March 26, 2019

Apply Now for Study Abroad Trip to Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia


Study Abroad Trip to Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia

School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University, Korea Campus

The Balkans Case: Reconciliation and Post-Conflict Reconstruction in the Aftermath of Mass Violence

(*CONF 385/397/695, 3 or 6 Credits)

2 weeks, 3 countries

July 6 – 18, 2019

Instructors: Dr. Borislava Manojlovic and Dr. Roland Wilson


Please enquire by sending a letter of interest to

By many, Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia are considered jewels of the Balkans with a rich history and architecture dating back to the time of Greek and Ottoman Empires.  However, like many regions of the “old world,” this region has also had its share of past conflicts.  Therefore, this course will look at the Balkans Wars and more specifically, post-conflict reconstruction. This is not about returning to some previous ‘stability,’ which may have brought about the conflict in the first place, but about societal change that enables conditions for sustainable peace.  The aim of this course is to understand not only how a contentious past, historical memories and various narratives impact the ways in which post-conflict societies function, but also to look into various social practices and initiatives needed to counter the negative effects of conflict through such means as justice, good governance, education and art. Specifically, we will explore in-depth strategies geared towards social transformation in Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia 23 years after the conflict in 1990s. to do this, we will visit a variety of historically significant and captivating places including Belgrade, Sarajevo, Mostar and Dubrovnik to learn about the different ethnic communities’ narratives and gain a comprehensive outlook of the current situation. The course will also focus on broader implications of the Balkans case for other post-conflict societies using comparative lens to illuminate the opportunities and challenges of post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation. Last but not least, we will learn how post-conflict reconstruction processes can contribute to building more equitable, just and peaceful societies.

The value of this experiential learning course is that it provides a very unique opportunity for students, scholars and professionals from a variety of backgrounds to travel abroad and visit three post-conflict societies in one trip to learn on the ground how post-conflict peace-building efforts impact the dynamics of relationships among different ethnic groups.  In addition, it provides a cost-effective format for those interested in the Balkans and Eastern Europe to travel three areas of the Balkans with experts and learn about the unique and rich history of the region while visiting world-famous sites.  The course will also provide a space in which participants will be able to reflect on and re-examine their own assumptions on conflict resolution theory and practice, and explore innovative ways of dealing with complex issues through workshops and panel discussions. Finally, this will be an excellent opportunity to network and establish relationships with representatives of local, regional and international organizations, engage with people on the ground and immerse in the rich history and culture of the region.


  • Post-conflict reconstruction and state fragility
  • Memory production and its impact on communities
  • Nationalism and identity
  • Justice in the aftermath of war
  • Trauma and healing
  • Gender and peacebuilding
  • Education for sustainable peace
  • Trends, initiatives and solutions for conflict resilient societies
  • History and culture of the region
  • Conflict Resolution methods and practices

Highlights of the Trip:

During this course, students will engage in conversations with key organizations, practitioners and scholars of conflict resolution, and local stakeholders including:

  • The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Belgrade
  • The UNDP Sarajevo
  • ECPD Belgrade
  • Youth Initiative for Human Rights
  • Resistance movement Otpor that led the toppling of President Milosevic in Belgrade
  • Humanitarian Law Centre, Sarajevo
  • Post-conflict Research Center
  • Nansen Dialogue (
  • United Women, Banja Luka
  • Youth Cultural Centre Abrasevic, Mostar

Practicing Conflict Resolution:

  • Reconciliation workshop in Dubrovnik
  • Diverse panel discussions with local peace activists
  • Interviews with key scholars/practitioners working on dealing with the past and reconciliation in the Balkans

Intense Historical and Cultural Immersion:

  • An interfaith conversation in Mostar with a Christian and Muslim family divided by the war
  • Visits to the Memorial Gallery and cultural landmarks in Sarajevo
  • Tours of Kelemegdan park and old fortress in Belgrade and a visit to President Tito’s Mausoleum
  • An excursion to the Mostar Bridge and Kravice waterfalls
  • A tour of Old Town Dubrovnik
  • Free time to visit and tour other places

Course Structure: The course is tentatively scheduled to take place in early July (5-18 July 2019). Students will spend a total of 13 days in Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia in addition to one online preparatory and one follow-up meeting. Each day will be structured as ~3 hours lectures/class time, and approximately ~4-6 hours of field experience tours, and discussions/interviews with local scholars/practitioners and those directly affected by the conflict. Each evening we will gather to have post-session debriefing and feedback discussions.  This will be done while studying and traveling in various parts of the three countries. We will also provide ample time for participants to get out and visit local areas. The difference between students taking the class for 3 or 6 credits will be in the size of their assignments.

Eligibility: This course is open to all Mason and non-Mason BA, MA/MS students as a 3- or 6-credit course, to non-students; and the public as a professional development seminar/trip as a non-credit trip.

The course instructors: Dr. Borislava Manojlovic and Dr. Roland B. Wilson are Co-directors of the Peace and Conflict Studies Center Asia (PACSC Asia), and Professors at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University Korea Campus.

*Program Fee: The course fee of $3,200 covers hotel rooms (double occupancy) for 12 nights, 2 meals per day, in-country ground transportation, cultural excursions, entrance fees, and course speakers’ costs. Cost of tuition depends on the number of credits needed (3 or 6), but will be given at the low in-State GMU rate. Cost may also vary slightly based on number of participants. The course can also be taken as a non-credit course and/or for professional development seminar/trip.  Cost  does not include airfare.