The role of universities in peacebuilding

As part of the NHC project on the role of Universities in peacebuilding, a conference was held 19-20 April in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The aim of the conference was to initiate a dialogue on how universities can contribute to build and promote peace in the region. The University of Tuzla is one of five partner universities from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo, that participates in the project Build Bridges not Walls: the Role of the Universities in Peacebuilding.

Read an article about the role of the universities in peacebuilding, written by Naida Huskanović, the Regional Coordinator of our project „Build Bridges not Walls:

The conference was officially opened by Norway’s ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Anne Vibeke Lilloe. Bjørn Engesland, the General Secretary of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and Enver Djuliman, the Head of human rights education department in the Norwegian Helsinki Committee also gave introductory speeches where they focused on the opportunities the involvement of universitites in peacebuilding represents.

Bjørn Engesland

The conference underscored the importance of literature, language and history in shaping the educational system on the Western Balkans, in addition to highlighting the importance of the role of both university teachers and students can play in peacebuilding processes.

More than 120 participants attended the conference, including students from Novi Sad (Serbia) and the University “Džemal Bijedić” in Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina).

The lectures were followed by a panel discussion on the role of the universities in peacebuilding which raised many important questions by students and academics.

Lela Malićbegović, a student from the University of Tuzla stressed that media and politicians of both Serbia and Bosnia are responsible for the lack of a constructive dialogue and peace building process in the two countries: – It is not true that the students are those who do not want peace. I think that older generations wants peace as well. We students really do not have any problems with each other and we want a long lasting peace. But there is a lot of hate speech in media, prejudices and intolerance, and this is something that we have to resist. We do not want any prejudices nor stereotypes and we do not want to be slaves of someone’s ideologies.

Human rights corner of the library

As part of the conference, the human rights corner at the library of the University of Tuzla was officially opened by Ambassador Anne Vibeke Lilloe. It already contains more than 500 relevant books, magazines and documentary films, and is a result of the regional initiative taken by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.

Video presentation of the role of Universities in peacebuilding project