After the Dayton Peace Accords were signed in 1995 much of the international community assumed peace had been achieved in BiH. Despite the presence of war, however, continued investment in peacebuilding work is paramount today. The wounds of war have caused unimaginable damage to the lives of people in BiH’s various communities, whether Bosniak, Serb, Croat, Jew, Hungarian, Roma, or any other group. The dynamic of neighbor fighting neighbor during the war created deep divisions within and among communities, breeding distrust and fear. This—coupled with the manipulation of ancient myths and histories by politicians, the unwillingness of many religious leaders to have dialogue with those of other faiths, and the pervasiveness of nationalist propaganda in museums and media—has produced serious obstacles to reconciliation. Today many towns and communities are segregated along ethnic lines, and stereotypes are passed from one generation to the next.
Today, the Center for Peacebuilding (CIM) stands on the former frontlines of the war, acting as a bridge between a past that few can currently discuss and a future where open dialogue can rehumanize the enemy and dispel the misinformation that acts as the seeds for hatred.
Established in 2004 the CIM is a non-governmental organization—located in Sanski Most, Bosnia and Herzegovina—that seeks to rebuild trust and foster reconciliation among the people of Bosnia—Croats, Serbs, Bosniaks, and others—as well as support peace processes in other countries that have suffered from violent conflict. We provide a safe place in a highly segregated society for constructive inter-ethnic and religious dialogue. Our activities promote human rights, aid inter-cultural exchange, and equip individuals with practical skills to respond creatively to conflict to nonviolently transform potentially violent situations.