Summary of "Bringing Croats and Muslims Together"

 

Summary of

Bringing Croats and Muslims Together

By United States Institute of Peace

This Article Summary written by: Mariya Yevsyukova, Conflict Research Consortium


"Bringing Croats and Muslims Together". Peace Watch. United States Institute of Peace. Vol. II, No. 2. February 1996. P. 4.


The Croatian Democratic Project (CDP) in Washington, D.C. opened two Centers for Ethnic Reconciliation in Bosnia in the towns of Livno and Travnik. The goal of the project is to bring Croatian and Muslim communities together to work on a shared future. The two towns historically were populated by both Muslim and Croats, and the two communities still co-exist there. These centers will establish and support local civic organizations which will work toward strengthening of the Croat-Muslim federation at the grass-roots level. They also will help to integrate resettled refugees into the community. Dudley Weeks, director of the Conflict Resolution Workshop and Global FutureLinks of Washington, D.C., has conducted workshops among the staff and local leaders in "cooperative planning, prejudice reduction, and conflict resolution" (p. 4). Local leaders will be working on creating joint projects, the fulfillment of which will demand involvement from both communities. Another direction of the centers' work is to organize programs "in civic education, human rights, legal and property issues, micro-enterprise development, public administration, and youth issues" (p. 4). The centers are autonomous from the CDP and local governments. The creation of the centers was not an easy task, since the idea of building civil society through non-governmental organizations is new to the region. One of the organizers shared a concern that although the Dayton agreement created conditions for this type of work, the international community is responding too slowly. He said that lasting peace can come only with the development of democratic institutions and civil society. For foreign assistance to be effective, civic infrastructure should be established. Reconciliation centers are an example of how this might be achieved.