A generation after war, youth build peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Over the past two years, we have worked with an amazing team of organizations through our Societal Transformation and Reconciliation (STaR) project in Bosnia and Herzegovina—Center for Peacebuilding (CIM), PRONI Center for Youth Development, Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR), and Mali Koraci – Small Steps. Now, our formal project is drawing to a close—but the team’s work will live on!
It has been inspirational to see diverse Bosnian youth and young adults take on the task of healing their society’s deep divides, with such energy, enthusiasm, creativity, and joy—and to experience the support of so many different people who survived the 1990s war.
For us at Karuna Center, the STaR project has also been an opportunity to return and build on post-war dialogue trainings we facilitated in Bosnia and Herzegovina a generation ago. In fact, one of the organizations in the STaR team was co-founded by a graduate of Karuna Center’s earlier programs. We can only imagine the impact that today’s program graduates will have on the next generation, with support from our partners in the full team!
Here are a few project highlights:
✨ STaR established new brick-and-mortar Youth Clubs in four major cities throughout the nation, that will carry on as part of PRONI. The STaR Youth Clubs have already engaged more than 1,200 young people in a range of activities that build connections across ethnic divides.
The three former commanders (pictured above) joined us for audience discussions after each screening. The outreach initiative was highlighted in a Reuters article about their story.
We are very proud to support the next generation of peacebuilders in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and it has been a privilege to work with everyone in the STaR team. We are especially grateful to Karuna Center’s Bosnia Country Director, Amra Pandžo, and Financial Manager, Adela Softic. The whole project was supported by USAID people-to-people peacebuilding funding.
We hope to continue all of these collaborations through new initiatives in the future. In the meantime, we are sure that the youth clubs, networks, initiatives, and personal transformation that began during this project will persist and grow!
Youth from different religious and ethnic backgrounds participate in a rare opportunity to visit each other’s houses of worship through STaR. Photo credit: CIM.