APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
Humanity in Action hopes to play a small, but important role in addressing the ethnic division still in existence in Bosnia and Herzegovina. HIA is building a multiethnic network of young Bosnian leaders committed to breaking down barriers and strengthening civil society in their communities. To date, HIA has established a foundation for this network by inviting more than 40 outstanding Bosnian students (representing all of Bosnia's ethnic and religious communities) to participate in HIA's international fellowship programs and by opening an office in Bosnia and Herzegovina to support the on-the-ground initiatives and social entrepreneurship of HIA's Bosnian alumni. HIA intends to use this commitment as a catalyst to rapidly expand both the scope of HIA's local work and the number of Bosnian students whom HIA reaches. HIA also intends to use this commitment to develop new partnerships among Bosnian civil society, the donor community and other youth organizations.
Additionally, HIA is developing an in-depth curriculum that will focus on exploring these difficult issues during its International Conference. HIA will raise awareness among its 250 conference attendees about the complexity of Bosnia's challenges, addressing issues such as school segregation, political discord and the legacy of the Balkan conflict. It will also showcase examples of how some young Bosnians are taking action on the local level to overcome divisions within their society. HIA believes that this commitment will encourage Bosnian youth to become more active in their communities and that HIA's young leaders from around the world will remain engaged with Bosnian issues after they return home.
HIA is approaching this commitment with several key objectives in mind:
- Raising awareness about threats to diversity and democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina;
- Encouraging HIA's young leaders to develop projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina that will rebuild social trust and contribute to strengthening democratic institutions;
- Providing skills-building workshops that empower participants to implement their ideas, projects and campaigns more effectively;
- Sharing the insights from this conference with the broader public through HIA's social media channels and partner organizations; and
- Building partnerships and interest within Bosnia and Herzegovina and the international community to expand HIA's educational programs in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
HIA's methodology will draw upon its proven track record of organizing international conferences of similar scope. It will define the intellectual framework for the program, for instance by developing strategies for discussing difficult issues like the legacy of the atrocities in Srebrenica and the political separation of Republika Srpska, the Bosnian Serb political entity, from the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the political entity for Bosnian Muslims and Croats. HIA will develop this framework and identify speakers, workshop trainers and discussion leaders in close consultation with HIA's alumni in Bosnia and Herzegovina, its local Bosnian Board of Directors and experts from around the world.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
This program will be implemented by HIA's experienced team of conference organizers, managed by HIA's international headquarters in New York, with on-the-ground implementation overseen by HIA's local office in Sarajevo. Conference promotion will begin in March 2012, the conference agenda will be finalized in May 2012, the conference itself will run from June 28 to July 1, 2012, and a detailed evaluation will take place soon afterwards. Deliverables include the conference for 250 people, podcasts and video recordings of conference sessions and a report evaluating the conference.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a nation deeply divided by ethnic and religious divisions despite nearly two decades of postwar peace. The breakdown of Bosnia's multicultural society that began with ethnic cleansing and armed conflict among the Bosnian Serbs, Croats and Bosnian Muslims has been perpetuated-and, in some ways, worsened-by self-segregation, political dysfunction and the erosion of trust at the local level. As an example, Bosnian educational policy has led to segregated classrooms in which Bosnia's schoolchildren are taught separate curricula that promote competing historical narratives and reinforce prejudices enflamed by the war. From the local level of school classrooms to divisions within its federal government, Bosnia and Herzegovina faces an uncertain future for sustaining a peaceful, multicultural democracy.
SEEKING: Financial Resources, Best Practice Information, Media/Marketing Opportunities
HIA invites members of the CGI U community to attend the HIA International Conference and to become involved in HIA's efforts to expand within Bosnia and Herzegovina. HIA welcomes members of the community to promote the conference, to suggest speakers, to introduce HIA to potential partners and to raise awareness about HIA's local ambitions.
OFFERING: Best Practice Information
HIA is pleased to offer free access to any partners to broadcast the video and podcast recordings from its conference. HIA also would welcome discussions about showcasing partner organizations' innovative projects (i.e., best practices) that relate to reconciliation and democracy building.