Nejra Lilić and Iman Karajić, third year students of the Department of International Relations and European Studies, attended a week-long training seminar organized by the Center for Non-Violent Action in Mostar on the topic of “Training in Peacebuilding for Students in Bosnia and Herzegovina” from February 22 to February 28, 2019.
The training consisted of workshops in which participants learned the competencies and skills of nonviolent peaceful action and, specifically, peacebuilding. Therefore, “knowledge that would’ve otherwise required hours and hours of in-class lecturing was effectively condensed into a week of workshops that relayed those messages to all the participants,” Lilić explained.
“The seminar included sharing and reflecting on experiences by the participants and outside educators, as well as psychological exercises that led participants to draw their own conclusions based on those experiences and interpretations thereof,” Karajić added. Topics discussed include facing the past, interethnic violence, peacebuilding, ethno-national identities, understanding conflicts, and the peaceful transformation of conflicts.
“The knowledge I had obtained during my courses, especially Ethnicity and Cultural Politics allowed me to excel at analytical and critical thinking and approach the scenarios discussed from both a micro-level and a macro-level, as well as from an analytical side and from a human side,” two the agreed.
“The most awe-inspiring of the exercises that I partook in was aimed at measuring various groups’ members’ social status and seeing the segregation in our society laid bare in front of us,” Lilić recalled. In the role-playing exercise, participants took in the roles of various members of social groups and figuratively measured their available opportunities.
Namely, each participant advanced or remained in place, depending s/he had that opportunity. “For example, we took on the roles of a political party leader, an ambassador’s daughter, an NGO director, an uneducated Roma woman, etc. After hearing each of the statements read by the facilitator, we would either move forward or stay in place, depending on whether we could do that. Example of tasks include being able to vote for whom you want, organizing a dinner for your friends, falling in love for whom you love, etc. In the end, most of us either stayed at the beginning or advanced very little.”
“Seeing the end-result was chilling, how so many groups of people have so few opportunities,” Lilić concluded. Both recommend the seminar, as well as other seminars organized by the Center for Non-Violent Action, to everyone who has an interest in social action, non-violence, segregation, and other such topics.
Dozens of participants from all over Bosnia and Herzegovina attended the seminar, which was organized by the Center for Non-Violent Action and held in the EMAUS Center in Mostar. We are very proud that our Nejra Lilić and Iman Karajić were selected as some of the best applicants and participated in the seminar.