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Seminar: Bosnia and Herzegovina before the Elections

Identity politics, fears, failing institutions, corruption. Are the elections expected to bring change?

When: 24 September 2018, from 9:00 to 12:30
Where: International Institute for Peace (IIP), Möllwaldplatz 5, 1040 Wien
Seminar Language: English without translation.
Registration deadline: 20 September 2018, max. 35. persons

Special seminar.

In cooperation with Forum Journalismus und Medien Wien (FJUM)

REGISTRATION: Please click here


Despite the international community’s omnipresence and innumerable programs in support of country’s democratization, Bosnia and Herzegovina faces profound problems, increasing ethnic divisions, institutional failures. Rampant corruption undermines all walks of life. Some analysts question if the country will survive. Young and educated are leaving the country.

As the 7 October presidential and parliamentary elections approach hate speech intensifies. What do voters expect from the coming elections?

Five Bosnian journalists and analysts, based in Banja Luka, Sarajevo and Mostar, explore the local context and describe voters´ perception and expectations.



Azra Nuhefendić, award- winning Bosnian and Italian journalist. More than 40 years experience in covering Bosnia and Herzegovina from different perspectives, local and international. Resides in Trieste.

Aleksandar Trifunivić, journalist, moderator, media and peace activist, and editor-in-chief, Buka Media Project. Resides in Banja Luka.

Šejla Šehabović, writer, journalist, feminist and the director of Museum of Literature and Performing Arts of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Resides in Sarajevo.

Elvedin Nezirović, writer, poet, peace activist and director of the Pavarotti Music Centre. Resides in Mostar.

Alida Vračić, political scientist, specialised in Western Balkans politics and European integrations; Visiting Fellow at European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR); founder and director of the Sarajevo-based think tank Populari. Currently resides in Berlin.



8:45Registration and morning coffee

9:00Welcome greetings and opening remarks:
Daniela Kraus, fjum, executive director
Hannes Swoboda, president, International Institute for Peace
Mirjana Tomic, fjum, moderator

9:15 – 9:45Opening speech, Q&A


AZRA NUHEFENDIC, award- winning Bosnian and Italian journalist.

An overview of the current situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina before the elections: problems and challenges? Why has the democratic process been slow? Why have the institutions failed? Alternatives to identity politics? A view from an insider/outsider.

9:45 – 10:00Quick coffee and networking

10:00 – 11:00Panel Discussion, Q&A


Ethnic Politics and Multiethnic Problems Do voters expect any change from the coming elections?
Insiders’ views: Banja Luka, Sarajevo, Mostar.

Aleksandar Trifunivić, journalist, media and peace activist, editor-in-chief Buka Media Project.

View from Republika Srpska and focus on the role of media in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Šejla Šehabović, writer, journalist, feminist activist and director of the Museum of Literature and the Performing Arts of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Sarajevo perspective. Ethnic politics reflected in culture. Has the role of women changed?

Elvedin Nezirović, writer, poet, peace activist, and director of the Pavarotti Music Centre.

View from Mostar. Life in an ethnically divided city.

Moderators: Mirjana Tomić or Azra Nuhefendić

11:00 – 11:30Coffee Break and Networking

11:30 – 12:30Presentation, Q&A


Alida Vračić, political scientist, Senior Fellow at the European Council of Foreign relations (ECFR-Berlin), founder and director of the thinktank Populari (Sarajevo)

Old and new international players in Bosnia: their roles, their achievements and failures. EU, Turkey, Russia, Saudi Arabia, etc.

Critical overview.

Moderatior and concluding remarks: Hannes Swoboda

12:30 Snack and Networking

Target Groups

Journalists from the Austrian and Austria-based media (minimum 2 years of professional experience), foreign and national news desks, diplomats, university professors and researchers, analysts from think-tanks. Journalists, experts and university professors from Bratislava and Budapest.


Presentations, Panel Discussion, Q&A sessions; ample possibilities for interactive exchange, interviews and networking.



Read the material before the session. The material will be distributed on 20 September 2018.