“Building together”

“Building together” was a topic of an event organized by Nansen Dialogue Center Sarajevo and Foundation Schüler Helfen Leben (SHL) in Jajce from 6 to 8 May.

'The youth of Jajce are not alone '', confirmed the hundreds of their peers from all over Bosnia and Herzegovina gathered in Jajce.

Aiming to provide peer support and encourage young people of Jajce in their civic activism to continue to influence decision makers and support activities of Nansen Dialogue Center Sarajevo that organized conference “Jajce, another success story or ... ???”, SHL Foundation held its annual event under the framework of event “Building together” in Jajce.

On the first day of the youth meeting during the annual SHL event, the youth of Jajce, primarily pupils of Vocational High School that opposed ethnic segregation within the education system, presented their needs and expectations. Through the peer dialogue, they nominated candidates for Ambassadors of activism and the best project supported by the Foundation SHL in 2016.

Those presentations reminded us of the 25 positive stories realized during 25 years of SHL in BiH.

This included memories of the first rebuilt school by SHL in Mostar in 1995 followed by the construction and renovation of kindergartens, building SHL house for uninterrupted education of young people of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a youth magazine, establishment of the Association of high school students and a youth news agency to participate in conscientious objection campaign and direct influence on the decision to abolish compulsory military service in Bosnia and Herzegovina. These and other activities are rounded off in 2010 with the launch of an annual SHL event to allow young people to participate in decision-making. The event in each successive edition gathered 100 young people from across the country.

The highlight of the second day of the event “Building together” were voluntary actions of pupils at the Vocational High School in Jajce. Together, they painted school walls inside and outside the school, transforming the monotonous education space to the space of serenity. The second day involved proclamation of Ambassadors of activism and the best projects to be supported by the SHL foundation, as chosen by the participants of the event.

The conference on theme “Jajce-another success story or ... ???” was the finale of the event “Building together”. It was organized to raise awareness of national and international authorities and organizations to the needs of pupils of Vocational High School in Jajce. Their clear “No” to segregation we perceive as a political act “par excellence”, surely unprecedented in the recent history of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Together with representatives of students and professors of Vocational High School in Jajce (Professor Josipa Kulenovic, professors Mirko Ljubez and Tarik Zjajo and students Ivica Jukanović and Nikolas Rimac), speakers at the conference panels were Susanne Mattis from Department of Media and Culture of the German Embassy in BiH and Edin Hozan, Mayor of Jajce.

The role of local and international actors in creation of conditions for social change were discussed by Maja Uzelac from “Mali Korak” from Zagreb, Eva Komlossyova from the Department of Development Studies at Palacky University from the Czech Republic, Goran Bubalo of the Peace Building Network BiH, Aida Becirovic, Director of SHL Foundation in BiH and Nathalie Rajević, representative of SHL Foundation from Berlin.

Ljuljjeta Gorani-Brkic and Nebojsa Šavija-Valha (NDC Sarajevo), Goran Lojančić, representative of the Nansen Dialogue Network, Taner Popeye representative of Nansen Youth Forum of peacebuilders from Jajce and Stefan Pavlovic of Nansen Youth Forum of peacebuilders from Bratunac presented the NDC approach and activities of Nansen Dialogue Center Sarajevo with members of the coordination board and the Nansen forum of youth peacebuilders implemented in Jajce since 2009.

That young people are not obliged to live the consequences of misguided policies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is only their view that is relevant when it comes to the future of education in Jajce and that their generation has the task to correct what their predecessors left behind as the ''legacy'' are some of the statements at the conference.

The most important is the unambiguous decision of the pupils of Vocational High School in Jajce not to give up on their resistance to the division within the education system and their willingness for independent decision-making. Equally important is the fact that, regardless of political decisions and still vague answer whether Jajce is another success story or not, the processes that the NDC started 2009 in Jajce are recognized and supported as unstoppable by the local participants.