The CCSDD site uses cookies and similar technologies.
By clicking the "Accept" button, or continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our cookie policy.


CCSDD | Transmissions from Sarajevo
Transmissions from Sarajevo


Transmissions from Sarajevo
February 6, 2014

The Sarajevo Study Trip concluded just two weeks ago, with a group of 28 students from the University of Bologna and SAIS Europe participating. Here at the CCSDD blog, we have decided to highlight the experiences of a few of this year's participants.

Today we begin with Urvashi Bundel, a SAIS student who is working towards her MA in International Law & Organizations. Originally from India, this was Urvashi's first time traveling to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Here are some of her impressions from the trip:

Why did you want to attend the Sarajevo Study Trip?

I wanted to know how judicial reforms take place in a post-conflict region, and to understand this from an international organizations point of view. We can of course read about these issues from an academic's or a politician's point of view, but it's difficult to understand what exactly these organizations are doing. We visited organizations like the OSCE MissionUNDP, and UNHCR. We also visited the Constitutional Court and the State Court of Bosnia, so it was very good for me. That's exactly what I wanted to do.

Also because Bosnia is one of the prospective members to join the EU, one of my goals was to see if there is a possibility of this from a legal perspective.


Urvashi Bundel

Tell us about some of the trip's highlights.

This trip was divided in three phases. The first day we met with an army general and just got a very general viewpoint of the historical fight between Bosnians, Serbians, and Croats, all this ethnic conflict that was going on and is still going on I think. Then after that we visited many international organizations, trying to understand what the international community thinks about this conflict. Then at the end we had this meeting in Srebenica, actually going to the field where this war took place, meeting a historian who gave us a good overview, and meeting the women who got affected by this conflict. For me, the most touching part was at the end where we actually got to meet the victims. It was a wholesome experience because we could actually relate what we heard between different stakeholders.

Another favorite part was when we visited the OSCE Mission, which is part of the EOS and is also part of the Dayton Agreement, which is how Bosnia and Herzegovina came into existence, so it's extremely connected with the formation of this country. We got to listen to the Ambassador of this Mission, and several officers that are dealing in the area of rule of law. My favorite topics were organized crime and trafficking.

Tell us something new you learned about Bosnia and Herzegovina.

When we went to the UN office, they actually said that they felt they are also part of this conflict, because they felt that they had fallen short during this crisis. I didn't know that the Dutch Army couldn't help. I mean I had read it, but when we actually went to their base and we saw all the graffiti, we saw all the ruins, that really affected me badly. When you read it, you can overlook these points, but they are important as people who want to make policies in the future, that this should not be replicated.

I also didn't know about these regional housing programs. I think most of the organizations like UNHCR, the OSCE, and also the government are trying to get involved. These programs are for people who want to come back to Bosnia to live. If it's successful, it could also be transferred into some other conflict region, like Afghanistan.

What future challenges for Bosnia and Herzegovina did you learn about?

The Dayton Agreement was kind of a forced agreement, so of course there are a lot of grudges. A lot of locals don't like the Dayton Agreement because they think it's biased, they think it doesn't fulfill what they were expecting.

From a legal point of view, what I learned was that the Dayton Agreement was just supposed to stop the war. But then it ended up being the constitution of the country, which is very bad. At this point in time, the people really don't recognize themselves as the nationals of Bosnia and Herzegovina – they recognize themselves as Serbians, Croats, and Bosnians. There's a clear division even in the constitution, and all those factors simply mean that there needs to be a continual international community presence in Bosnia just to make sure the same kind of hatred is not resparked among different ethnic groups. We have just lowered the fire, but it's not gone. Everybody hates what happened to the victims, but there's a clear distinction between the viewpoints of the different ethnic groups and the experiences people had during the war.

How did the trip relate to your studies at SAIS?

I am a law concentrator, so it's completely, absolutely connected with my current studies and what I'm doing presently this semester, including taking Professor Frosini's course, Constitutional Development and Democratization.

Constitutional development is a very important topic in terms of conflict-affected zones like Tunisia and Egypt, so this was a field trip where I could use these experiences to better understand the theories and the mentalities of people in these regions. Of course there are differences between conflict zones, but there are also similarities in terms of reformation, how we can begin to rebuild.


via San Giacomo 9/2
40126 Bologna
Mailing Address

c/o Johns Hopkins University
via Andreatta 3
40126 Bologna