Youth program Living monuments

Project description:

After the war that happened in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the virus of ethno-nationalism appeared as a result of politics, and it is still difficult to find the cure. When we talk about young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina, we think of the generation of young people who were born during the war, or after the war, who do not remember the events of the war. In the current political environment, where the theme of war is still ubiquitous and very often the main focus of every event, young people are constantly exposed to distorted interpretations of the past, that is, they are exposed to the interpretations of current political leaders who block the peace building process. After the war, various programs were developed with the aim of “breaking down” blockages between young people. This is precisely why this Interethnic Camp had the goal of working on communication and connecting young people from different regions in order to build mutual trust that leads to building peace. In addition to mutual trust, the Living Monuments project aimed to create an opportunity where the voice of the “separated” will be heard together.

Project goals:

Building inter-ethnic trust among young people and encouraging mutual dialogue of a group of 25 young people. In addition, the goal is to educate and train young people to carry out peace-building activities that promote the values ​​of inter-ethnic dialogue, non-violent conflict resolution and coexistence in their local communities and beyond. A very important goal is to point out the importance of exchanging knowledge and giving voice to young people who cross ethnic, religious and other borders in Bosnia and Herzegovina. By giving young people a voice, it aims to improve inter-ethnic understanding and tolerance across Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The first activity of the youth program “Living Monuments” is the peace camp that gathers 18 young people and 6 lecturers from all over Bosnia and Herzegovina. The camp covered various topics such as divisions within BiH, differences between the concepts of nationality and ethnicity, ethno-nationalism, concepts of peace building, dialogue between ethnic groups, and the concept of political manipulation and its effect on the everyday life of citizens. In the second part of the camp, young people have the opportunity to attend the “Living Library” concept, where three people tell their personal stories, which are directly related to the war. The stories that the young people hear are the stories of women who survived wartime sexual violence, children who were born as a result of war-time rape, as well as stories about the suffering of Roma families during the war. After mapping, 20 young people are divided into 5 groups, after which they work on designing peace actions in local communities. The peace actions aim to encourage young people to participate in inter-ethnic dialogue, which results in sending a common message to young people from different ethnic groups. Peace actions include various activities such as: creating exhibitions, writing individual and joint stories, organizing tribunes/round tables.

Peace actions were held in Srebrenik, Gradačac, Kalesija, Donji Vakuf, Srebrenica, Stolac and Zenica. After the peace actions across Bosnia and Herzegovina, the youth conference “My voice, my peace” was held in the period from July 22, to July 25, 2021, in the premises of the Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was attended by 30 young people from all over Bosnia and Herzegovina.

We proudly present our partners at the youth conference: Women’s Association for Rural Development, Sustainable Return, Reintegration and Resocialization of Returnees “Zvijezda” Vareš, Association Victims of war, Foča 92-95, Street Arts Festival Mostar, Youth Resource Center Tuzla, CAT BiH (Citizens against terrorism BiH), Network of activist changes MAP, Obojena klapa, Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Tanja Ćurić, Nejra Latić Husić.

Donor: American Embassy in BiH; Project duration: 12 months