Despite Covid-19, the BYS project was successfully completed

Balkan Studies Center is pleased to announce that the Balkan Youth School (BYS) has been successfully completed.

BYS is an educational platform in the humanities, social and religious sciences. The study program is organized through modules, providing basic knowledge of history, human rights, international relations, political theories and issues, socio-political and religious issues, Ottoman history, arts and architecture, genocide studies, leadership and political thought. The project is being implemented by the Balkan Studies Center of the International University of Sarajevo and supported by The Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB).

Balkan Studies Center of the International University of Sarajevo and The Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB) opened the Balkan Youth School, on Saturday, March 7th, 2020. The ceremony was opened by our distinguished guests Prof. Dr. Ahmet Yıldırım, Rector of the International University of Sarajevo, HE Haldun Koc, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to BiH, and Mr. Murat Kazanci, Head of the Department for Social and Cultural Affairs. The ceremony was also attended by the Minister of Education, Science and Youth of Sarajevo Canton, Mr. Anis Krivić.

Initial program of the BYS consisted of six thematic (three-hour) modules. The program also included the following activities: workshops for the development of leadership skills, public forums and lectures, and activities dedicated to culture and the arts (visits to theaters, museums, film screenings and book clubs). Additionally, a planned study visit to Turkey was a part of the BYS program. Unfortunately, changes in the BYS program were caused by the COVID-19. Activities dedicated to culture and the arts, as well as study visits, were cancelled. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the BYS'20 lectures and short-courses were held virtually.

The lectures and short-courses used a multidisciplinary approach aiming to provide an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students. Nine seminars were held as a part of the BYS, namely:

(i) ‘‘Freedom of expression and hate speech: state’s response”, by Dr. Enis Omerović, University of Zenica (BiH);

(ii) ‘‘Religion in Bosnia and Herzegovina: A Source of Conflict or an Opportunity for Reconciliation”, by Dr. Ahmed Kulanić, Coordinator for Research, Science and Education at Institute for Bosniak Studies - BZK Preporod (BiH);

(iii) ‘‘Bosnia Memory Project: The American Perspective of Genocide in BiH”, by Dr. Benjamin Moore, Fontbonne University (USA);

(iv) ‘‘Understanding current events through the IR disciplinary paradigm”, by Dr. Joseph J. Kaminski, International University of Sarajevo (BiH);

(v) ‘‘Migration and Diaspora in the Balkans: Trends and Challenges”, by Dr. Laura Kromják, Tomori Pál College Budapest (Hungary);

(vi) ‘‘Turkey in the Balkans: Prospects for Strengthening Socio-Political, Economic and Trade Relations”, by Dr. Elif Nuroğlu, Turkish-German University (Turkey);

(vii) ‘‘New public diplomacy-foreign policy with humanitarian aspect: Turkey's soft power role in the Balkans/Special case Bosnia and Herzegovina”, by H.E. Haldun Koç, the Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to Bosnia and Herzegovina;

(viii) ‘‘Psychosocial challenges for the future of marriage, family and community in Bosnia and Herzegovina”, by Dr. Selvira Draganović, International University of Sarajevo (BiH); and

(ix) ‘‘Politics, Media and Youth in the Western Balkans”, by Dr. Lejla Turcilo, University of Sarajevo (BiH).

During the selection process, the committee of the Balkan Studies Center has received over 60 applications and 20 best candidates were selected due to their CV, qualifications and motivation letter. Balkan Studies Center strongly hopes that each of these participants will contribute to the better relations between Turkey and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the future.

Balkan Studies Center of the International University of Sarajevo and The Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB) handed out certificates of attendance to the participants of the Balkan Youth School 2020. Balkan Studies Center is really thankful for active participation and valuable contribution to all BYS participants.

The Balkan Studies Center strongly believes that COVID-19 will not prevent the organization of BYS'21 in its full capacity.