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Expert conference

Wednesday, 06. April 2022 2:00 pm – 9:30 pm Save in my calendar

Expert conference

Bosnia Forum 2022

30 Years After the Start of the War: A Watershed Moment for Bosnia & Herzegovina Too?

On 6 April 2022, thirty years will have passed since the start of the Bosnian War. The brutal war of aggression against multiethnic Bosnia and Herzegovina, accompanied by countless war crimes, including the Srebrenica genocide, left deep and lasting scars in the history of Europe. Thirty years later, the reality in Bosnia and Herzegovina is still a far cry from the ideals of a civil society based on the rule of law that guarantees equal civic and participation rights to all of its members, regardless of ethnic, religious or other types of affiliations or attributions. The interests and ideologies dominating political life in Bosnia and Herzegovina today are the same interests and ideologies that led to war three decades ago, with ethnic-nationalist elites of the different groups wielding fear and the assignment of collective guilt to the “other” ethnic group as policy tools to maintain their hold on power.

It is not at all unusual, even today, for the region to be disregarded, when people fail to mention the wars in the Balkans when speaking of how Europe has lived in peace since World War II, for instance. Equally problematic is the habit of ignoring the risk posed by a further destabilised Bosnia and Herzegovina. For there are those – first and foremost, Milorad Dodik, the leader of the largest Bosnian-Serbian party – who have sought for years to bring about another division of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina and done so with the backing of Serbia and Russia.

In the current situation, one must now also ask what the consequences of the war of aggression being waged in Ukraine will be for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Assessments on this differ: does the “watershed moment” proclaimed by the Federal Government hold out the potential to mark a turning point towards positive change in Bosnia and Herzegovina? Or do the predictions of those who warn that the war could spread into the Western Balkans, like the former High Representatives Christian Schwarz-Schilling and Valentin Inzko, reflect a more widespread view?

Against this backdrop, the Heinrich Böll Foundation and the Southeast Europe Association will host a Bosnia Forum on the anniversary of the start of the Bosnian War, aimed at drawing attention to the possible turning point in Bosnia. The forum is primarily intended as an occasion to hear from those parts of BiH society that are striving to overcome ethnic-nationalist interpretative patterns. Thus, we are inviting Bosnian guests from civil society and the political arena to Berlin to discuss where they see future opportunities, security risks and current priorities, based on their assessments of the current situation. The forum will give them the opportunity to express their views in conversation with representatives of the Federal Government, the Bundestag, the media and the research community in Germany, thus bringing their perspectives to the discourse on German and European policy on Bosnia.

14:00-18:30 Uhr  Hybrid Conference >>with waitlist option for in-person attendance

For digital participation registration required; In-person participation for experts by invitation

Welcome addresses by Dr Ellen Ueberschär, Co-President of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Manuel Sarrazin, President of the Southeast Europe Association and Federal Government Special Representative for the Countries of the Western Balkans

Panel 1: Is the wake-up call being heard by those determining German (European) policy towards Bosnia? (English and German)       


  • Adis Ahmetovic Member of the Bundestag, SPD
  • Samir Beharić, youth activist, doctoral candidate at the University of Bamberg
  • Vassilis Maragos, head of unit 'Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo', EU Commission DG NEAR (digital)
  • Boris Mijatovic, member of the Bundestag, Alliance 90/The Greens 
  • Christian Schmidt, High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, former Federal Minister (Germany) (digital)
  • Daliborka Uljarević, executive Director, Centre for Civic Education, WBSG, Podgorica

Moderator: Adelheid Wölfl, Sarajevo correspondent for “Der Standard”

Welcome address Dr Anna Lührmann, Minister of State for Europe and Climate at the Federal Foreign Office (video message)

Panel 2: Bosnia and Herzegovina today – a turning point?  (BCS and German, English in Zoom)


  • Samir Beharić: report from Panel 1, youth activist, doctoral candidate at the University of Bamberg
  • Sabina Ćudić, member central board of the party Naša Stranka, Sarajevo
  • Milica Malešević, University of Banja Luka
  • Ambassador Susanne Schütz, Commissioner for Southeast Europe, Turkey, OSCE and Council of Europe at the Federal Foreign Office
  • Prof. Sead Turčalo, dean of the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Sarajevo

Moderator: Judith Brand, head of office, Heinrich Boell Foundation, Sarajevo

Afterwards at the Heinrich Boell Foundation, Schumannstr. 8, 10117 Berlin

6:30 p.m. streaming of the Parliamentary debate on the 30th anniversary of the start of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (livestream from 4:30-5:45 pm)

7:15 p.m. opening of the exhibition "Wake-up Europe!" by Nicolas Moll, curator and historian

“Wake-up Europe! Support and solidarity mobilisations for Bosnia and Herzegovina and its citizens during the 1992-19 95 war" An exhibition of the History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in cooperation with Memory Lab, realized with support of the Goethe Institut BiH, the Institut Francais BiH and the Franco-German Cultural Fund. Languages: English and Bosnian

6 April–30 April 2022 at Schumannstr. 8, 10117 Berlin, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, free admission

7:30 pm–9:30 p.m. Film & discussion “How we laughedat Schumannstr. 8, 10117 Berlin, Heinrich-Boell-Stiftung, Free admission for registered participants 

A film production of the eponymous play, an artistic portrayal of people dealing with experiences of war and siege. Based on an idea by Maja Zećo and Ina Arnautalić.

Discussion with

Maja Zećo, actress, author

Ina Arnautalić, costume designer, author

Adis Ahmetovic, member of the Bundestag, SPD, member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (tbc)

Moderator: Marion Kraske, journalist

We recommend further contributions on Bosnia and Herzegovina in our dossier

Katja Giebel
Division East- Southeastern Europe, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Berlin
E-Mail: giebel@boell.de 

» Online participation in ZOOM

The access information will be sent to you by email 24 hours and then 2 hours prior to the event. 
You can use either the Zoom Client software or the app. If you are using either the Chrome or Edge browsers you will be able to participate directly via the access link. For more information on how to use Zoom, click here.
Please make sure that you are using the latest version of Zoom so that you have the necessary settings. You will need a microphone and possibly a camera for events with audience participation.
The Heinrich Böll Foundation is not liable for issues arising from the use of Zoom software. Zoom's current privacy policy can be found here.

Alternatively, you can follow the event via the livestream

» Our privacy policy applies


▶ Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, Headquarters Berlin and Online
Heinrich Böll Foundation - Headquarters Berlin