Day One of Administrator Samantha Power’s Trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina

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For Immediate Release

Friday, January 21, 2022

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Rebecca Chalif:‎

On January 20, Administrator Power was in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) to reaffirm the United States’ steadfast commitment to building a democratic, inclusive, prosperous future for the people of BiH. The Administrator underscored that this future depends on political leaders and citizens working together to build and reinforce the institutions that are foundational for an inclusive democracy.

The Administrator began the day meeting with investigative journalists from a number of local media outlets at the offices of Oslobodjenje, the oldest print outlet in the country. They discussed the crucial role of independent media and investigative journalism in BiH in uncovering corruption and keeping citizens informed during a time of increasing polarization and disinformation. Supporting independent media is a fundamental pillar of U.S. efforts to strengthen democracy and counter endemic corruption in BiH.

The Administrator then met with a group of wartime detention camp survivors. The survivors were each from a different ethnic background and faced horrific persecution because of their ethnic identity. Today, they are part of an ethnically diverse group of camp survivors who have come together to jointly promote understanding, reconciliation, and trust throughout BiH. The survivors described their efforts pushing back against divisive and dangerous rhetoric, drawing on their own experiences to underscore to younger generations why war must never again occur in BiH. Since 2010, USAID has been working closely with members of war victims’ associations who share their stories with other citizens of BiH, particularly young people, to make clear the real impact of conflict. Through their work they facilitate discussions about how BiH can move forward through peacebuilding and reconciliation.

Administrator Power continued the day traveling to East Sarajevo in Republika Srpska to meet with young women leading environmental activism and fighting corruption in their community. She lauded them for their courage in standing up to and uncovering corruption and engaging their communities in their efforts. The Administrator emphasized that countering corruption is central to USAID’s and the U.S. Government’s engagement in BiH and is fundamental to strengthening BiH’s democratic institutions and the rule of law.

The Administrator participated in an interview with N1 TV and held a roundtable discussion with journalists from across the country to discuss the current political situation in BiH and why the U.S. is strongly committed to efforts at moving BiH back to the path of reconciliation and continuing to build a multi-ethnic, inclusive democracy that delivers for all citizens. The Administrator then visited the U.S. Embassy and met with the many dedicated locally employed staff who have supported USAID’s mission for over 25 years. The majority of these local staff have worked with the USAID Mission in BiH since it was first established after the war, and the Administrator expressed her gratitude for their commitment to building BiH’s future.

Administrator Power concluded the first day of her visit by meeting with a group of young political leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to working across political divides to address the concerns of BiH citizens. During the discussion, the Administrator emphasized that the future of BiH depends on young people across all sectors of society taking up the mantle of leadership.

Last updated: May 03, 2022

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