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Latvia/Croatia: bridging communities

7 November 2023

Zagreb, Croatia: 12-15 October, 2023

In October, Latvian MARIO grantee, Sēlijas Salas, participated in a peer learning visit to Zagreb, engaging with the ‘Political Academy’ project implemented by fellow grantee, Association for Nurturing and Promoting the Culture, Musical and Spiritual Traditions of Bosniaks (ALEM). This project, empowers young Bosniaks and educates them on their rights and roles within Croatian society, features weekly lectures and workshops led by experts, with a focus on minority rights awareness and historical contributions.

The Political Academy project serves as a platform for Bosniak youth to explore their rights and historical significance within Croatian society, with a curriculum designed to empower and educate attendees on their cultural heritage and civic responsibilities. Through interactive workshops and lectures, participants gain insights into minority rights issues and are encouraged to become communicative and entrepreneurial leaders, fostering connections and breaking down prejudices about minority identities.

The Political Academy ensures broader social and political engagement. Participants are encouraged to explore their potential and capabilities, with workshops focusing on public speaking, communication and entrepreneurship. These practical skills not only empower young Bosniaks to advocate for their rights but also foster meaningful connections and partnerships, breaking down barriers and fostering a more inclusive society.

During the visit, the Latvian delegation engaged in discussions on the challenges faced by ethnic minorities in rural border areas and shared their experiences with the Bosniak participants. Additionally, they visited key institutions such as the Parliament of Bosniak Associations of Croatia and the central mosque in Zagreb, highlighting the importance of religious and cultural institutions in Bosniak community life.

Sēlijas Salasunites small towns, rural settlements, and active non-governmental organizations within the historic land of Selia. Established in 2017, it aims to promote Selia’s recognition, enhance local residents’ self-confidence, and improve rural life quality through methods like project attraction, community support, and rural tourism.

Association for Nurturing and Promoting the Culture, Musical, and Spiritual Traditions of Bosniaks (ALEM) is safeguarding and enhancing the cultural, musical, and spiritual heritage of Bosniaks. Through various initiatives and activities, ALEM seeks to protect the national identity of Bosniaks and advocate for the rights and interests of Bosniaks in Croatia and beyond.

This content is a guest post from one of our partner organizations about their work as part of our ‘Minorities, Accountability, Rights, Independence and Organisational Development’ (MARIO) programme. Learn more >

MARIO is funded by the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values Programme (2021-27) of the European Union (ref: 101091387).