Arta Uka

Thesis Title: What are the experiences of children from the Kosovo Conflict 1998-1999 and can they transcend beyond the classic narrative of children solely as war victims?

Abstract: According to Save the Children, in 2018, 1 in 6 children were more at risk from conflict-related violence. That number has grown exponentially with the war in Ukraine, where children are killed, wounded and traumatized. Yet, children’s experience of war receives relatively little attention, especially upon the different roles that children play in conflict and post-conflict contexts, as active participants in combat roles and within supporting civilian resistance when gathering supplies. The aim of this research is to evaluate the roles embodied by children in the Kosovo Conflict, 1998-99, and in the post-war period. The research will draw on written testimonies, oral histories and visual representations within the archives of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the Kosovo Special Court and other repositories. As in other contexts, Kosovo’s war memorialisation tends to recognise children solely as victims of the atrocities that were committed. However, this project, although not neglecting how children were victimised within the conflict, will greatly emphasise the agency that children had within the Kosovo Conflict. It will also investigate how such generations of children also acted as post-war peacebuilders after the conflict ended. By re-evaluating the role that children had within the Kosovo Conflict as more than just victims, it will inform the development of policies and how children’s experiences are commemorated.

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