Bosnia and Herzegovina
In a heavily ethnicized everyday life in post-Dayton (referring to the Dayton Agreement or Dejtonski Mirovni Sporazum) Bosnia and Herzegovina, CSSP a) proposes activities aimed at strengthening local actors’ potential in achieving a high-quality dialog in society and b) imparts knowledge and skills in mediation and alternative conflict resolution methods.
The current foci of CSSP projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina are:
- Enabling and supporting citizen dialog on sensitive issues through narrative mediation in the municipalities of Prozor-Rama and Gornji Vakuf-Uskoplje which, in its first phase, resulted in a book collecting “Stories of Leaving and Returning” that can be downloaded here;
- School mediation that is being introduced to teachers, paedagogues, and students of and implemented in twenty elementary and vocational secondary schools in Mostar and for which a manual was created that can be downloaded here.
Besides, CSSP continues to support dialog activities in Mostar—where local elections were finally held in 2020 after 8 years of suspended democracy—and contribute in this way to restoring and strengthening the constructive communication between citizens and local authorities.
Partners CSSP BiH works with include: Association of Mediators of SE Europe; Association of Mediators of Bosnia and Herzegovina; Ministry of Education, Science, Culture, and Sports of Herzegovina Neretva Canton; secondary schools of Mostar; NGOs and civic initiatives in Mostar, Stolac, Prozor-Rama, and Gornji Vakuf-Uskoplje (e.g. “Glas” Prozor-Rama, “Omladinski centar Gornji Vakuf-Uskoplje, “NDC Mostar”, “Orhideja” Stolac, “Iskra” Stolac, “Gradski orkestar” Stolac, “OKC Abrasevic” Mostar, “LDA” Mostar, “Nase drustvo network” Mostar, etc.); the municipalities of Prozor-Rama, Gornji Vakuf-Uskoplje, Stolac, and Mostar.
More than 25 years after the war (1992–95), Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is still facing severe political and societal challenges in its post-conflict development. Based on the Dayton Peace Agreement that ended the war, Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croats were defined as “constituent people” in the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the territory of which has been divided into Republika Srpska, the B&H Federation (of Croats and Bosniaks) with its ten cantons, and Brčko District. Abundant administrative and political structures, as well as complex rules defining political representation based on ethnic affiliation, have major consequences in all parts of public life. For the appointment of administrative, political, and often professional functions, ethnic (i.e. party) affiliation is frequently a decisive criterium.
Reconciliation is particularly challenged by contradictory narratives about war and pre-war events. War criminals, even those convicted in front of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), are seen as heroes by Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croats for defending “their people” during the war. Separated curricula and schools for Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croats in many regions are decisively contributing to maintaining mutually exclusive and contradictory historical records.
Such a dysfunctional society, additionally burdened by its high risk on the corruption and nepotism index, inefficient judiciary, and lack of employment, does not offer prospects to its citizens, especially young people, who are immigrating to western countries on a massive scale. The Euro-Atlantic integration processes are facing many obstacles and being stalled, while the overall atmosphere is tense and charged with nationalist agendas.
Since 2007, CSSP has supported and promoted dialog among political and social stakeholders across ethnic and political lines.
CSSP has been aiming at transforming ethnicized political conflicts, reducing the influence of nationalist ideology, and promoting a culture of negotiation and creative problem-solving amongst key actors, for example through the following measures:
- Working with the BiH parliament committees, journalists, and experts on constitutional reform;
- Training the EUPM police;
- Establishing the consultative mechanism in Mostar;
- Strengthening the pre-election citizen engagement in Banja Luka;
- Establishing dialog platforms between citizens and municipalities of Capljina, Stolac, and Mostar;
- Empowering young people across the country through training courses and workshops.
Our Partners in Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Association of Mediators in Bosnia and Herzegovina was established in March 2002, with the purpose of creating conditions for the introduction of mediation as an alternative method for dispute resolution in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“No realist politics in a civilized society is imaginable unless it is based on love of one’s neighbor, mutuality, helpfulness, and trust. This is the rock upon which all human cooperation must be built.”
– Fridtjof Nansen "Nestekjærlighet" (1922)
For information on the project, please contact
Through his previous work as country coordinator of Weltfriedensdienst (WFD) in Myanmar in the framework of civil peace service, as mainly self-employed systemic coach, mediator and start-up consultant, and as executive chairman of a German cultural NGO, Elmar has a wealth of experience in various fields of consultancy, leadership, and peace building. After his studies in philosophy, theology, psychology, and drama, he completed additional training courses in cross-cultural mediation, peace and conflict consultancy, systemic coaching, and management consultancy as well as systemic structural constellations. He prefers to act as a kind of catalyst, generating the impetus that enables other people to fully realize their potential.
Emir Krehić holds a diploma in mechanical engineering. Mr. Krehić has 15 years of experience in coordinating emergency and post-conflict development projects in the Western Balkan region, Romania, Bulgaria, and India. He is a certified IFRC international relief/field delegate. Mr. Krehić has been a member of the Regional Disaster Response Team and the European Network for Psychosocial Support since 2005. Mr. Krehić joined CSSP in September 2010 as a CSSP coordinator in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Kristina Ćorić joined the CSSP team in Bosnia and Herzegovina in March 2018 as the coordinator for Mostar. Since the end of the (92–95) war in Mostar, she has been an activist for several local NGOs and civic initiatives. She has five years of experience working for international political organizations: the OHR in Mostar, where she worked in the fields of media development and public relations and the OSCE Political Resource Center for West Herzegovina in Ljubuski, where she supported the development of civil society. In the ten years prior to joining CSSP, she worked at a local, grassroots, independent youth and cultural center on project development and management, event organization, intercultural cooperation, and youth exchange projects. She has completed training courses in event and cultural management, European cultural networks, and intercultural and peace mediation. She believes in a bottom-up approach and the active participation of citizenry towards the revitalization of civilizational values and norms that have been partly suppressed or eradicated in the post-war society of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
More about the project
The stories gathered under this title reflect very different perspectives of people who live or have lived in these two small communities in the heart of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Each of them touching in their own way, they reveal experiences of leaving and returning, such as the beginning of an independent student life and a journey of self-discovery, or the experience of death and illness, of forced displacement and economic migration.
Within its current project, in which CSSP—as part of the Ministry of Education of the Herzegovina Neretva Canton’s program on “Prevention of violence”—strengthens mediation in six selected secondary schools in Mostar, CSSP is using a training manual in BCS language, which is specifically adapted to the context of schools.
Based on presentations at a conference in 2018 at the Evangelische Akademie Loccum, Germany, in which CSSP participated, a volume was recently published and edited by Tobias Flessenkemper and Thomas Müller Färber. The presentation by Carla Schraml and Kristina Ćorić on ethnicized politics and everyday life in Mostar and the region gives an introduction to the current situation and discusses how mediation, dialog, and political communication can contribute to decreasing ethnicized politics.
CSSP, together with Nansen Dialogue Centre Mostar and the Association of Mediators of B&H, issued a study on (community) mediation in Mostar (English, BSC language). It provides an overview over the legal framework for mediation in B&H and various stakeholders and actors supporting dialog and (community) mediation. Furthermore, entry points and focus areas for strengthening (community) mediation as well as lessons learnt are identified.
CSSP country office Sarajevo
Branilaca Sarajeva Str 10
CSSP field office Mostar
c/o NDC Mostar office
Alekse Šantića / Tvrtka Miloša Str 19