International Conference on Sarajevo in the World

The city of Sarajevo is both the cultural and political centre of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but much more as well. It is an historic and cultural synthesis of all the ethical and aesthetic ideals that inform Bosnian identity as a social pluralism that has developed and is constantly renewing itself within a sustainable political order.

An historical and cultural treasure, its culture of coexistence represents a major achievement in a contemporary world marked by constantly growing urban populations and ever more complex relations between people of different religious, political and cultural backgrounds.

Baščaršija is both the actual and the symbolic heart of Sarajevo and so of the country as a whole. It is a symbolic synthesis of universal significance. Indeed, it is Baščaršija and the organic synthesis of religious pluralism, characteristic of it since it was first mentioned in a text in 1462, that makes Sarajevo so unique among European cities. Mosques, churches and synagogues bear joint witness, in an exciting and incontestable way, to this religious plurality, exemplifying a model of utmost importance for modern forms of society.

Second International conference on SARAJEVO IN THE WORLD

May 4th-7th 2016

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In recent centuries, Bosnia’s religious pluralism has come under attack from various forms of destructive ideology. The universal values expressed in and through Sarajevo and Baščaršija have been dismissed from serious intellectual consideration or presentation. It is incumbent upon all those who participate in political, cultural and economic life to help restore Sarajevo and Baščaršija, as core symbols of Bosnian identity, to the dignity they deserve as treasures of world heritage. A fundamental sea-change in attitudes is urgently required to make Sarajevo and Baščaršija, the fullest expressions of Bosnia’s social pluralism, the subject of serious and comprehensive scholarly evaluation. The results must be presented in Sarajevo itself, but also to the country and the world.

One way of approaching this task is through regular annual gatherings focused on investigating, evaluating and representing Sarajevo’s history and culture in the broadest possible intellectual framework.
Sarajevo has, as the epitome of everything Bosnian, had a presence in the world for more than five centuries, but its name is now particularly associated with the horrors that took place here in the final years of the 20th century. Indeed, the Old Town Municipality chose May 2nd as its municipal day precisely in order to mark the suffering of the town and its people. Our proposal is for the conference to be organised so as to coordinate with the series of events planned to mark that day.


The goal of this international academic conference is to affirm the universal values expressed in and through Baščaršija as the historical and cultural kernel of the city of Sarajevo and of Bosnia as a whole. This goal comprises the following elements:
  • To initiate and develop a long-term programme of scientific investigation, evaluation and presentation of the myriad cultural aspects of Baščaršija;
  • To bring together leading researchers, thinkers and artists from within the country and abroad to discuss and explore aspects of Baščaršija’s past, present and future, as a symbolic paradigm for Sarajevo and so for the sustainability of plural society and social pluralism more generally;
  • To generate scholarly and artistic work that will reflect on the symbolic and material value of Baščaršija as the cultural and economic life force of Sarajevo and its relationship to positive trends in the contemporary world;
  • To raise awareness of and contribute to thoughtful articulation of both the material and non-material values of life in Baščaršija, as the central core of Sarajevo, and of everything associated with it;
  • To stimulate scholarly, educational and artistic programmes to help raise awareness of the heritage of Baščaršija and so of Sarajevo as a whole and so to promote its preservation and further creative development;
  • To assist in the presentation of Baščaršija and so of the city of Sarajevo as a public good that belongs to the world;
  • To stimulate various forms of activity related to the building of educational, scholarly and cultural institutional capacity that can represent the values encapsulated in Baščaršija as essential elements of Sarajevo and as expressed the core of the Bosnian cultural paradigm, etc.


The proposal is to organise an international conference to be entitled Sarajevo and the World, at a pre-agreed date each year, associated with the municipal day of Old Town Municipality. The conference would be organised on the basis of three scholarly discussions/roundtables:
a) Sarajevo as a symbol of religious plurality in the world;
b) Historical and contemporary perspectives on life, art and culture in Sarajevo;
c) Civic and individual responsibility for the preservation, renewal and revitalisation of cultural goods in plural societies.
In order to maintain a certain degree of continuity, two of these discussions or roundtables would be retained over successive years, while the third would change to suit the evolving situation and relevant developments.In addition to these scholarly discussions, there will also be a number of cultural events – exhibitions, musical evenings, public discussion groups, promotional activities, etc.


In order to realise these goals, the Committee will invite prominent academics and scholars from around the country and from abroad, specialising in cultural heritage, its evaluation and its integration into modern ways of life. This would include architects and historians, artists and philosophers, sociologists and politicians, theologians and economists, etc.

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The Founder

The formal initiator and founder of the conference on Sarajevo and the World is the Old Town Municipality.

The Organisational Framework

While a more complex framework may be established in future years, technical implementation and administration for this year’s conference will be done by an Organisation committee comprising prominent experts from within the country and abroad, tasked with establishing the framework, determining contents, and inviting participants, etc.. The Organisation Committee for the Second international conference on Sarajevo and the World will include the following members: Mile Babić, Ibrahim Hadžibajrić, Amra Hadžimuhamedović, Dževad Karahasan, Rusmir Mahmutćehajić, Desmond Maurer, Žarko Papić, Dragana Tomašević i Safet Zec.
The chair of this committee will be the mayor of Old Town Municipality, ex officio.


An approximate breakdown of the funding required to organise a single conference is given in the following table, based on the following assumptions: a two-day event, with 50 participants, covering all the costs of participation by invited participants, and including some form of compensation for guest speakers.

Possible sources of financing

The following appear the most likely sources of financing for the international conference: Old Town municipality, the city of Sarajevo, Sarajevo Canton, the relevant federal ministries, business sponsors, international organisations, etc.

The organiser

Due to the short deadline, organisation of the conference for 2016 will be entrusted to International Forum Bosnia. In future years, organisation of the conference may be entrusted to a public institution, a non-governmental organisation, or to a grouping of such organisations under a joint memorandum. It is, however, important to accept that establishing a project of this sort and ensuring its professional development over a number of years is only possible on the basis of a long-term and continuous engagement.


The following outputs are expected from the international conference:
  • the publication of a volume of conference proceedings;
  • the establishment of Internet web portals which would spread knowledge about Sarajevo both within the country and abroad;
  • the establishment of certain long-term projects for the protection, rehabilitation and presentation of Sarajevan heritage;
  • the establishment of a number of associations for the protection and revitalisation of the traditional heritage of Baščaršija and Sarajevo; and
  • the stimulation of business ventures in relation to the cultural heritage of Sarajevo and other associated aspects.

Second International conference on SARAJEVO IN THE WORLD

May 2nd-4th 2016


May 2nd 2016

19:00-20:00 Open discussion on subject „Sarajevo in modern art"

May 3rd 2016

Second International Conference on SARAJEVO IN THE WORLD

First panel
Sarajevo as a symbol of religious plurality in the world

Second panel
Historical and contemporary perspectives on life, art and culture in Sarajevo: Social, political and economic perspectives

Special session of the Sarajevo Old Town municipal assembly

Third panel
Civic and individual responsibility for the preservation, renewal and revitalisation of cultural goods in plural societies.


May 4th 2016

Open discussion on subject "Books about Sarajevo"

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Documents and announcements

1. Public Announcement (eng - pdf)
2. Second international symposium on Sarajevo in the world (eng - pdf)
3. On the aestheticisation of politics and Rusmir Mahmutčehajić on Andrić (eng - pdf)
4. The Debt, public announcement (eng - pdf)
5. On philosophy and theology (eng - pdf)
6. An evening with Pontanima - Musica sacra Bosnae (eng - pdf)

The Friends of IFB
The work of International Forum Bosnia is supported by a wide range of organizations and individuals.