The below is attributable to Spokesperson Rebecca Chalif:
Administrator Power’s second day in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) began at Treca Gymnazium, an educational facility that was destroyed during the war and then rebuilt in 1999 with USAID’s support. She joined a group of young women during their volleyball practice and spoke with them about the many critical issues facing youth in BiH including insecurity, lack of economic opportunity, and barriers to future employment.
Administrator Power then met with Željko Komšić, Šefik Džaferović, and Milorad Dodik, the three members of the BiH Presidency. In a candid conversation, the Administrator emphasized the importance of peace and the danger of secessionist rhetoric and actions. The Administrator emphasized that Bosnia and Herzegovina’s future depends on respecting the letter and the spirit of the Dayton Peace Accords, which provide an important path to democratic progress, economic opportunity, and lasting peace in BiH. She conveyed to the members of the Presidency the concerns she heard from many young people during her visit—principally, that corruption and division are making it difficult for younger generations to see a future for themselves in BiH. With upwards of half of all BiH citizens living outside the country due to corruption, lack of career prospects, and frustration at the state of politics, the Administrator underscored the need for unity and stability to drive growth and opportunity. She urged politicians to return to the process of governance to advance important reforms that matter to the citizens of BiH, to actively counter corruption, and to govern transparently in the public interest.
The Administrator joined the Federation of BiH Minister for Environment and Tourism, Republika Srpska Ministry of Trade and Tourism, and TripAdvisor to launch an international campaign that will showcase the beauty and culture of BiH. Tourism was one of the fastest growing economic sectors in BiH before the pandemic, and this joint effort will be aimed at helping the people of BiH in attracting new visitors in the coming years. The campaign is one part of USAID’s efforts to support BiH’s tourism sector through partnerships with BiH’s tourism boards, tourist-focused businesses, airlines, and tour operators. Later in the day, the Administrator discussed the importance of the tourism sector to BiH’s economy and its ability to unite all BiH citizens through a shared sense of pride with a number of entrepreneurs who are helping to bolster tourism in BiH by reviving and promoting the Herzegovina Wine Route with USAID support.
The Administrator then held a press conference at the National Museum to discuss the highlights from her visit and United States’ commitment to being a partner to all people in BiH as they continue the work of building a multi-ethnic, inclusive democracy that delivers for all citizens. Administrator Power then met with the staff of the U.S. Embassy, where she took their questions and thanked them for their tireless work and commitment to supporting the people of BiH.