GMF’s Transatlantic Leadership Seminar visited Srebrenica on Sunday, May 26th, to pay tribute to the Bosniaks who died during the 1995 genocide at the hands of Ratko Mladic’s Bosnian Serb forces. Two Marshall Memorial Fellowship alumni, European Jose Lemos (MMF ‘89) and American Ellen Kim (MMF ’11), laid a wreath at the memorial site on behalf of GMF.
The group of 14 who made the delegation forms the first cohort of GMF’s new Transatlantic Leadership Seminar. The Seminar brings together both European and American alumni and friends of GMF leadership development programs, such as the Marshall Memorial Fellowship and Manfred Wörner Seminar, to study leadership in regions of the world that have recently experienced significant change. The inaugural seminar, “The Balkans 20 Years After the War: Leadership Lessons on Democratization, Reconstruction, emerging Markers and Structural Reforms,” visits Sarajevo, Zagreb, and Belgrade from May 25-June 2. The Seminar is led by GMF Vice President for Programs and political scientist, Ivan Vejvoda, a pivotal figure in the resistance movement to Milosevic, senior advisor on foreign policy to Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, and later head of civil society capacity building in the region for the Balkan Trust for Democracy. Under Vejvoda’s guidance, the group is analyzing the causes of failed political leadership in the region in the early 1990s, as well as assessing achievements made since and learning of the challenges that remain.
“This was my second visit to the Srebrenica region,” reflected Ricardo Alexandre (MMF ‘07), a journalist for Radio e Televisao de Portugal, who has been covering the region since 1996 and last visited Srebrenica 13 years ago. When asked about how his impressions of the present compared to his memories of the past, Alexandre noted that “the same heavy silence” burdens the population. In response to comments from the memorial site’s guide that each ethnic group in Bosnia persists in teaching its own version of history in school, Alexandre expressed concern. “If you don’t tell the truth to young generations, you’re not doing everything you should to prevent strife from happening again. Tolerance, respect for the other, peace-building, all must be a daily struggle and never taken for granted.”
GMF’s Transatlantic Leadership Seminars take participants to pivotal regions of the globe to learn face-to-face about effective leadership from high level political, diplomatic, civil society, and media leaders.