International Year of Bosnia events continue

Starting off the Bosnia 101 event in the DSU Auditorium on Tuesday, Aug. 29, Annabeth Burke, a graduate student from Mount Washington, Ky., writes down a list of items on what she knows about Bosnia with the other members of the audience. The informative lecture given by Associate Professor of Sociology, Dr. Jerry Daday, covered a thorough history of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Mike Allen

As part the International Year of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Office of International Programs hosted an event called Bosnia and Herzegovina 101 in Downing Student Union on Tuesday night.

Sociology professor Jerry Daday presented at the event. Daday has previously worked with Gina Dzelil, a member of the Board of Directors of the Human Rights Commission and a leader in the Bosnian-American community, to coordinate the 17th Convention of Bosniaks in North America in 2012, which provided educational programming on WKU’s campus, where he had also done a presentation.

“I think this is a great opportunity for the university to deepen and extend its relationship with the Bosnian-American community,” Daday said.

Daday, who also serves as the executive director for the Center for Innovative Teaching & Learning, said he values and admires the Bosnian and Herzegovinian people who have come to make up a sizeable proportion of the Bowling Green population. Bosnian-Americans make up roughly 10 percent of Bowling Green’s population, according to Daday’s presentation.

“When I look at what the Bosnian-American community has done in a very short time, it’s just really impressive,” Daday said. “They’ve enhanced our community, they’ve made positive contributions to our culture and our economy, and frankly I am proud to call them fellow Americans.”

Daday said he could not accurately speak of the country without educating the attendees of the Bosnian War, the most violent war in Europe since World War II, which he said has shaped the views and realities of the Bosnian community.

“We’re going to confront it head on,” Daday said.

After briefly commenting on the history and ethnic makeup of the former Yugoslavia and the strong leadership of the late Josip Broz Tito prior to the rise of ethnic nationalism in the former Yugoslavia, Daday used his remaining time to educate listeners about the Bosnian War.

Daday has been to Bosnia and Herzegovina and met with many of the residents there, and his reflections on that experience are less bleak than the country’s recent history. He talked about a genuine desire for the Bosnians to move forward, but cited political distrust as an obstacle.

“In order to move forward,” he said, “[Bosnia and Herzegovina] needs to move past their tribal, ethnic politics.”

In previous years, WKU has had the International Year of Ecuador, the International Year of South Africa, and the International Year of South Korea. Andrea Cheney, assistant director for the Office of International Programs, sees the focus on Bosnia and Herzegovina as a special year for the “International Year of” program.

“We have such a strong Bosnian-American population here,” Cheney said. “It was particularly relevant for WKU to [spend] some time looking at a community that has had such a critical role in shaping local culture and business.”

The event has been recorded and will be available online for those who wish to use it as an educational resource or who did not have an opportunity to attend.

Reporter Mike Allen can be reached at 270-745-6011 or [email protected].