Project „Children of War to Children of Peace, learning from the war past“ in cooperation with Visegradfund and Udruženje Boraca Maloljetni Dobrovoljci Obrambeno-Oslobodilačkog Rata 92-95 Kantona Sarajevo (UB MDR-KS)
Description of the project:
„Children of War to Children of Peace, learning from the war past“ is a youth ethnic reconciliation project kindly sponsored and provided by Visegrad Fund implemented in BiH.
The Fund is an international donor organization, established in 2000 by the governments of the Visegrad Group countries—Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia to promote regional cooperation in the Visegrad region (V4) as well as between the V4 region and other countries, especially in the Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership regions. The Fund does so by awarding €8 million through grants, scholarships and artist residencies provided annually by equal contributions of all the V4 countries. Other donor countries (Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States) have provided another €10 million through various grant schemes run by the Fund since 2012 (https://www.visegradfund.org/).
War veterans association – Juvenile volunteers of the war of independence and liberation 92-95 Canton Sarajevo (UB-MDR KS) is non-profit organizations operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This organization stands independently outside of political involvement and includes former child soldiers from all three former (Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian and others) armies in Bosnia and Herzegovina (http://www.mdr-ks.com).
The Dayton Agreement ended the Bosnian war but it also created divisions between ethnic groups living in BiH. This divisions are currently undermining the achievement of long-term stability and reconciliation of the country and represent potential problems for the future as well. The young generation is especially vulnerable segment of a population in that matter. They are growing up in a divided society that is affected by the legacy of war.
Accordingly, the youth can become both a positive and negative factor in the peacebuilding process. The question is how the young generation of BiH can enhance peace dialogue and reconciliation of the society? We believe that education plays a significant role.
Our project aims to provide prevention, teaching tolerance and youth empowerment. The aim is to teach the youth to think critically about past events and constructively about future events in a way to lead peacebuilding and reconciliation dialogues in BiH.
The goal is to provide students with most relevant information about BiH war past through the first-hand experience by the team of lecturers – former underage soldiers who come from all three ethnic backgrounds – Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs, united in an organisation „Udruženje boraca – Maloljetni dobrovoljci odbrambeno-oslobodilačkog rata 1992-1995 Kantona Sarajevo“.
Previously at the frontline of their respective armies, they are now working together to send a strong message of peace among the young generation via the “peer to peer” format of education. They already pursued a project “Children of war to children of peace” in the past. What we aim with this project is to deepen the impact from the previous one and continue its ideas on conflict prevention and youth empowerment. The V4 perspective will provide an insight into the peaceful coexistence of various nationalities working together for a common good as well. The most important message is to prioritize at any circumstances a constructive dialogue before entering a violent conflict.
The main objective is to teach young generation tolerance and provide them counter-narratives to one-sided views of Balkan war past and to radical ideas. The young generation in Western Balkans should be also encouraged in open interethnic dialogue and mutual understanding rather than nourish hate and xenophobia.
The project has been proposed by CSAP (Center for Security Analysis and Prevention), Prague, Czech Republic in cooperation with our dearest V4 partners Schuman Institute, Hungary, Res Publica, Poland and OZ Prima, Slovakia and the University of Banja Luka, BiH.