Creating space for dialogue and reflection among the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina

01/30/2019

Bosnia and Herzegovina suffered from devastating armed conflict in the 1990s that cost around 100.000 people’s lives. The consequences the violence has left in society and individuals can still be seen and felt today. Divisions in the country prevail and impact politics as well as the daily lives of people. The conflict and its history are often discussed from competing and mutually exclusive standpoints that prevent an open and reflective discussion, and ultimately reconciliation.

Therefore, we are aiming to overcome the silence and create a constructive space for dialogue and reflection among the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We do this by organising dialogue and discussion workshops facilitated by our local team based in Sanski Most in northwestern Bosnia and Herzegovina. The workshops are based on biographical interview episodes gathered from the region.

As a first major activity of the project “Memory and History as the Basis for Social Reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina” our international team joined the local activities from 20-22 November 2018. The meeting was organised in Sanski Most, with visits to the nearby towns of Prijedor and Ljubija.

Together with our partners from the Center for Peacebuilding, we discussed current realities and political dynamics with a view of better embedding our project and its activities within the local context.

We also used the opportunity to listen to interview episodes from Georgia and Abkhazia as well as experiences collected by the local team. We were encouraged to see so many are people willing to share their stories. The initial feedback from the first dialogue workshops indicates that the participants are also open to engage with the interviews showing that there is a good basis for our approach in the region. We now aim to increase the reach of the project.