Bosnia-Herzegovina has recovered slowly from the war of 1992–1995 partly due to the fact that the Dayton Accord that ended the war created a consociational state segmented by the three majority ethnic and religious groups, the Bosniaks, the Serbs, and the Croats. These “constituent peoples” live in divided spaces, rule the country separately, and have not yet reconciled their differences, impeding the creation of national identity. Women’s nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and women peacemakers are working toward reconciliation and peace through the construction of an alternative narrative to that of the government’s and creating an increasingly influential civil society. These NGOs, comprised of women “victims” who became “empowered leaders,” are fostering reconciliation and peace through the promotion of the human rights of five groups: (1) deceased victims of the war; (2) surviving victims of the war; (3) minority groups; (4) marginalized groups; and (5) women. By the construction of liminal space through civic art, psychosocial healing, and political action, these groups are creating a new future and building the momentum to push the country forward to a reintegrated society. Leadership of the groups is dispersed throughout the country and comprised of many ethnic groups who collaborate to meet the needs and demands of their followers, who, in effect, have created the leaders and lead inclusively with them. The chapter provides an interesting study of the power of women, who turned victimhood into social action, to build a grassroots civil society that is fostering reconciliation and peace.
The authors would like to acknowledge Vildana Dzekman for her useful contributions to this chapter.
Ibrahimefendic, E. and Thompson, R.J. (2019), "Women’s Postwar Activism in Bosnia-Herzegovina: A Human Rights Approach to Peacebuilding and Reconciliation through Liminal Space", Peace, Reconciliation and Social Justice Leadership in the 21st Century (Building Leadership Bridges, Vol. 8), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 143-159. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2058-880120190000008009Download as .RIS
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