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WKU launches International Year of Bosnia and Herzegovina

WKU launches International Year of Bosnia and Herzegovina

The International Year of Bosnia and Herzegovina will bring a diverse schedule of events to WKU campuses and the surrounding communities for the 2017-2018 year.

The events will kick off Monday (Aug. 28) with a Bosnian Café on Centennial Mall from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed by Bosnia and Herzegovina 101 on Tuesday (Aug. 29) at 5 p.m. at Downing Student Union Auditorium. This introductory talk, presented by Dr. Jerry Daday, faculty leader for the Zuheir Sofia Endowed International Seminar to Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2017, will provide an overview of the country’s complex history and introduce audiences to the country at the center of this year’s IYO program.

The International Year Of… (IYO) program is an annual yearlong exploration of a single country designed to provide WKU and community audiences with a deeper and more nuanced understanding of and appreciation for the world around them. Academic departments, individual faculty, staff members, community organizations and businesses partner with the Office of International Programs (OIP) to bring themed events to campus, and WKU faculty add new international content to their academic courses.

“It is a privilege to help promote the rich cultural heritage of Bosnian-Americans, as well as their significant contributions to Bowling Green and the larger community,” said Dr. Jay Gabbard, professor of Social Work and a member of the IYO Bosnia and Herzegovina planning committee. “I look forward to helping make this incredible schedule of events a reality in the coming year.”

The IYO calendar will continue to expand as faculty and staff find ways to connect the target country with the field of study. Some events already scheduled for the year include:

  • A film festival that will explore Bosnian cinema through six films 
  • “Proof of Existence,” an art exhibition featuring Bosnian and Balkan artists
  • A talk by Alan Tieger, a lead prosecutor of war crimes after the Bosnian war, titled “Bosnia and International Justice” (a Cultural Enhancement Series event)
  • “Life in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Food, Space, and Dress,” an exploration of Bosnian culture created by the Applied Human Sciences department
  • “A Culture Carried: Bosnians in Bowling Green,” an interactive ethnographic museum exhibit at the Kentucky Museum

In addition to the wide array of events that are scheduled, enhanced academic courses will provide students the chance to engage with the featured country in focused study. Faculty from all colleges will include Bosnian content in their respective disciplines, providing students with a deeper knowledge of how Bosnia and Herzegovina connects to their fields of study.

The seven faculty members who participated in the Zuheir Sofia Endowed International Faculty Seminar (ZSEIFS) to Bosnia and Herzegovina in the spring of this year will be key contributors to the calendar of events and schedule of courses. All have plans to translate their first-hand experience to their courses and complementary programming.

ZSEIFS participant Jenn Brinkley, assistant professor of Paralegal Studies in WKU’s School of Professional Studies, will bring three female Bosnian-American lawyers for a talk titled “Justice is Female: The Intersection of the Bosnian Culture and American Legal Practice.” Brinkley will also be integrating Bosnian content into her courses over the coming year, including Women and the Law Family Law.

Brinkley said ZSEIFS “was an eye-opening experience, to interact first-hand with survivors of [the Bosnian civil war] and hear their stories of persistence and determination. The ZSEIFS provided me with an opportunity to research my discipline from another perspective.”

WKU is already looking ahead to future IYO spotlights. Cuba will be the focus of the 2018-2019 IYO, and faculty who are interested in expanding their studies and expertise there are encouraged to consider applying for the 2018 ZSEIFS to Cuba. Applications will open in the coming weeks.

About the ZSEIFS: The Zuheir Sofia Endowment was created to facilitate the mission of the Office of International Programs, which endeavors to provide leadership in the development of a strong international profile. Zuheir Sofia, a 1969 WKU graduate and 2014 Honorary Doctorate recipient, is chairman, president and CEO of Business Bank of Florida Corp.

About the Office of International Programs: The Office of International Programs supports the internationalization agenda of the university by creating opportunities for faculty and staff development in an global context and supporting the development of meaningful co-curricular programming for student, campus and community audiences.           

Contact: Lauren Reyes, (270) 745-4218

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