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Enseñanza de la historia y construcción de paz en Euskadi



The Centre for Applied Ethics at the University of Deusto (CAE) and the Basque Youth Council led a learning community in the 2019-2020 academic year to explore young people’s questions and reflections on the politically motivated violence experienced in the Basque Country over the last fifty years.

One of the main objectives of this community was to identify the keys as to how the history of this violence can be taught in a way that it is conducive to its delegitimisation and the building of a culture of peace. Initially, 11 young people aged 17 to 25 years took part - 7 of whom continued until the end - with different academic profiles and family, social and political backgrounds, but with a common interest in discussing their concerns and experiences.


These are some of the tentative conclusions reached by the project's team of researchers:

  • Young people have little knowledge about the history and conflict in the Basque Country. This highlights the lack of attention paid to this issue in education. Silence also prevails in many families and friends.
  • Although they have little knowledge, they do have fragments of individual and collective memory, ideas, stories and symbolism. For the most part, these come from families, friends, their social and cultural environment or the media and social networks, but they are conveyed without encouraging critical analysis.
  • These memory fragments show significant affinities with what the research team has called the "age-old conflict narrative", which includes issues such as warfare between two sides and the collective worldview of an oppressed and resistant people. These issues lend themselves to legitimising violence and failing to recognise the plurality of Basque society.
  • From the teaching approach that inspires the Centre for Applied Ethics, history teaching should take into account these memory fragments and focus critically on them to facilitate their being questioned and transformed.

These tentative findings will be further tested in a second phase of the learning community with education professionals.


The Learning Community has shown the potential of a teaching process to trigger questions and raise concerns in young people’s collective imagination and to encourage more complex historical narratives of what happened.

The research team has compiled the results in three notebooks. 

Research Team

  • Ángela Bermúdez Vélez, principal investigator of the project
  • Izaskun Sáez de la Fuente, CAE researcher
  • Galo Bilbao, CAE researcher
  • Cristina Pena Mardaras, CAE researcher
  • Jesús Prieto Mendaza, CAE collaborating researcher

Presentation of conclusions at a press conference

On 24 September 2021, researchers Ángela Bemúdez, Izaskun Sáez de la Fuente and Jesús Prieto presented the results of the project in Bilbao. Two of the young participants were also present. The following video summarises the press conference in 8 minutes.

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Download press release