Conference. Lessons from the Ground: Framing and Interpreting Human Rights in the Balkans

Wednesday, April 10, 2019 to Thursday, April 11, 2019
Columbia University

Please join us for a symposium convened by Tanya Domi (SIPA; Harriman Institute) and Laura B. Cohen (Kupferberg Holocaust Center, Queensborough Community College-CUNY), featuring a keynote address by Srebrenica genocide survivor Emir Suljagić (International University of Sarajevo).

This symposium brings together activists, practitioners, and scholars to reflect upon critical human rights-and research-oriented issues that receive less international attention but are well-known locally in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The first is the long-term traumatic as well as professional impact that the country’s history, people, and culture have had upon those who have worked there for any period of time. A new generation of activists and survivors, both at home and abroad, are also asserting more control over the existing wartime narratives—either by reinforcing and/or or pushing against them creating new tensions. Finally, the Bosnian research landscape has been fundamentally changed by the hundreds of analyses with and about the population over the years which has important implications for the kind of nuanced scholarship that is sorely needed but increasingly difficult to conduct.




Location: East Gallery, Maison Française, Columbia University
6:00 p.m. Keynote Address

Emir Suljagić, professor at the International University of Sarajevo, survivor of the Srebrenica genocide.





6:30 p.m. Film Screening & Discussion

Screening of Uspomene 677, followed by a discussion with the director Mirko Pincelli (PINCH Media) and moderated by the producer Velma Šarić (Post-Conflict Research Center).

Running time is 52 minutes. Uspomene 677 (677 Memorieswas produced by PINCH Media and the Post-Conflict Research Center (PCRC). During the Bosnian war, 677 concentration camps, detention centers, rape camps and informal places of torture were established. Tens of thousands of men, women and children were captured and tortured, and many were killed. Uspomene 677 depicts the stories of three concentration camp survivors and three teenagers from each of Bosnia’s constituent ethnic communities who must now come to terms with their country’s violent past. Living in a Bosnia fighting for EU membership, they’re desperate to find a way to live together and move towards a more peaceful tomorrow.

Screening co-sponsored by the Post-Conflict Research Center (PCRC) based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The PCRC is dedicated to restoring a culture of peace through peace education, creative multimedia, conflict prevention, post-conflict research, human rights and transitional justice.



Location: Deutsches Haus (420 West 116th Street)
9:05 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. Opening Remarks
Panel 1: Researching Between the Lines: The Future of Engaged Scholarship
9:15 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. 

Sarah Wagner, George Washington University

Jelena Subotić, Georgia State University

Laura Cohen, Kupferberg Holocaust Center, Queensborough Community College-CUNY

Moderator: Tanya Domi, Columbia SIPA and Harriman Institute

10:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Break
Panel 2: Owning the Narrative: Next Generation Tensions at Home and Abroad
11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. 

Velma ŠarićPost-Conflict Research Center

Davorka Turk, Centre for Nonviolent Action

Kemal Pervanić, Most Mira/Bridge of Peace

Moderator: Emir Suljagić, International University of Sarajevo

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Break
Panel 3: The Affect and Effect of Activism: Transformations in the Field
1:45 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. 

Tom Simpson, Phillips Exeter Academy/Čuvaj Se

Elizabeth Hume, Alliance for Peacebuilding

Kate English, Educators for Human Rights

Moderator: Laura Cohen, Kupferberg Holocaust Center, Queensborough Community College-CUNY

3:15 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Closing Remarks


Photo courtesy of the Post-Conflict Research Center.


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