A public culture of remembrance serves to shape not only the collective memory of past events, but to guide the way towards reconciliation. Young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina continue to struggle with the legacy of the war that took place in the 1990s. Stuck between a troublesome past and an uncertain future, they are confronted with a socio-political environment heavily divided along ethno-national lines. Widespread distrust and fear continue to be perpetuated in politics, media, education and the commemorative landscape, leaving little narrative space for the youth to voice their own opinions or concerns. Within this repressive atmosphere, it is difficult for the younger generation to develop the critical thinking skills that would allow for an inclusive reflection on past, present and future.
In collaboration with the Anne Frank House and Youth Initiative for Human Rights – Bosnia & Herzegovina, Humanity in Action Bosnia & Herzegovina and two Senior Fellows, Laura Boerhout (2012 Amsterdam Fellowship) and Lamija Landžo (2010 Berlin Fellowship), led a Memory Walk workshop in Sarajevo and nearby Istočno Sarajevo in 2013 which encouraged Bosnian youth from different backgrounds to critically reflect on the monuments and contested histories in their living environment. 15 High School students from across the country participated and split into teams to create short films on specific monuments.
Debate and dialogue are among the mechanisms through which the youth of the Balkan region can build bridges around their common past and therebz shape a better future for all.