Vietnam Academy Of Social Sciences

"The role of historians in conflict prevention and resolution "


February 18, 2019, at the headquarters of Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS), No. 1 Lieu Giai, Ba Dinh, Hanoi, the Institute of History belonged to the VASS in collaboration with the Embassy of Finland (in Hanoi) organized a scientific seminar on the topic "The role of historians in conflict prevention and resolution ".

Attending the seminar were Finnish Ambassador to Vietnam Kari Kahiluoto and the delegation; Assoc.Prof. Tran Duc Cuong - Chairman of Vietnam Association of Historical Sciences; Prof. D.Sc. Vu Minh Giang - Chairman of Science Council, Hanoi National University; Assoc.Prof.Dr. Nguyen Duc Nhue – Deputy Director of Institute of History, Dr. Tran Thi Phuong Hoa - Deputy Director of the Institute of History; Dr. Tran Viet Thai, Assoc.Prof.Dr. Nguyen Thi Hanh (Diplomatic Academy); Prof.Dr. Do Thanh Binh, Assoc.Prof.Dr. Dao Tuan Thanh, Assoc.Prof.Dr. Van Ngoc Thanh (History Department - Hanoi Pedagogical University); Prof.Dr. Hoang Khac Nam (University of Social Sciences and Humanities); Assoc.Prof.Dr. Nguyen Gia Doi (Institute of Archeology)…

Ambassador Kari Kahiluoto spoke at the seminar Prof.Dr. Erkki Tuomioja presented the presentation at the seminar

At the seminar, Prof.Dr. Erkki Tuomija (Finland) gave a presentation, which emphasized the role of historians in preventing and resolving conflicts in the world. Through a typical example of a traumatic historical event during the Ottoman Empire - an empire that stretches from the Bihac city of Bosnia today to Basra, Iraq - is a colorful picture of a cultural, tradition and language mix under the supreme rule of the Sultan in Istanbul. It used to be a particularly stable place, creating a peaceful foundation for the whole region for hundreds of years. However, when the disintegration began to rekindle, it made the situation extremely violent, leaving 1.5 million civilians dead. To present-day, these historical events are still the cause of disagreement between Turkey and Armenia... when the historical views and approaches of historians have a profound effect on different understandings in each country. Thereby, people have recognized the immense role of historians in contributing to the creation and arousing of political views, hindering or promoting efforts to resolve conflicts between parties.

According to the professor, all historical truths and interpretations of history should not be made into legislative issues. The relationship between history and politics; the use – and abuse – of history for political ends - is a complex issue. The list of bad and even frightening examples for historically inconsistent views among countries is very long. This is especially problematic when the country in question is a Great Power which can allow its views of history to be directly reflected in its foreign policy. In the case, if the country has a dictatorship, this view will govern and affect a long period of history and affect the overall development that impacts the sustainable development of human.

Ignorance or inadequate understanding will increase the risk of conflict, becoming the "unconscious prisoner" of history and the prey for the intrigue of politicians (when they exploit history in a way that is not conducive to humanity).

Panoramic meeting Dr. Tran Thi Phuong Hoa spoke at the seminar

Historians also directly mentioned specific issues that Vietnam has been facing when presenting historical events (such as the remaining problems related to the northern Vietnam border war, the South China Sea...), in Finland and different countries around the world. Scientists have unanimously agreed on the role of “Historians without Borders” organization. Historians without Borders (HWB) as a non-governmental organization was founded at the initiative of Prof.Dr. Erkki Tuomioja in 2015 in Finland. If interested, historians from all over the world can register for membership at the website ( so that they can contribute research results and discuss non-political perspective, clarifying issues on the basis of respect history, towards the development and progress of humanity.

In summary, Ambassador Kari Kahiluoto highly appreciated the exchanged opinions at the seminar; At the same time, he also said that: with the criteria of acting for human development in general, “Historians without Borders”  organization will make more efforts in professional activities to contribute the common development of mankind in the process of resolving and preventing conflicts originating in the past, towards a sustainable future of safety, security and peace for everyone.


Pham Vinh Ha

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