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geneveMonde.ch, a unique space for historical mediation

November 2nd, 2023

geneveMonde.ch enters its second year. An opportunity for our editorial team to look to the future, and also to take stock of the work begun since the platform's launch in October 2022.

At the crossroads of history, memory and testimony, the editorial line we have developed expresses a new and unique approach to the history of international Geneva. New in its entirely free, bilingual digital dimension, unique in its near-daily productions (major interviews, thematic dossiers, podcasts, highlighting and digitizing the audiovisual holdings of international organizations, among others) that rethink the boundaries between institutional history and individual experiences of international Geneva.

New links have been forged thanks to our project, notably between the media world supported by FONSART - publisher of geneveMonde.ch - and the world of international organizations. New stories have emerged, shedding light on individual paths that are often marginalized in the great history of multilateralism. New opportunities for collaboration with the academic world have been seized; we are thinking in particular of the new public history course at the University of Geneva. We are committed to working with students to offer them innovative ways of expressing history. But the bulk of our work is focused on historical mediation for the general public. To this end, we took part in the last edition of the Festival Histoire et Cité, and will be present in 2024. We are regularly called upon to take part in cultural and academic events. Next spring, our platform will be the sole bearer of the history of international Geneva, alongside 16 international organizations during a week dedicated to the UN.

Bringing the history of international Geneva closer to home

As well as continuing with our current productions, in 2024 we will be offering new formats adapted to wide digital consultation. This will be the case, for example, with a monthly feature, "Historic Express", a three-question interview on various aspects of the history of international Geneva. We are also launching a shorter video format, "International Geneva with a GoPro", which will enable readers to discover new, forgotten and unusual places in International Geneva. In this way, we aim to give a "general public" dimension to a history and places, so distant and yet so close, that make Geneva and its citizens an open world.

This first year also invites us to reflect on the participatory dimension that lies at the heart of the project, following in the footsteps of the popular success of notreHistoire.ch. We have to admit that this participatory dimension has not yet blossomed on geneveMonde.ch, and that it is difficult to achieve within the framework of the history of international Geneva. There are several reasons for this, according to our own reflections, which can be summed up in one main one: the history of international Geneva, impressive perhaps, is self-imposed, and it is undoubtedly difficult to express an individual memory. It's up to us editors to mediate between history, memory and remembrance. We have also found the expected participatory dimension elsewhere, in the links forged through our editorial work and our collaborations with archivists, institutions, the University of Geneva, and all those who have worked and continue to work in the context of international Geneva, and who have chosen to share their history.

Against the diktat of opinions

In the light of current local and international events, it may seem out of place to emphasize the history of international cooperation, multilateralism and commitments to human, social and environmental rights. And yet, it is in these uncertain times that we need to know what we're talking about, to encourage critical thinking and to build a judgment for which knowledge of the past supports us against the diktat of opinions and withdrawal reflexes. The bearers of the League of Nations were already well aware of this. Witness this quote from Albert Thomas, from 1932, in which he describes the moral crisis of internationalism: "What the crisis is affecting, what it has delayed and hindered, is the confident development of mutual international obligations, the voluntary cooperation of all States, a cooperation already so difficult to establish, after centuries of opposition and wars, but made even more difficult by those kinds of instinctive retractions, of turning in on oneself, in which peoples rush, in the practical universal." For Albert Thomas, the crisis should more than ever engage the responsibility of international organizations, a message that geneveMonde.ch wishes to convey at its own level.

geneveMonde.ch editorial team

Illustration: Ian Prince

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