SARAJEVO, Bosnia & Herzegovina
I encountered some of the most hospitable and compassionate people on the globe during my time in Sarajevo. Sarajevo historically has always been a cultural crossroads between the east and west, some call it the 'little Jerusalem.' The cities buildings show bullet-holed scars, and its people are hopeful for a peaceful future.
My students in humanities focused on Ethnic Conflict. We began by investigating the Bosnian War between 1992-1995. University professor Amir Duranovic and Tina from Project Mozaic were instrumental in providing us the whole picture. Students were warned about the danger of a single story.
"In war we all lose."
– Director Danis Tanovic after being asked why both characters die at the end of Academy Award winning No Man's Land.
After understanding the Bosnian ethnic conflict students were tasked with creating a United Nations styled Situation Report about another ethnic conflict in the world. The students applied peacemaking strategies in presenting their situation reports after collaborating with a peacemaking consultant.
We secured Brig. General Giselle Wilz of NATO to speak to us about the Dayton Accords. She spoke candidly about the challenges of running a country that was formed by a peace treaty. She also took questions about the role of gender in her ascent through the U.S. military. My last experience in Sarajevo was when a friend invited us to her Naqshbandi Sufi order. Their ritual chanting was the closest I have felt to the divine in a very long time. After the ritual ended and the Seih was about to begin, he introduced us like this,
"Here with us tonight are musafir, they do not speak our language but they speak the language of the heart."
– Seih Kasim introduces us at the Tekija Mesudia