Category Archives: Report

POP 2018 Report

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This year’s Project on Peacebuilding consisted of participants between the ages of 17-35. This group was filled with thoughtful individuals who listened to one another as they learned about the war in Bosnia and its effect on the Prijedor municipality. Group members created space for processing the events of a difficult past and worked together towards a future filled with acceptance and peace for the communities of Prijedor, Omarska, Trnopolje, Kozarac, Kevljani, and Lubija. The project studied the concentrations camps of Trnopolje and Omarska in the context of the Bosnian War of 1992-1995. Participants had workshops on peace building, listened to survivors’ stories, collected community surveys on the area, and collaborated on memorialization for the areas. As the week progressed with workshops and seminars, it became apparent that the politics of memory came to the forefront of most of our major discussions.

Memory shapes our relationship to the past and our existence in the present moment. The idea of memory is threefold: ​personal, societal, and official​. Personal memory colours one’s own personal experience of an event. This is apparent in the impact of the project on our own perceptions and experiences, as well as the impact of experiencing the war in Bosnia first hand on an individual level. ​Societal memory is created through a collective experience formed from the side of the war on which one found themselves. This creates an absolute truth for some, but as we learned, creates a refuted truth through another group’s eyes. Because of this disagreement, Bosnia and Herzegovina has no absolute truth that can be agreed upon by all of society which, in turn, has created conflict in historical accounts and collective memory. Lastly, ​official memory ​normally is agreed upon by the government officials and generally performed as “truth”. Unfortunately, in the Prijedor municipality, nationalistic monuments have been erected at former concentration camps; history has become a debate, and memorialization for the victims of crimes against humanity have been stifled.

Through this report, the Project on Peacebuilding group has created a “kaleidoscope of memory” ​in order to process the personal memories of the group, the societal memories of the local population, and the official memories that have become a point of contention throughout the country. In this way, the intricacies of this area and the politics of memory can be explored through the eyes of Bosnians, diaspora, internationals, and official accounts.

Download the full report here: POP Report 2018

Community Survey 2018
This is the third year of the Community Survey. POP participants have conducted the community survey in 2015, 2017, and 2018. The survey includes demographic questions (age, gender, ethnicity) in addition to questions about civic participation (registered to vote, donated to parties, participate in organizations). Other questions ask respondents about local perceptions of inter-ethnic relations and peacebuilding. In total, the community survey collected 154 responses in 2018.

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This year, more people had a poor opinion of inter-ethnic programs than in previous surveys. For example, 39% of respondents in Kozarac described interethnic programs as poor in 2018, whereas only 10% did in 2015 and 2017. Similarly, in Prijedor, 26% reported poor opinions in 2018, whereas only 14% had previously.

Select Findings from 2018

  • The economy is still the most important issue (58%), followed by education (16%), healthcare (9%), and inter-ethnic relations (6%).
  • Corruption stands out as an important issue in Prijedor (14%)
  • Drugs stands out as an important issue in Kevljani (10%)
  • The majority of respondents had family abroad (65%), but not in Prijedor (49%).
  • A very low percentage of people donate to political parties.
  • Kevljani has a much higher percentage of retired people (20%).
  • 83% of respondents had not participated in any peacebuilding activities in 2018.
  • 81% of Kevljani were registered to vote, while 64% of Prijedor and only 44% of Kozarac.
  • 52% of respondents rarely or never talk about politics with their family or friends.
  • 57% of Kevljani always votes, while 37% of Prijedor and 31% of Kozarac.

POP 2017 Report

Democracy & Post-Conflict Politics in Bosnia

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When making coffee in Bosnia, the saying goes that you should always expect an unexpected guest, and therefore always pour an extra cup. This attitude of welcoming unexpected guests really resonates for our group as we navigated ethnic tensions, asking difficult questions, and exploring sensitive topics. As part of the Project on Peacebuilding, we felt as though Bosnia welcomed us in and pulled up an extra seat at the table.

This report is designed to collate the growth, knowledge, and first-hand research from Most Mira’s Project on Peacebuilding. Through interviews, lectures, discussions, a community survey, and personal conversations, this report explores some of our findings from our week in Kevljani. First, we describe the site visits in Omarska, Trnopolje, Kozarac, Kevljani, Ljubija, and Prijedor. Second, we present the findings of the 2017 community survey. Third, we go in-depth in a case study about segregation in schools. Finally, we conclude with reflections and quotations from POP participants.

Opinion of inter-ethnic programs
Responses from the Community Survey: Inter-Ethnic Programs

It was important to have a mixture of Bosnian and international participants on the course to have a variety of opinions and gain first-hand insight from those who have grown up here. Some were Bosnians who live in the area, while others were diaspora. Some came from further afield, flying in from Hungary, Britain, and Spain among others. This report was written collaboratively and co-authored by all the participants contributing their thoughts on the course, site visits, specific conversations or questions, as well as analysing larger topics or ideas.

The ethnic tensions deeply ingrained in Bosnia only serve as a reminder that learning is a continual process, and that one of the greatest things we can offer each other is simply to sit down, have a cup of coffee, and listen.

“Project on Peacebuilding 2017: Democracy & Post-Conflict Politics in Bosnia” – Download the full report: PDF.

POP 2015 Report

What is Local Peacebuilding?

This year’s Project on Peacebuilding (POP) was motivated by one central question: what does peacebuilding look like when it is driven by grassroots local activism, rather than top-down or international institutions?

Peacebuilding is often understood as work driven and led by government or international organisations, but local activists and local communities are the main stakeholders in this delicate peace that is trying to be built. In order to explore this theme, the group engaged in discussions, workshops, and activism with a variety or local organisations and groups.

This report is a collection of reflections by participants in the 2015 Project on Peacebuilding organised by Most Mira, in partnership with Humanity in Action.

“Local Activism for Local Peacebuilding – August 2015”
Download the full report: PDF

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2014 Report: Project on Peacebuilding

2014 Report - Project on Peacebuilding2014 was the first year of the Project on Peacebuilding, building on last year’s Most Mira – Humanity in Action International Exchange. We were a group of 11 people: four Bosnians and seven international participants. Six of us were Humanity in Action (HiA) Senior Fellows. We arrived in Bosnia and Herzegovina just weeks after floodwaters threatened to wipe away parts of the country still struggling to heal wounds of war that are now two decades deep.  As part of the Project on Peacebuilding (PoP), we came to Prijedor to learn about arts and activism in Republika Srpska.

This year’s report is unconventional: it is a collection of art,  stories, quotes, photography, and poetry from participants of the Project on Peacebuilding. All of the art are original pieces  inspired by the artists’ engagement with Humanity in Action, Most Mira, and our time in Bosnia.

Please download the report  or view it below. We hope you enjoy!

Download: 2014 Report – Project on Peacebuilding

2013 Report: ‘Creative Commons: Engaging Youth in Peacebuilding through Art in Bosnia and Herzegovina’

Launch of our report from the Most Mira – Humanity in Action International Exchange

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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.

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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.

Why Use

Art?

This project was supported by the Humanity in Action’s

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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.