„Don’t just act, stand around“

The story of an international research network about Social Trauma

When a few years ago the so-called Balkan route was closed as an escape route from Syria via the countries of the Balkan region to Germany, many traumatised people landed in Europe. They are affected by Social Trauma – a term from clinical psychology that describes the traumatisation of entire groups of people. Escaped from the war zones, they met citizens of the Balkan countries who had left behind their own trauma only a few years ago. In cooperation with universities from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, Greece, Turkey and other countries, the work of an international research network on Social Trauma began. You can now listen to the history of that network in the audio report.

The cooperation in the research network deals with the key question of how to deal with conflicting group identities in democratic discourses. This is a key question that is particularly posed by the destabilization of the Middle East and the wave of refugees. This approach requires cooperation in which the often highly emotional hostilities between the various nations and groups of people are dealt with. It is about nothing less than overcoming war-related traumas – about working towards a better future together.

One major result of the work in the last years are the Best Practice Recommendations for Integration, Education and Mental Health in times of Social Trauma and forced Migration. The network is meeting this year for its annual Summer School, which has now reached its 8th year, under the title "Social Trauma in Changing Societies" (STICS). For the first time, students from all over the world are invited to come into contact with each other at the IPU and explore the significance of Social Trauma in today's world.

Summer School: Social Trauma in Changing Societies (STICS)