Launch of our report from the Most Mira – Humanity in Action International Exchange
Most Mira and Humanity in Action (HIA) joined forces in May 2013 for a special project during our annual youth arts festival. This year’s program involved a multi-ethnic cast of 40 youth from the Prijedor area, who performed an adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Nights’ Dream. This year”s international exchange included HIA Senior Fellows, along with Most Mira Trustees and volunteers, engaging in research and dialogue about youth in peacebuilding.
This report presents our findings, as well as the broader context of peacebuilding and youth organizations in Bosnia and Herzegovina today.
Abstract: Myriad challenges currently face the largely stagnated peacebuilding process in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In this divided environment, working with youth and using art both have the power to contribute to conflict resolution. This report looks at youth and art organizations that address the legacy of the conflict in various ways. It highlights the work of Most Mira in the context of other grassroots organizations in BiH. Looking at these various NGO activities, this report argues that engaging youth through art opens up an essential creative space. This approach often avoids the topic of politics but directly addresses the conflict’s divisive legacy by bringing youth together across ethnic lines in the effort to help them build a common future. Engaging youth through art can therefore make a unique contribution to peacebuilding in BiH.
Why Engage Youth?
- Although many young people have no personal memory of the conflict, the war’s legacy currently shapes the country’s political, social and economic future.
- Almost two decades after the war ended in BiH, communities remain ethnically segregated, a system that a divided education system reinforces.
- Working with youth also provides an opportunity to engage adults who are both survivors and perpetrators, as these adults become involved in activities by supporting their children’s participation.
- Art expands the space for survivors, perpetrators, and the next generation to engage with their history.
- Art supports healing by allowing trauma survivors to express their truths and communicate their stories to a wider audience.
- Collective creative expression directly counters the dehumanization that occurred during the war, as young people connect by building relationships and learning from each other.
- Art provides a chance to explore new forms of expression and to
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think outside the box, potentially spurring young people’s imaginations in thinking more creatively about social and political possibilities for their country’s future.
This project was supported by the Humanity in Action’s
Senior Fellow Grant Program, made possible by the generous support from the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, Department of War Victims and Remembrance.