Cafe kicks off International Year of Bosnia

Puracic, Bosnia graduate Dzenana Kadric, 22 (left), and Sarajevo, Bosnia senior Sanida Palavra, 21 (right), prepare the traditional Bosnian coffee on Monday, Aug. 28 in Centennial Mall during the Year of Bosnia Kickoff event where students and faculty could stop by the tents and enjoy coffee and cookies while learning about Bosnian traditions.

Yasmine Sadrinia

WKU’s International Year of Bosnia and Herzegovina officially began on Monday with a cafe in Centennial Mall serving traditional Bosnian cuisine and coffee.

The International Year Of …” is a celebration of a single country that occurs for the entirety of each academic year. Throughout the year, students are encouraged to explore and interact with the culture of the selected country through various programs and activities.

Lauren Reyes, the programming coordinator for the Office of International Programs and organizer of the cafe, said she thought that Bosnia was a natural choice for this year’s country.

According to Reyes, approximately 10 percent of Bowling Green’s population is Bosnian-American.

Reyes said she hopes the cafe itself will encourage students to learn more about Bosnian culture. More specifically, the cafe was about the idea of “ceif,” or taking a moment to connect with one another over coffee, according to Reyes.

The organizers of the International Year of Bosnia have partnered with many members of the Bosnian-American community in Bowling Green who look forward to helping faculty, staff and students gain a new appreciation for their country.

Molli Guelde, a Bowling Green senior, has a personal connection with the Bosnian members of the community.

“A bunch of my friends that I grew up with are Bosnian, so I think it’s awesome that their country is this years [International Year of] selection,” Guelde said. “I look forward to learning more about the culture of some of my best friends.”

While stirring coffee in a heated metal pot called a Džezva, Lily Nellans, a senior from Des Moines, Iowa talked about her connection with the country and what she hopes the International Year of Bosnia will achieve.

“I studied abroad in Sarajevo, Bosnia for nine weeks this summer so I’m really here to talk about my trip,” Nellans said. “I hope that the [International Year Of] Bosnia will encourage people to study abroad there.”

Despite the rain, the cafe drew in many students as they made their way across campus. The tents provided a dry space to sip a cup of freshly brewed coffee, listen to music and enjoy some cookies.

Hopkinsville senior Elizabeth Settle said that stopping by the cafe was a great start to a rainy Monday.

“I really enjoyed getting to try some Bosnian food on my way to class and learn a little bit about how coffee plays a role in the countries culture,” Settle said.

The International Year of Bosnia continues in the Downing Student Union auditorium on Tuesday, Aug. 29 at 5:00 p.m. with Bosnia and Herzegovina 101. This presentation will provide history and context for what students can expect to learn about Bosnia during the rest of the year.

Reporter Yasmine Sadrinia can be reached at 270-745-6011 or [email protected].