The Post-Conflict Research Center’s (PCRC) mission is to cultivate an environment for sustainable peace and facilitate the restoration of intergroup relationships in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the greater Balkans region using creative multimedia projects and programmes that help foster tolerance, moral courage, mutual understanding, and positive change.
Ordinary Heroes – an award winning project
In August 2014, PCRC’s project ‘Ordinary Heroes’ was selected by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group to receive first prize in the 2014 Intercultural Innovation Award. The award recognises highly innovative and sustainable grassroots projects that promote dialogue and intercultural understanding, whilst also making vital contributions to prosperity and peace in global societies. More than 600 non-profit organisations from over 100 countries were considered, with the final awards being presented at the 6th Global Forum of the UNAOC in Bali by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations
PCRC was established in 2010 by Founder Velma Šarić and Co-founder Leslie Woodward, and has already developed a strong history of planning and organising successful student programmes, youth conferences and workshops throughout the region.
Much of PCRC’s work focuses on using multimedia to illuminate narratives from the past and use them as educational tools in the present, and as such the organisation has extensive experience in documentary production and photographic exhibition, having worked with local and international photographers, journalists, and filmmakers on various projects. Some noted photographers with which the organisation has worked include Paul Lowe, Velija Hasanbegović, and Taryn Simon. Noted filmmakers include Abigail Disney, Mirko Pincelli and Angelina Jolie.
PCRC also organises study abroad and research programmes for universities such as Harvard, NYU, Georgetown, and the Danish Institute for Study Abroad, and a variety of youth conferences such as “Picturing Moral Courage: Stories of Survival” and “Remembrance & Forgiveness”. Additionally, each year PCRC partners with the United Nations Office of the Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide (OSAPG) to hold a capacity-building seminar on Preventing and Responding to Genocide and Mass Atrocities for NGO and civil society representatives working in the fields of human rights, peacebuilding, and the prevention and prosecution of crimes against humanity.
One Million Bones: Bones of the Balkans
One Million Bones: Bones of the Balkans is a large-scale social arts practice, which combines education, hands-on art making, and public installations to raise awareness of ongoing genocides and mass atrocities. PCRC first became acquainted the project in June 2013 when the organization and approximately 2,500 volunteers from across the United States gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to lay out over one million handcrafted bones as a visible petition against genocide and mass atrocities. The installation of the bones was the highlight of a three-day event that included speakers from across the anti-genocide movement, a candlelight vigil, educational activities and an advocacy day. Since the close of the installation on the National Mall, these bones have been awaiting their next call to action.
In July 2015, Bosnia recognizes a tragic anniversary: twenty years since the Bosnian genocide and the massacre in Srebrenica. The Art of Revolution and PCRC will be working together to bring 100,000 of the bones, created for the One Million Bones project to Bosnia to be displayed in the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial Center during a special ceremony commemorating the victims.
Ordinary Heroes is an educational multimedia project that engages participants in activities and discussion around the thematic issues of transitional justice, discrimination, active and passive bystandership, and the different roles that individuals adopt during conflict. It consists of several components including a five-part documentary series, “The Rescuers” photography exhibition, accompanying conferences and youth workshops across Bosnia, and the Srđan Aleksić youth competition (which challenges students to find their own stories of transitional justice, peacebuilding, moral courage, and rescue).
Uspomene 677 is a documentary film about contemporary life in Bosnia, examining how memories of civil war affect young people. It is one of the first documentaries to examine the experiences and viewpoints of all three ethnicities within Bosnia, and is a collaboration between PCRC, Director of Photography Mrko Pincelli and Pinch Media.
A House for Hatidza
A House for Hatidza is a capital and capacity-building project, constructing a new home for Hatidza Saiti and her son. In addition to Hatizda’s home, which will be located on the 2nd floor of the newly constructed building, PCRC will be building a community centre on the 1st floor. The community centre will be run by a deserving organisation, located in Gorazde, and will also be used by local organisations that are working toward a brighter future for Bosnian citizens, victims, and youth members.
Breaking the Stigma and Silence
‘Breaking the Stigma and Silence’ is a multimedia campaign that increases awareness of the consequences of the use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war. The project provides a new perspective, for the first time exploring the experiences of female victims from Bosnia’s three constituent ethnic groups simultaneously. Four roundtable events will provide women who have been forced to suffer in silence an equal platform to present, discuss and share their experiences of sexual violence during the Bosnian War, as well as the social stigmas and lack of support that they have since endured. The accompanying ‘Legacy of Rape’ photographic exhibition will also connect these issues to, and increases awareness of, the ‘Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, London 2014’.
Due to PCRC’s large network and fair and bal anced approach, in February 2012 Angelina Jolie asked the organisation to act as co-hosts for the Sarajevo premiere of her film In the Land of Blood & Honey. PCRC was responsible for distributing her personal donation of 2,100 tickets, and was also the only organisation to hold private screenings for victims of rape and war before the movie’s release.