Non-Territorial Arrangements and Peacebuilding in Post-Conflict BiH

STSM title: Non-Territorial Arrangements and Peacebuilding in Post-Conflict BiH
Grantee name: Jubjana Vila
Host institution: Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana

Statement about the STSM:

During the STSM visit at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana I was hosted by Dr. Rok Zupančič within the framework of the Research project “Anxieties in cities of Southeast European post-conflict societies: Introducing an integrative approach to peace-building” (AnxiousPeace). Through the approach and objectives of the AnxiousPeace project, I was introduced to a new perspective on the relationship between ethnic diversity and conflict resolution that helped me to understand some possible factors behind ethnic distance despite peace-building efforts with a particular focus on Bosnia and Herzegovina and to search more on the role of non- territorial autonomy in this process.

STSM purpose:

Through the STSM I intended to get in-depth information and knowledge on the project “Anxieties in cities of Southeast European post-conflict societies: Introducing an integrative approach to peacebuilding” (AnxiousPeace) under implementation at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana.

The purpose was to explore the role of ethnic diversity in post-conflict societies in the Western Balkans, focusing on relations between ethnic majority and ethnic minorities in post conflict societies, to deepen the understanding of the processes that hinder the attempts to reduce ethnic distance.  I intend to explore factors contributing to the reduction of ethnic distance and improvement of relations between ethnic majority and ethnic minority in post-conflict areas in the Western Balkans with a specific focus on Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) and understanding whether non-territorial arrangement might have a role.

Description of the work carried out during the STSM:

Firstly, throughout the STSM I was introduced to goals, objectives, and further plans of the AnxiousPeace Project. I was able to get deeper information on the methodology, approach and cases where the project is focusing. The multi-method design, using a range of primary data collection instruments and the multi-disciplinary character of the project combining peace-building, political and social psychology, and neurobiology approaches, comprised an interesting novelty offering a wholistic exploration of the inter-ethnic relations in a post-conflict society. Also, the three cases in focus including Kamenica in Kosovo, Baljvine in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Vukovar in Croatia were significantly different in terms of inter-ethnic relations. The comparison shed lights on understanding why inter-ethnic relations in some post-conflict ’divided cities’ remain hostile with high ethnic distance while in other cities inter-ethnic relations are peaceful and the ethnic distance low.

Baljvine in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as the case where this STSM is more focused, is an interesting case where Bosniaks and Serbs have been protecting each other during the 1992-1995 war and there has been no bloodshed between ethnic communities compared to the rest of Bosnia-Herzegovina that was tore apart. Exploring inter-ethnic relations in this case would be interesting in terms of understanding some factors that reduce ethnic distance in post-conflict societies. The project outcomes, once completed, will have an important contribution in this aspect and I will be eager to explore in the future the outcomes in terms of the impact that non-territorial autonomy might have.

Secondly, I had the chance to use the library of the Faculty of Social Sciences at University of Ljubljana that was rich in resources on security and conflict studies.

Lastly, I discussed with Dr. Rok Zupančič the possibility of extending the project to include also the case of Albania considering the focus of AnxiousPeace project is Southeastern Europe.

Description of the main results obtained:

1) Informed on the role that ethnic diversity has on post-conflict peacebuilding through AnxiousPeace project and rising interest on understanding the role of NTA in peacebuilding in post-conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina as a mechanism for reducing ethnic distance. In this aspect the AnxiousPeace project aligns with the ENTAN objective to explore different conflict resolution mechanisms with policy arrangement.

2) Discussion on the possibility to extend the AnxiousPeace project to Albania and a follow-up visit of Dr. Rok Zupančič to Albania.

3) Building institutional collaboration between the home and host institutions under the framework of EU funded opportunities in teaching and research.