Right to Be Human: The Fusing Narrative of Project 1948

In 1992, Bosnia and Herzegovina dissolved from the former country of Yugoslavia and became internationally recognized as an independent country, Bosnia-Herzegovina. But due to this division, a savage genocide took place between the three major ethno-religious groups of Bosnian Muslims, Serbian Orthodox and Croatian Catholics. The war that took place between 1992 and 1995 took the lives of 140,000 and displaced an estimated 4 million.

Project 1948, founded in December 2013 by Jennifer White, was stirred into existence because of the perpetual economic, sociological and psychological effects that have carried over to present day from the violent conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina almost twenty years before. The Oklahoma-based NGO has since spread its wealth of compassion and promotion of reconstruction to other post-war areas, inspired by its name's dedication: 1948 is the year the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was published. The document stated that all humans are inherently deserving of the rights that allow them to not only survive, but also to thrive as individuals and a community.

Photographers Without Borders and Project 1948 will be teaming up later this year.

Project 1948 is run by a cluster of social workers and psychologists, sociologists, bankers and nutritionists with the goal of the rejuvenation and sustainment of peace. Its focus on the care for those coping with the after-effects of violence is dominant in its mandate: the fractured minds of those who were present during the Bosnian genocide have caused emotional ripple effects that pass their trauma down to the next generation. This intergenerational transmission of trauma and its awareness is at the base of Project 1948's empathic design to rebuild Bosnia-Herzegovina and other countries with similar echoing effects of war.

The project applies its psychological healing through an arts-based peace building lens. Like PWB, Project 1948 combines the craft of photography with the promotion of grassroots social action. Its Cup of Peace program implements workshops where young Bosnian adults are taught the skills of photography and other arts-based therapeutic activities as a method of communicating the concerns for their community. Through the actions of capturing the daily lives of these young adults and further discussing their reasonings behind the concept and inspiration of their photos, Project 1948 is further able to identify the common issues shared between post-conflict victims. Project 1948 then follows through on discussions that prioritize the expressed concerns and narrow its focus into practical and peace-promoting action.

Project 1948 plans to develop general practices, policies and procedures relevant toward its peacekeeping initiative into the future. At the heart of its advocacy is conflict-resolution and encouragement of empathy between areas that once suffered inescapable horror. Its desire for reconciliation from the past lies within the shift of young adult perspective with an eye for peace and respect for all human life.

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