Sarajevo’s War Childhood Museum is ’30 Under 30′ innovator



Forbes has revealed its third annual “30 Under 30 Europe” list, featuring 600 young innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders across Europe under the age of 30 in 20 different categories. Amongst them is Jasminko Halilovic (left), founder of the War Childhood Museum in Sarajevo. The Museum recently received the Council of Europe Museum Prize – one of the most prestigious awards in field – as part of the European Museum of the Year Awards.

In 2010, Jasminko started a major initiative to collect and catalogue the war experiences of over 1,000 young people. Published in 2013, the book became a bestseller in Bosnia and Herzegovina, generating considerable media and public attention. Consequently, Jasminko and a group of young researchers established the War Childhood Museum, whose permanent exhibition is designed to preserve stories and artifacts testifying to personal experiences and events during the war.

With support from the National Endowment for Democracy, the Washington-based democracy assistance group, the Museum uses these materials to promote new approaches to dialogue, historical understanding, and reconciliation amongst the country’s youth. The Museum’s team of researchers works on identifying, contacting, and interviewing approximately 150 diverse participants a year. The team’s educators draw on this extensive collection of interviews and artifacts to enhance the Museum’s educational toolkit used in workshops, seminars, and discussions about the conflict with youth throughout the country. The approach has proven to be very effective in facilitating dialogue on very contentious and divisive topics, thereby contributing to tolerance and understanding between youth of different ethnic backgrounds.

Tanja Dramac Jiries, Program Officer for Europe at the National Endowment for Democracy.

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