16-21 July 2017

          Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina


The Swiss Helsinki Committee and its project partners1 are pleased to announce the call for applications for the Summer School “Challenge History” which will take place from 16 to 21 July 2017 in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. We are inviting open-minded students in the third grade of High Schools from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo2 to apply for the Summer School. The six-day event will enable its participants:

  • to reflect on historical narratives, particularly those related to the recent wars in the Balkans, and to engage in a constructive dialogue on these legacies;
  • to compare historical narratives and challenge preconceived ideas about the past;
  • to discuss with their peers possible ways of overcoming conflicts from the past and building a common future
  • to apply the acquired knowledge in their future education and activities; and
  • to network with young people from the region and have fun while learning together.

Rationale for the Summer School “Challenge History”

Young people have a crucial role to play in the ongoing reconciliation process in the Western Balkans. In order to achieve a peaceful future and to rebuild connections across the region, the involvement of the new generation is particularly important.

Many divisions and conflicts in the region have their origin in divisive memories and interpretations of the recent past. For this very reason, the Summer School “Challenge History” addresses the past in order to build a better future. Its aim is to encourage constructive debates on the legacies of the past among High School students from the Western Balkan. We believe that young people from this region have an enormous potential to bring about positive change.

“Challenge History” aims to contribute to full use this potential.

The 2017 edition of the Summer School targets High School students from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo. For organizational reasons, it has not been possible at this stage to extend the call for applications to other countries of the region. The future development of the Summer School will give interested students from additional countries of the Western Balkans the opportunity to participate in the “Challenge History” project.

Information about the Summer School “Challenge History”

Dates: 16-21 July 2017 (6 days) – participants will be required to attend all the sessions during the Summer School. The arrival day is on July 16 at 18.00 the latest. The departure day is July 21 not before 12.00.

Place: Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina – the accommodation will be organized in cooperation with the United World College, Mostar

Costs and expenses: The organizers will cover all the costs of travel, visas, accommodation and meals during the Summer School. Members of the organization staff will accompany students on their travel to Mostar and back home.

Working language: English – participants must have working knowledge of English language

The Summer School “Challenge History” will consist of the following four main modules:

  • Identity
  • Legacies
  • Contrasting stories
  • Shared narratives

Each of these modules will be organized in an interactive way and be based on a variety of different formats, such as: lectures, workshops, field visits, debates, discussions, case studies, creative activities, etc. Distinguished experts from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Serbia will lead the modules. As a complement, cultural and evening side-events will be organized on the basis of participants’ inputs.

Who can apply?

  • Students in the third grade of High Schools (at the time of the application submitted), who will not have attained the age of 18 at the time of the Summer School , and who have the permission of the parents or legal tutors to participate
  • From Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Serbia
  • Who wish to learn about history of the region from an alternative perspective
  • Who have sufficient knowledge of English language, in order to be able to follow and participate in the sessions


How to apply?

Interested students are invited to fill in the application form (see attached). The application form should be accompanied with a motivation letter in which they will:

  1. briefly present themselves
  2. describe their motives for applying for the Summer School “Challenge History” and explain why they believe such an initiative is important
  3. point out in which way they could personally and as participants contribute to positive outcomes of the Summer School

The application form together with the motivation letter should be sent to the Swiss Helsinki Committee via e-mail before April 28, 2017.


The 20 participants will be selected on the basis of their motivation to acquire additional knowledge and to engage in critical debates, and according to the frame of the basic application criteria to fulfil. The organizers are committed to the principles of equality and diversity and, therefore, we are inviting students of all genders and ethnic and religious backgrounds to apply.

  1. The Swiss Helsinki Committee, as the leading partner, implements this project in close cooperation with Forum ZFD (Forum Civil Peace Service), Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), Euroclio HIP BiH, United World College Mostar (BiH), Center for Peace and Tolerance (Kosovo), Democracy Plus (Kosovo), and Belgrade Centre for Security Poli-cy (Serbia).
  2. The long-term project aims to gather High School students from all the Western Balkan countries. Unfortunately, for organizational reasons and due to reduced resources, the organizers have to limit the attendance at the 2017 Summer School in Mostar to High School students from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo.