The 2nd Congressional staff trip to BiH that ACBH helped to organize concluded on August 12, 2012. The trip consisted of a delegation of 12 senior Senate and House of Representatives staffers and was sponsored by the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA). ACBH is grateful for TCA’s support and for enabling Congressional staff to visit Sarajevo, Konjic and Mostar and learn of the need and importance of continued U.S. engagement in BiH.
While in BiH, the delegation met with the Chairman of the Presidency of BiH, Mr. Bakir Izetbegovic, officials at the U.S. Embassy and Turkish Embassy, the American University in Bosnia and Herzegovina (AUBiH) as well as the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).
“The trip to Bosnia brought to light Turkey’s efforts in fostering peace and economic development in the Balkans,” said TCA President G. Lincoln McCurdy. “The delegation witnessed the spirit of multiculturalism that has survived in Sarajevo through the city’s churches, mosques and synagogues.”
Apart from high level meetings, the delegation participated in a history tour of Mostar and Sarajevo and visited Tito’s nuclear bunker in Konjic. The BiH portion of the trip ended with a visit to the “Sarajevo Tunnel” which was constructed by the citizens of the city during the siege in the 1990’s. The tunnel provided the citizens of Sarajevo with a link to the outside world since the entire city was cut off by Serbian forces. Today, the tunnel remains as a reminder of the struggles that the residents of Sarajevo and BiH endured during the longest modern day siege in human history.
“All of us at ACBH are thankful to TCA for their generous support and sponsorship of this trip to BiH. We are also grateful to officials at AUBiH for their assistance and cooperation in organizing this trip. I believe that it enabled the Congressional staff to get a better picture of the current ongoing political and economic issues and the importance of a stronger U.S. engagement in the region” said ACBH Executive Director, Ajla Delkic.
ACBH hopes to increase the number of Congressional trips to BiH in the coming years and hopes to further engage U.S. and BiH policymakers in order to guarantee peace and stability within BiH and the entire Southeast Europe region.