Bosnian and Herzegovinian Independence Day Celebrated with Strong Support from Diaspora in Washington D.C.

WASHINGTON DC, March 6th, 2023.

The 31st anniversary of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s independence was commemorated in Washington D.C. on March 3rd, 2023, with a reception at the Institute for Development Impact (I4DI). The event, organized by the I4DI and BHeart Foundation,  saw over 140 guests in attendance, including high-level representatives from the White House, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Commerce, USAID, the U.S. Congress, the Government of the District of Columbia and the World Bank. Notable attendees from the Washington diplomatic corps also graced the event, along with representatives of Bosnian-Herzegovinian diaspora organizations who strongly supported the occasion.

Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s proclamation designating March 1st as the Bosnian-American Day was celebrated enthusiastically. The proclamation acknowledges the significant contributions of the Bosnian and Herzegovinian diaspora to the city and surrounding areas through their multiethnic values. Dr. Christine Warnke, Chief of International Affairs and Protocol Officer of the DC Mayor’s Office highlighted the importance of this proclamation, emphasizing its role in honoring the diverse communities that make the city vibrant and inclusive. The proclamation recognizes and celebrates the important role of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian community in shaping the city’s cultural fabric.

On behalf of organizers, Adnan Hadrovic from I4DI and Gorana Simunovic Neskovic from BHeart spoke at the event. Hadrovic discussed strategic partnerships and American contributions to Bosnia’s Euro-Atlantic integration, while Simunovic Neskovic highlighted the role of youth in promoting culture and multiethnic values, citing BHeart Foundation’s 2023 summer study travel program in Bosnia  as an example.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia, Thomas J. Miller  emphasized the importance of investing in human capital to prevent further brain drain in the region.

“At I4DI, supporting sustainable development in Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of our top priorities. We believe that the power of the diaspora can drive positive change in the country,” said Azra Nurkic, CEO and Founder of I4DI. “We hosted the event at our new, tech-forward office to bring together members of the Bosnian-American community, as well as supporters and advocates for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Now more than ever, it is important to convene and empower community members to actively support democratic values, economic progress, and peace in the region.”

The cultural program presented by Andrea Pozderac,  was a highlight of the evening, providing guests with a moving and vibrant celebration of Bosnian-Herzegovinian culture. Mak Nurkic Kacapor delivered a stirring recital of “Text about Land” by Mak Dizdar, while the musical program presented by Dr. Asim Haracic, Mr. Amir Cizmic, and friends showcased a diverse range of traditional and popular songs from the region. The entertaining performance added to the celebratory atmosphere of the event and left guests feeling immersed in the rich cultural heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The event demonstrated diaspora’s strong support towards Bosnia and Herzegovina’s multiethnic and multiconfessional character, emphasizing the importance of promoting and preserving its cultural heritage and values.

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