Build Bridges not Walls | Den norske Helsingforskomité

Build Bridges not Walls

Build Bridges not Walls - the role of Universities in peacebuilding is a regional education project organised in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee in cooperation with Buskerud University College in Norway,

The idea of the project is to define the civic role of the universities in the region, and to improve the cooperation between the universities and civil sector in the fields of human rights, intercultural understanding and peacebuilding. Agreements on cooperation have already been signed with the Faculty of Humanities of the University „Dzemal Bijedic“ in Mostar (follow-up of a previous project pilot-phase), International University Novi Pazar and University of Tuzla.

By autumn/winter-semester a study program for for full-time students at the University of Tuzla will start as well as a semester for "students at work" at all three partner universities. We also hope that we within whort will sign agreements with one more university in Serbia and as well as the University in Kosovo.

During the past six months a cooperation has also been developed between universities in Mostar and Novi Pazar and local non-governmental organisations – Nansen Dialogue Center Mostar and Sandzak NGO for Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms Novi Pazar. Students attending the study „Intercultural understanding and human rights“ got the opportunity to combine the theory with practice in human rights and intercultural dialogue through study visits to these NGOs and participation in educational workshops.

In June 2012, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee called on to non-governmental and international organisations in the region to donate books for the libraries of the partner universities with an aim to establish the Corner on human rights and intercultural understanding. The deadline for submission is June 29, 2012.

As part of the information strategy of the programme, the programme has been presented at a string of relevant events, and the project parners ghave held meetings and consultations inside former Yugoslavia as well as abroad. The Facebook group „Uloga univerziteta u izgradnji mira“ was launched in order to facilitate the users on Facebook, primarily young people, to follow the activities of the programme „The Role of the Universities in Peacebuilding“, join a discussion forum, find useful links, video clips, recommended literature and other.