Welcome to the Voices of Memory website! We are happy to have you here!

This is a creative and safe space to make heard and seen formerly invisible and marginalized voices and stories. We hope our creative programs and products connect with many of you both nationally and internationally and extend a sense of shared experience and responsibility to advance a more just and inclusive society.

Our story

The Voices of Memory started as a collective of nine Tunisian women from across the country and two women from outside Tunisia with different experiences and different ages, united in their belief in the power of storytelling as a vehicle for change.

Brought together by the International Center for Transitional Justice and University of Birmingham, and using the principles of collaboration and co-creation, starting in January 2017, they worked together  to create different narratives about dignity, respect for rights, and empathy, with a focus on women’s experiences in Tunisia.

The Voices of Memory project has since grown to become a laboratory of artistic programs, which highlight the social role of art and civic engagement in processes of memory and reconciliation, and, hence, in promoting human and women’s rights, and artistic freedom.

We aim to create programs that promote storytelling, participatory art, and collective memory while nurturing and mentoring the vision, and ideas of young people.

We collaborate with artists, youth organizations and locally-based initiatives to center the voices of young people both in their communities and online. We help to reshape conversations about the importance of memory in rebuilding our collective identities.

What we do?

Our programs employ best practices of participatory art and civic engagement while encouraging young people to reflect upon past and current issues relevant to them. We create safe spaces that challenge them to find, develop, and apply their voices as creators and drivers of societal change.

Our programs seek to empower young people with opportunities to discover and develop their own voices. We focus on collaboration and group learning through active, and participatory experiences. We catalyze youth reflections about how the past relates to the present and future and their role in shaping the society they want for Tunisia.

Understanding the past, is one of the first steps toward developing greater empathy and thinking critically about what happened in the past and how the legacy of violence and injustice continues to affect youth and their communities. Our programs support youth to understand their community dynamics, identify pressing social and political issues and help them to be advocates of substantive reforms.

Our core team

We would like first to thank all of the people who were (and are still) actively involved in this project, with particular gratitude to the Voices of Memory collective who initiated this journey with us. We appreciate your ideas, and feedback that continuously help to push the work further.

Now, let’s meet our VOM core members:

Nadia Jmal, Program officer

As a program officer for ICTJ, Nadia is in charge of development, strategy and design of civic engagement projects in support of ICTJ’s work on Transitional Justice with a particular focus on gender, participatory art and Tunisian collective memory. In 2018, she occupied the role of a cultural mediator at the Voices of Memory exhibition in Tunis. Hearing the stories of women’s experiences of repression in Tunisia, propelled her commitment to advance greater equality and respect for women’s rights in Tunisia.

Before joining the ICTJ, Nadia was the Vice-president of iBuild Africa, an organization that supports youth-led peace-building initiatives, and facilitates a safe space for dialogue and conflict transformation in fragile contexts in Africa. She graduated with a degree in humanities from the University of Manouba, where she specialized in English literature and contemporary civilizations. She is now an MA candidate in Cross-Cultural Studies at the University of Carthage.

Virginie Ladisch, Senior expert

Virginie Ladisch is a senior expert in truth seeking and civic engagement at the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ). She currently leads ICTJ’s work in the United States and Australia, as well as the Children and Youth program. She has provided guidance and technical expertise to a wide range of transitional justice approaches across the globe, including in Canada, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Liberia, The Gambia, Kenya, Nepal, Tunisia, and Uganda. Across all her work, Virginie focuses on how engaging citizens—particularly youth—in transitional justice processes can serve to catalyze broader public debate and ongoing civic activism. Committed to listening to survivors and problem solving with them to advance effective responses, Virginie seeks to open spaces for more inclusive participation in policy and programming discussions.

Prior to joining ICTJ, Virginie was awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship for independent research, during which she carried out extensive fieldwork on truth commissions and reconciliation in South Africa and Guatemala.  Her work has been published in the International Journal of Transitional Justice,  the Journal of Public and International Affairs, the Cyprus Review, and the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth. Virginie Ladisch holds an M.A. in International Affairs from the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University and a B.A. in Political Science from Haverford College.

Dr Christalla Yakinthou, Political scientist

Dr Christalla Yakinthou is a practice-focused political scientist in the University of Birmingham’s POLSIS department.She specialises in cultivating greater survivor and activist ownership of transitional justice processes, and on building more trustful, engaged, and inclusive societies after conflict and autocracy.

Christalla has worked in transitional justice for the last 13 years as a practitioner, researcher, lecturer, and advisor in transitioning contexts globally, and is committed to bridging the gaps between practice and academia. She has an original background in constitutional design for divided societies, and subsequent training in transitional justice and public law. Her most recent publications are ‘Cultivated Collaboration in Transitional Justice Practice and Research: Reflections on Tunisia’s Voices of Memory Project’, with Virginie Ladisch, in the International Journal of Transitional Justice, and Transitional Justice, International Assistance, and Civil Society: Missed Connections, with Paige Arthur, for Cambridge University Press.