From 1 to 4 March, 20 participants from ex-Yugoslavia republics of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia joined forces and attended the EFIL regional seminar on the topic of Post-War Reconciliation through Immersive Exchange. We were hosted in the beautiful city of Banja Luka in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The trainer’s team consisted of local and international trainers Chiara Mercogliano from AFS Italy, Inga Menke from EFIL, Maja Miholjek from AFS Croatia, Marija Simić from AFS Serbia, Nikolina Sladojecić from AFS Bosnia and Herzegovina and Tinka Valtl from AFS Slovenia.
The seminar was received well. Overall, the participants expressed the need for further seminars on the topic of post-war reconciliation and they were pleased with the flow of the agenda the trainer’s team prepared. Also the trainer’s team stressed the importance of such topics being dealt with and through the engagement and level of involvement the participants showed throughout the seminar it was obvious that there is a great need in the region to talk about the war and topics related to it even further.
Through diverse workshops we explored the history of the region but mostly we focused on the present and future. To help us get a better understanding of how history can be and is manipulated we invited an external speaker from EUROCLIO – the European Association of History Educators. Looking at both the differences and the similarities of the Balkan countries, participants had the opportunity to deal with the past and discuss the current conflicts. On the final day we developed concrete action plans to strengthen the connections between the Balkan countries and help facilitate lasting peace.