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The Dynamics of Peacebuilding Success and Failure in Bosnia

Faculty lecture by Adam Moore, UCLA, Geography.

The city of Mostar is often cited as emblematic of the failure of international peacebuilding efforts in post-war Bosnia. But it is not the case that all of the country has been plagued by such troubles. Perhaps the most marked contrast is the Brcko District in the northeast corner of the country. Like Mostar, Brcko is one of the few remaining ethnically heterogeneous cities in Bosnia. Following the war both towns were identified as ‘trouble’ spots with high levels of ethnic tension and potential for renewed conflict. Despite these similarities the trajectories of Brcko and Mostar in the past fifteen years could not be more different. While Mostar remains mired in distrust and division, with a barely functioning municipal government, Brcko has become a model of what Bosnia could be. Its multi-ethnic institutions operate relatively well compared to other municipalities in Bosnia, contributing to high levels of economic development. In this talk, Adam Moore will argue that a conjunction of four factors accounts for these contrasting peacebuilding outcomes: 1) the design of local political institutions; 2) sequencing of political and economic reforms; 3) local and regional legacies from the war, and; 4) contrasting institutional structures and peacebuilding practices of international organizations in these two cities.

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