in Finland to convene the international conference Historians without Borders: the Use and Abuse of History in Conflicts;
Meeting in Helsinki at this conference we have agreed to continue working together in order to
– deepen general and comprehensive knowledge and understanding of history;
– promote open and free access to historical material and archives;
– encourage interactive dialogue between different views and interpretations of history to assist in the process of mutual understanding;
– support efforts to identify the abuse of history in fostering and sustaining conflicts,
– help defuse conflicts and contribute to conflict-resolution processes;
– to promote the teaching of history in the spirit of this declaration;
– incorporate an understanding of the role of women and gender perspectives in efforts to build peace and resolve conflicts;
and have today decided to establish an international network of Historians without Borders.
Historians without Borders invites all professional historians and others working with historical issues and international relations, who are willing to build better mutual understanding of history and want to prevent the misuse of history to create and foster conflicts, to join our network.
The network will establish a roster of historians who are available as independent scholars and experts to work in commissions, working groups and other fora in aid of promoting a culture of peace, confidence-building, mediation and conflict resolution.
The network will promote and engage in independent and cross-border study of historical conflicts.
We have appointed an international coordinating committee with Jan C. Behrends, Carl Bildt, Vasu Gounden, Margaret MacMillan, Erkki Tuomioja, Christina Twomey and Sergei Zhuravlev as members to guide the work of the network.
The committee can also co-opt new members to enhance the geographical and gender representation. A full meeting of the network will be convened next year to take stock and decide on the future structures of the network.
The network welcomes the contribution that Historians without Borders in Finland is prepared to extend to the network at its initial stage in the form of secretarial services.
Agreed in Helsinki 20th of May 2016