|Ambassadors’ name||Delila Hasanbegović|
|Date of the discussion||23 January 2014|
|Place and address||Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR BH)
Mula Mustafe Bašeskije 8/IV, Sarajevo
|Name and contact person in the Institution||Nina Šeremet, program coordinator|
|Number of Participants||17|
|No of female Participants||12|
|No of male Participants||5|
|Occupation of the Participants||students, activists of YIHR BH and other NGOs, young professionals of different interests|
The discussion was based upon finding a way of reinstating/establishing the culture of peace. I organised the discussion with the assistance of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Sarajevo.
It started by the program coordinator of YIHR BH introducing the organisation, after which I gave a presentation of the YRA project/study visit: about the organiser-YEC, the supporter-The British Embassy in the Republic of Serbia, the application process, the idea behind it, the programme (recalling the activities/visits to institutions and their representatives and topics we discussed in Belgrade). After presenting the agenda, I focused on the discussions I found particularly interesting (e.g. the one with Tamara Tomašević about the power of identity, with Mr Žarko Korać, as well as the history education discussion with prof. Dubravka Stojanović).
I was more than pleased to mention the profile of the ambassadors I met in Belgrade, by emphasising their qualities and values I recognized, and by that showing the participants the meaning of us ambassadors meeting and continuing our cooperation.
Then, I introduced the guest lecturer/panelist to the participants, Ms Amila Ždralović, teaching assistant at the University of Sarajevo Law Faculty (Department for state and international public law), MA of sociological science. She gave a presentation which we used to open and encourage a discussion with about various topics, some of them being: the theoretical context for talking about reconciliation (reconciliation as a process of building peace, transitional justice, the feminist approach); the traditional and contemporary approach to peace and how have feminism and the experience of women peace activism in ex-Yugoslavia shaped those approaches to peace. We discussed about the UN Resolutions that strive to establish peace in post-conflict areas and inclusion of victims of armed conflicts in those processes.
The participants were extremely interested in the YRA project and the topics I talked about, and deeply moved to discuss with me and the guest lecturer.
They reacted on various mentions of the activities in Belgrade, e.g. the Humanitarian Law Centre’s work; they wanted to know about the answers I got from the delegate Korać on the state of political culture in the countries of the region and how we vote/choose our representatives; they wanted to express their opinions on how has identity consciousness shaped the violent tendencies in the history of the region; the existing ethnocentric stereotypes and prejudice regarding national origins and characteristics etc.
Speaking about the culture of peace and how to construct it, the participants wanted to discover if it is possible to talk about gender based approaches to peace (the ethics of concern and fairness/equity). We discussed different experiences and socialization processes in ex-Yugoslav countries as well as different history interpretations of the same past events. The strongest reaction and discussion was on the importance of understanding history and deriving a purpose from it, rather than creating single narratives. Moved by the CDRSEE’s Joint History Project I was introduced with in Belgrade, after talking about it to the participants, they identified the key issue we have to work on, in order to build the culture of peace: changing history teaching.
The participants agreed that education and civil society institutions have a leading role in the reconciliation process. After discussing current obstacles to reconciliation through the everyday examples from our society, the conclusion was that we are the ones who, by working on innovative and multi-perspective education methods, moving from conflict to dialogue, should encourage free thought, compassion, action, and celebrate diversity, along with all social factors.
The reaction was unique: we want to talk and get to know each other more and, by participating in similar discussions/peer to peer educations and projects, continue our work and be the agents of change.
My comments and reactions to their points of view were always emphasising the need for critical deliberation of our past and devotion to truth telling and justice and institutional reforms of all kinds in our different but united societies. Also, participants agreed, driven by a need of one participant, it would be useful to learn more about the etymology of the term ‘genocide’ and organise discussions on that subject. Hence, my proposal for working on solving the common problems that connect us was the starting point of anything we do: you have to believe that something different than what has happened in the past can happen and, in such a manner, keep working and progressing…
Along with the above mentioned reactions, the participants wanted to know more about the Youth Education Committee and the V generation of YRA, in order for them to apply.