You are here: American University Campus Life Community Engagement & Service Spring Alt Break 2021

Peacebuilding after Conflict Sarajevo & Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

This virtual Alternative Break experience will explore the conflict and genocide in Bosnia, specifically the trends it shares with other genocides. We will seek to understand some of the underlying systemic causes and post-conflict efforts of reconciliation. Our community partners include the War Childhood Museum, Remembering Srebrenica, Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, Local Democracy Agency of Mostar, and other individuals from the region who will share their stories. These interaction sill highlight the human element involved in conflict and peace-building and practices to ensure peace in our own communities. The program will share aspects of Bosnian culture as well, as we will learn about traditional coffee, copper making, pomegranates, and other traditional food like burek. We will host webinars with our partner organizations, listen to survivors’ stories, and explore virtual museum exhibits to learn more about this important part of European history.

In tandem with our community partners, Alternative Break participants will create a multimedia product sharing what we learned to both the AU community and the local communities we have connected with. An example of a multimedia product is a podcast with guided prompts and discussions with our partner organizations to spread their peacebuilding mission. To celebrate the conclusion of our intensive experience and showcase our multimedia product, we also plan to host a concluding virtual event for AU students and others in the DC community, ultimately using what we learned from our Bosnian partners to continue advocating for their needs.

Check out the Bosnia Alt Break Facebook Page

*Exact program scheduling is subject to change. Particpants will commit to 6 pre-program one-hour meetings between February 4 - March 19, exact time will be determined in early Spring 2021 semester. If you have immediate questions please contact

Cedric Starks (He/Him/His) is a Sophomore studying Communications, Law, Economics, and Government in SPA. He enjoys travelling and trying new things, in a quest to enjoy everything the world has to offer. He loves playing most sports and activities because of the opportunity for competition and self-improvement. When he is not outside he loves to wind down with video games. Last year, during his enjoyable freshman year, he visited Bosnia for an alternative break and returned with a renewed sense of duty and excitement after learning how many Bosnians have and continue to reconcile after conflict. He is excited to lead this year’s alternative break to share Bosnia’s beauty and the exemplary work that many partners are engaged with to reconcile after conflict.

Alt Break Leader Cedric Headshot

Selma Tabakovic (She/Her/Hers) is a senior and a Politics, Policy, and Law Scholar studying Legal Studies in SPA. Her internship experiences in Washington D.C. have focused on the systemic barriers that individuals face in the U.S. and she is excited to continue to explore these issues in an international setting as well. After attending the alternative break program to Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Winter of 2019, she felt a larger connection to her ethnic community by being able to delve deeper into the conflict while appreciating BiH for its beauty and resilience. As an alternative break leader, she is excited to continue to share the story of those that were impacted by the conflict and the peacebuilding work of key community members and organizations.

Alt Break Leader Selma Headshot

Friday, March 12 2021

Day One: On Friday night, we will be setting our intentions for the weekend and start the weekend off with light-hearted cultural activities. We will be participating in a refugee simulation and have a facilitated discussion to unpack the themes for the weekend. We will conclude the evening with a bedtime story written by a Bosnian refugee read aloud. 

Saturday, March 13 2021

Day Two: On Saturday, we will be focusing on specific aspects of the conflict, such as the Genocide in Srebrenica. We will explore how peace-building is done through education and art by participating in various cultural activities, webinars with our partners, and personal advocacy. We will conclude the day with a field-trip related to peace.

Sunday, March 14 2021

Day Three: On Sunday, we will be discussing the importance of storytelling and conflict. By recognizing how individuals share their experiences to educate others and for their personal healing, we will listen to individual stories of children and adults that were impacted and are still impacted by the genocide. We will explore more about the region of Mostar and the unique ways that genocide took place there. 

Structured activism! In order to disseminate to the AU community the information that we have gained throughout the weekend engagement and during pre-departure meetings, we will be having a structured activism and advocacy event.