Rethinking approaches to Bosnia and Herzegovina


More than two decades ago, the peace process in Dayton ended the bloodiest conflict in Europe since World War II and created what some consider to be the most complicated system of government in the world. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s multilayered, bureaucratic, and dysfunctional governance structure has allowed its politicians to exploit ethnic divisions in pursuit of personal gain while evading accountability for poor performance. The general elections held in October 2018 produced a predictable outcome: despite their failure to improve the country’s economic and social prospects, nationalist parties further consolidated their grip on power by exploiting ethnic appeals. Under these conditions, elections alone can hardly contribute to Bosnia’s democratization process, and the best the country can hope for is the deficient status quo. In such a difficult environment, civil society faces an uphill task in fostering and demanding greater political accountability and transparency while stimulating public engagement on quality-of-life issues concerning all citizens.

This discussion will reflect on some of these challenges as well as examine new ideas and opportunities for domestic civil society and the international community to jumpstart the country’s stalled progress. The panelists will revisit some of the previous approaches to Bosnia’s democratization, consider their own efforts, and suggest new ideas for comprehensive and sustainable change that would lead to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s democratic consolidation and full Euro-Atlantic integration.

The National Endowment for Democracy invites you to a discussion with

Gretchen Birkle, Deputy Assistant Administrator, USAID’s Bureau for Europe and Eurasia

Srđan Blagovčanin, Chairman of the Board, Transparency International Bosnia & Herzegovina

Darko Brkan, President, Zašto ne (Why not)

with introductory remarks by

Ivana Cvetković Bajrović, Associate Director for Europe, National Endowment for Democracy

moderated by

Tanja Dramac Jiries, Program Officer, National Endowment for Democracy

A light breakfast will be served

Friday, December 14, 2018
9:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m. 

1025 F Street N.W., Suite 800, Washington, DC 20004 

All cameras and media must register with NED public affairs. Please email to register as a member of the press.


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