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Peace is our future

Students from Kragujevac visiting Sarajevo

On Tuesday, March 19th, a group of students from the elementary school “Dragisa Lukovic Spanac” in Kragujevac, along with the principal and teachers, visited the War Childhood Museum in Sarajevo. This visit was organized following the students’ participation in peacebuilding workshops based on the WCM collection.
PEACE IS OUR FUTURE – students from Kragujevac visiting Sarajevo
© forumZFD

In the Museum, guests from Kragujevac were welcomed by a group of students from the “Alija Nametak” Elementary School in Sarajevo. They jointly visited the permanent museum exhibition and, with the help of interactive guides, exchanged their own thoughts on the exhibits that once belonged to children who grew up in war. According to our Educational Activities Coordinator, Merima Razanica, after touring the Museum, students participated in a peacebuilding workshop, where they discussed the importance of learning about historical events through personal experiences.

“The students recognized the War Childhood Museum as a place for developing empathy, which they believe is necessary to understand other people and their experiences,” said Razanica.

The principal and teachers from the “Dragiša Lukovic Spanac” School also expressed their satisfaction. Director Dejan Srećković offered to continue cooperation with one of the local schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina to connect younger generations and build relationships of trust and collaboration. In conversations with museum educators, teachers from Kragujevac specifically pointed out that the educational materials are very applicable for classroom use, and emphasized their anticipation of using them upon returning to their classrooms.

Cornerstone to Peacebuilding

“We have brought our souls filled with understanding and empathy. We offered a hand of friendship and opened our minds. We have laid the cornerstone in the architecture of peace for a new beginning. Let our common ideas go hand in hand, because only in this way can we overcome all obstacles to harmony and love.”, empathized teacher from Kragujevac, Jelena Stefanovic.

This study trip to Sarajevo and WCM was made possible by the Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR) Serbia and the Forum Civil Peace Service – Serbia. According to Sofija Todorovic, program director of YIHR Serbia, this initiative was fully supported because peace education is the fundament of the future we all advocate for. Especially because it involves a visit from a school in Kragujevac, a city whose symbol is the memorial park “Sumarice” – a memorial complex dedicated to the memory of the innocent victims of the “Kragujevac Massacre” in October 1941, when 300 students from local high schools were also executed.

“Teachers play a significant role in educating the generations to come, which is why working with professors and educators is of great importance. Peace is indeed our future, but only if we all work together towards it,” said Todorovic.

An Important Step in Building Sustainable Peace in the Region

Along with educators and museum guides, guests from Kragujevac, welcomed War Childhood Museum director in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Amina Krvavac.

“This visit is a first step in strengthening our cooperation with schools across Serbia, and we are happy and proud to be a part of the construction and preservation of peace throughout the entire region. Activities like this, aimed at promoting a culture of peace, enable children and young people to develop an awareness of the importance of empathy and understanding different perspectives. Additionally, these activities encourage children and youth to take responsibility for their actions, consider the consequences of their deeds, and actively work towards building a more inclusive and peaceful environment and society,” emphasized Krvavac.

Furthermore, Director Krvavac underscored the importance of mutual collaboration between the cultural, educational, and non-governmental sectors in peace education processes in the region, expressing hope that this initiative will serve as a foundation and contribution to efforts towards building sustainable peace in the region.

The Result of Ten Years of Committed Work

Founder and CEO of WCM, Jasminko Halilovic, expressed fulfillment that after ten years of WCM’s work with schools and teachers, as well as engaging tens of thousands of students in educational visits and programs, the first official visit from a school in Serbia has been realized.

“For ten years, we have been focused on developing the collection, exhibitions, as well as educational tools. Through the Peace and Justice Education Resource Center on our website, we offer teachers and educators activities on various topics, as well as instructions for implementation in classrooms. Teachers from all over Europe already use this, and this study visit happened right after our workshops were conducted at the school. This should be a normal thing: for children from the entire region to visit neighboring countries, and why not, to learn about the past. I believe in the words of teacher Jelena Stefanovic that this is the beginning of a new era, an era of peace in our region. I hope that hundreds of thousands of children from the region will follow the footsteps of children from Kragujevac and be our guests at the War Childhood Museum. We will do everything to make that happen. Children build bridges that we were told would never be built,” concluded Halilovic.

(originally published on War Childhood Museum website )

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