From Remembrance to Reconciliation: Youth from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Serbia Discuss Past

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA/KOSOVO/SERBIA – Supported by RYCO and the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund through the second RYCO Open Call for Project Proposals, the Humanitarian Law Center from Serbia, in partnership with the Centre for Youth KVART from Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Humanitarian Law Center from Kosovo, implemented the project “From Remembrance to Reconciliation: Forming a new generation of peace and reconciliation activists in the former Yugoslavia”.

The project took place from January to November 2020 and brought together 20 young participants in an online program of intercultural dialogue and engagement on dealing with the past. The program helped to establish a new generation of reconciliation activists in the region by strengthening the young participants’ knowledge and critical thinking skills as well as by establishing new cross-cultural bonds between them.

“Learning about the past should be the first step towards a common future which will be based on understanding and mutual appreciation. The exchange program that was designed by HLC in many ways helps to understand the past and also points out how unsolved problems affect our future,” Executive Director of the Humanitarian Law Center from Serbia Ms Ivana Žanić emphasized.

The online exchange program consisted of three workshops which provided youth with an opportunity to explore and discuss topics related to transitional justice, war, ethnic and religious divisions, remembrance and reconciliation.

“I am honored that I had the opportunity to listen to lectures and discussions with renowned lecturers, experts, and long-term fighters for human rights, tolerance, and common coexistence in these spaces. The work and deeds of many of them were even before this program my motivation for practicing law, being active in the NGO sector, nourishing and manifesting real values, therefore I am delighted with their chosen themes which we had the opportunity to learn about,” Mr Aldin Mavrić, one of the young participants, stated. 

Speaking of this new experience, Ms Divna Prusać, another project participant added: “I strongly believe that the exchange program served all of us as a platform for both individual and professional growth and progress because it enabled us to see past the convoluted narratives of denial and interethnic intolerance imposed in the region. I am looking forward to participating in future programs organized by the Humanitarian Law Center since it is only by constantly strengthening the capacities of civil society that we can support reconciliation and promote peacebuilding in the Western Balkans.”

Bringing together youth of the region to discuss and explore topics of remembrance and dealing with the past will empower them to actively promote peace and reconciliation and take part in peacebuilding processes. The project implemented by the Humanitarian Law Center from Serbia and its partners fostered knowledge and experience sharing as well as cross-border cooperation among a new network of young peace activists in the Western Balkan region. 


*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.

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