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Rebuilding Bosnia

Posted by Rebecca Brady on April 7, 2013 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Yesterday was a very busy day for me. I presented three different talks at two different conferences. While my math talks are interesting, the talk I did about Bosnia went better than I could have imagined. Almost everyone who went on the Honors trip to Bosnia came together to make a movie about our trip to present at the Academic Excellence Conference. The conference was on the day that is observed as the start of the war in Bosnia because it is the day that the siege of Sarajevo began. We had a wonderful crowd of people eager to learn about our trip, but more importantly about Bosnia. After we showing our movie we spent almost 45 minutes answering questions about the history, culture, the current situation and our personal experiences. Reflecting back on all we did and all the knowledge we gained is incredible. Realizing that we have made our campus more aware of what is happening in Bosnia and even paved the way for other Keene State students to go to Bosnia through Vahidins visit and this talk has been very powerful for us. If you would like to watch the video, you can view it on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CsDvh7JQ9o

Big Updates!

Posted by Rebecca Brady on March 26, 2013 at 8:35 PM Comments comments (2)

I have lots of big updates! Most importantly, I found out today that I am $1000 closer to my goal because of a grant from the Honors Program! I am beginning to realize that joining the Honors Program at Keene State has been one of the best decisions I've made over the past three years. From being in the Honors Program I have met my best friends, traveled abroad, and ultimately have stepped, rather leaped, out of my comfort zone. I remember this past summer when I only had $500 in my Bosnia fund and I was so scared that all my hard work would not be enough to get me back. I am happy to share my second update which is that I am officially going back to Bosnia, I have bought my plane ticket! At the end of May, almost a year to the day I returned to the United States, I will be on my way back to Bosnia!

Again I want to thank everyone for their continued support, without all of you, I would not  be where I am today, or where I will be at the end of May. I end this blog with a picture of me drinking out of  the Sebilj Fountain in Sarajevo. I was told by drinking water from this fountain that I will someday return to Sarajevo, I certainly didn't think it would be this soon. 


I got the Internship!

Posted by Rebecca Brady on February 2, 2013 at 8:25 PM Comments comments (1)

Today found out that I will officially be interning at the Tuzla Summer Institute this summer! I will be doing administrative work and teaching for two months. I will be teaching English and business type skills in a multiethnic setting. Excited does not even begin to explain the emotions I felt when I was told I had been accepted as an intern. It is surreal to me that the date I will fly back to Bosnia is the date that I flew home and began researching how I could get back. Here is the link to the Tuzla Summer Institute if you would like to learn more about it http://www.bildbosnia.org/tsi.html  


Just half an hour after finding out about the internship, I drove to Manchester with some of the people I went to Bosnia with to pick up Vahidin (the founder of the Center for Peace Building) from the airport. I could not have asked for a more perfect day! Spending the afternoon with him brought back so many great memories from our trip, but we were also reminded of the struggles he still faces in Bosnia. Nonetheless, it was so great to reconnect and catch up with him. I am looking forward to spending the week with Vahidin and drinking lots of coffee :) 


If anyone is in the Keene area, on Wednesday night at 7pm Vahidin, along with Judge Patricia Whalen, will be speaking at the Alumni Center on Main Street. I encourage anyone in the area to attend.  


Again, I would like to thank everyone who has supported me along this journey, especially my mom who encouraged me to apply for this internship even though I was convinced I would not get it. Thank you for believing in me!


Happy Holidays

Posted by Rebecca Brady on January 4, 2013 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (0)

I hope everyone has enjoyed the holidays! I wish everyone health, happiness and peace as we start the new year. 

While I am home for a few weeks between semesters I have been very busy continuing to do research for my summer in Bosnia. I recently sent in an application for an internship with an great organization. This internship would give me the opportunity to teach in northeastern Bosnia in a multiethnic setting. My fingers are crossed as a wait for a response!

I am continuing to study the Bosnian language. With help from a language learning dvd I received for Christmas, hopefully I will be able to increase my vocabulary and be able to hold a simple conversation by the time I travel to Bosnia. 

In the next few months I am looking forward to visit from Vahidin, one of the founders of the Center for Peace Building. Together with the people I traveled to Bosnia with, we wrote a grant that gave us money to bring Vahidin to campus for a week. Excited would be an understatement, as many of us were not sure we would ever see this incredible man once we left our hotel in Sarajevo on our last day. Also joining him, will be Judge Wahlen, who we met at the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Being a Vermont native, Judge Wahlen was able to help bridge some of the gaps between our culture and the culture of Bosnia and Herzegovina. As the date gets closer, I will post more information about their visit!

I would like to thank everyone who has supported me along this journey. I am so thankful for each and every one of you. I am amazed that I have raised over $1000 because of you. Only about $200 until I am half way to my total goal!

Opportunities

Posted by Rebecca Brady on October 22, 2012 at 9:10 PM Comments comments (1)

          First and foremost I would like to thank everyone who has and continues to support me on this journey! I have recently reached the $900 mark for donations! I cannot express how grateful I am to have such generous people in my life! Both the financial and emotional support I have received thus far amazes me.

          I have been searching tirelessly for grants and other funding opportunities to help me cover costs. I came to the realization that there are more grant opportunities if I go through a study abroad program. After some research, I found the summer program at the American University in Bosnia and Herzegovina (AUBiH). This eight week program would allow me to learn all about Bosnian history, culture, genocide, state building, and the Bosnian language. One of the major benefits is that it would allow me the opportunity to volunteer with different international organizations. The ones most interesting to me include UNICEF, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and United Nations Human Rights Council. Another benefit is that the program is only eight weeks long which would allow me to still spend time in Sanski Most, with the people at CIM who inspired me to being this journey.

          While I see this as a great opportunity, I will also continue to research funding specific to pure volunteer work. I again thank everyone for their support as I navigate the bumpy road back to Bosnia!


If you would like to learn more about the AUBiH summer program I am interested in, here is the link to the brochure http://aubih.edu.ba/en/studyabroad/brochure/Summer_Abroad_2013.pdf

Keene State Equinox

Posted by Rebecca Brady on September 27, 2012 at 6:00 PM Comments comments (1)

Today the Equinox, the Keene State College newspaper, printed a story about the Honors trip to Bosnia in May! I was honored to be interviewed for the article and to have some of my pictures chosen for the spread in the actual newspaper. A big thanks to Julie Conlon and Pam Bump for doing a wonderful job! Below is the link if you are interested in reading the article. 

http://keene-equinox.com/2012/09/group-ventures-to-bosnia-and-finds-beauty-in-midst-of-turmoil/


I would like to continually thank everyone that has supported me thus far and those who continue to support me on my journey back to BiH. I am in the process of writing three grant proposals to hopefully gain more funding! 

Linked for Life

Posted by Rebecca Brady on September 10, 2012 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (1)

It has been nearly a month since I have posted a blog and I apologize for that. I have since moved back to Keene and am living in a house with five friends, two of which I traveled to Bosnia with in May. Although our schedules are hectic, all being juniors now, we still find time to reminisce about the things we did and people we met while in Sanski Most and Sarajevo. It's amazing how our experiences can still bring tears our eyes or fill our hearts with joy. It is safe to say that the trip has had a lasting effect on our lives.

On Monday eight of the ten students that went to Bosnia with the Honors Program had dinner together. It was a comforting feeling to be around the people I had experienced so many raw emotions with. We all have a bond that will forever tie us together because of the experiences we shared thousands of miles away from our safe homes. It is amazing to see how a diverse group of students can spend two weeks together and then become linked for life. 

It amazes me how deep the bonds have become with the people I traveled to Bosnia with. Prior to the trip, most of us only knew each other by first name and major. It wasn't until we arrived at the airport in Germany that we realized we were all in this together. Long story short, our plane tickets were never confirmed and only eight students and one professor, who we had only met once, ended up on the first plane. When we got off the plane in Germany there were busses waiting to take us to the airport. The professor was the first one off the plane and unaware of our inexperience with international travel, got on the first bus and headed off to the airport. That left half of us waiting on the tarmac unsure of what to do. We waited and were able to all find each other once everyone got off the plane. Then, together, we made sure that everyone got on the bus and successfully made it to the terminal where our flight to Sarajevo was already boarding. This was the first time we realized that we would all need each other in order to get through this trip. That experience opened up the doors to many beautiful friendships. 


Although I have transitioned back into life a math education student, Bosnia is never far from my mind. I am beginning the process of writing a grant proposal for Keene State to help fund my trip. I will also begin taking Bosnian lessons soon. I try to say numbers in Bosnian when I am doing simple math to keep up with what I taught myself this summer. I hope everyone reading this enjoyed the rest of their summer and are as excited about the fall weather as I am! 

Thank you Ben and Jerry's!

Posted by Rebecca Brady on August 16, 2012 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Although I mentioned in an earlier post that the Ben and Jerry's Foundation was unable to give me a grant, the North Eastham Ben and Jerry's held a surprise fundraiser for my trip to Bosnia yesterday! I woke up to a facebook post from the scoop shop announcing that it was "Becca Day". My amazing coworkers donated all of the tips they made that day to my Bosnia fund. I can't express how thankful I am to have such incredible and supportive coworkers. I can't thank them enough. I was also very happily surprised to see that my boss wrote a check matching the amount of tips the scoopers made. Her kindness and generosity never ceases to amaze me. Because of them, the amount that has been donated to me doubled and I am only 1/4 away from enough money to purchase my plane ticket. I am so very lucky to work at the North Eastham Ben and Jerry's. Although my last day of work is tomorrow, and I won't be able to work there next summer due to my trip, that scoop shop and those scoopers will forever have a place in my heart for helping to make my dream come true. I love you all and will miss you very much next summer!!

Wildfires

Posted by Rebecca Brady on August 9, 2012 at 9:55 PM Comments comments (1)

I ask anyone reading my blog to keep Bosnia in their thoughts and prayers as wildfires rage in the southern and eastern parts of the country. Two of the wildfires are approaching an ammunition factory surrounded by a mind field, a product of the 1992-1995 war. One of the fires has begun to set off the mines. Thankfully, no one has been hurt at this point.

During the war, hidden landmines were placed all across the country. Because of the high costs of safely removing mines, many still exist today. To combat the land mine problem there has been an effort to mark all the landmines that have not been safely removed. Since the Dayton Peace Accords that ended the war in 1995, landmine safety is the only post war curriculum that has been initiated at the national level for all Bosnian schools, regardless of ethno-religious ties.

More information about the wild fires can be found here http://www.bradenton.com/2012/08/09/4151173/wildfires-threatening-bosnian.html

 

Steps in the Right Direction

Posted by Rebecca Brady on July 31, 2012 at 5:50 PM Comments comments (0)

 “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’sthe only thing that ever has” –Margaret Meade

Margaret Meade is right on the money with this quote. In Sanski Most, a town in Northwestern Bosnia, major changes are occurring as we speak because of an incredible organization that I had the pleasure of spending time with while I was in Bosnia this summer. The Center for Peacebuilding, or Centar za izgradnju Mira (CIM) sent out a newsletter this morning about a successful interreligious event held last night. Please click on this link to read this newsletter and others from CIM http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=51ebfab17f7c5d6582e4d48da&id=78fbdbcb3b

Learning about successes in peace building gives me hope for Bosnia, and the world. Sanski Most was an epicenter of violence during the war because it's located near the border of Serb dominated territory. Last night, two groups of people who were once at war, broke bread together. As mentioned in the newsletter, the most important part of the night was when two religious leaders from the town, one Muslim, one Orthodox, joined together in prayer. This is a major step in the right direction for moving towards a more peaceful Bosnia.

If you are interested in learning more about CIM here is their website: http://unvocim.net/eng/


 


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