Democracy & Peacebuilding in Bosnia & Herzegovina
A week-long course examining the history, context, and changing politics of peacebuilding
It is now more than twenty years since the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) but the economy is still struggling, the infrastructure is still crumbling, and the political institutions are still stalled in conflict. For the international community, Bosnia is the textbook case for post-conflict peacebuilding, but what has actually been achieved?
This weeklong course will engage students in the history, political context, and processes of change in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the Dayton Peace Accords in 1995. Students will participate in workshops designed to expand their understanding and knowledge of peacebuilding and its challenges, in addition to guided site visits in the region.
This immersive experience is ideal for people (18-30) who want to learn more about the history of BiH and activists currently working in the region. You do not have to be enrolled in a university to participate. Now in its sixth year, the Project on Peacebuilding provides the chance for learners to engage in cross cultural learning, gain experience in the field, and develop their research and public speaking skills through interactive workshops designed to challenge and engage future peacebuilders. We are keen to work with young adults of all backgrounds from Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Balkan region, and internationally.
When: 2-9 August 2019
Where: Prijedor, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)
Who’s eligible: Young people and students (ages 18-30).
We cover the travel expenses for participants living in BiH. Those living outside Bosnia and Herzegovina will need to fund their own travel to Prijedor. Once in Prijedor, the travel, food and basic shared dorm accommodation will be covered by the program. Please bring additional spending money to cover some food for the week.
The deadline is 15 May 2019. Please complete the application online:
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and all applicants will be notified in June. If you have any questions about the program and the logistics of taking part, please feel free to contact the Most Mira team.
Democracy & Post-Conflict Politics in Bosnia
While most courses on the Balkans focus exclusively on the 1995 conflict and Dayton agreement, this course aims to dig deeper into current politics in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Whole generations of Bosnian young people have grown up in the post-conflict political context, which was focused on who and what was done during the war, but these factors do not define all of current Bosnian politics. The Bosnian diaspora who fled to Europe, US, and elsewhere, have growing influence, both financially through remittances and through social movements and political activism. Bosnia’s struggling economy has forced young people to be innovative in business and careers. There are also questions about how to make democracy work at both the local and national level. This course will explore issues of poverty, environmentalism, nationalism, gender, diaspora, art, community activism, regional organizations, and NGO politics.
Finally, most courses on the Balkans are located in capitals – Sarajevo, Belgrade, Zagreb – but miss the local dynamics of post-conflict politics. This course takes place in the rural village of Kevljani near Prijedor, North West Bosnia, and will be an important contrasted to accounts of peacebuilding in urban settings.
“PoP provides the chance for young Bosnians to confront a past that their parents will not enter, in a safe and supportive environment.” – Azra, 2016 participant
“Young people don’t learn in school about the past in the 90s. It’s very important for young people to know their past.” – Slajana, 2018 participant
“My favourite moments lie in the relationships that have been forged and the experiences that have been described to me. This has created a human component to a confusing, frustrating, and terrible conflict that intentional conversations with those who have experienced it begin to bring into focus.” – Elaine, 2018 participant.
9am – Session 1: Site visit to local war memorials and former detention sites
11am – Session 2: Workshop with local peacebuilders and human rights academics
2pm – Session 3: Conducting a survey on local attitudes to peacebuilding in the community
6pm – Social time: BBQ and performance by local musicians
All participants are required to write a short response and contribute to the annual project report. Certificates of participation will be given to participants who complete the full weeklong course.
This project is organised by Most Mira in partnership with the EU Studies Center at the City University of New York.
Most Mira is a charity that works in the UK and Bosnia Herzegovina to bring together children and young people to make friends across ethnicities and celebrate diversity in the Prijedor area, northern Bosnia Herzegovina. Since 2009, Most Mira has organised youth arts festivals, theatre workshops, peace building visits and tours and architectural workshops.
The European Union Studies Center (EUSC) at the City University of New York brings together American and European scholars, students and business professionals to encourage the exchange of ideas about the European Union. The goal is to facilitate research and stimulate transatlantic dialogue.
For more information, check out our reports and website: www.mostmiraproject.org.