Teaching Students About Bosnia And Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina, a country nestled in the heart of Southeast Europe, has a rich history and cultural heritage. With its diverse ethnic groups, crossroads of different civilizations, and a variety of historical events, exploring this country can provide students with numerous educational benefits. In this article, we will discuss various ways to teach students about Bosnia and Herzegovina.
1. Introduce the geographic and geopolitical landscape
Start by providing a basic overview of the geography, including its location in Southeast Europe, the countries it borders (Croatia, Serbia, and Montenegro), and its unique topography. Discuss the importance of the Bosnian and Herzegovinian terrain, which is characterized by mountains, forests, and rivers.
Mention the political structure: it is a parliamentary democracy with three major ethnic groups – Bosniaks (Muslims), Croats (Catholics), and Serbs (Orthodox Christians). Explain the power-sharing system among these three groups outlined in the Dayton Agreement of 1995.
2. Delve into history
Present a brief historical account of different periods in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s past – from its prehistoric era to its emergence as a medieval kingdom ruled by the local nobility. Cover the Ottoman conquest in 1463 and examine how it left an indelible imprint on present-day Bosnian culture.
The numerous cultural influences should be highlighted during discussions on the Austro-Hungarian rule from 1878 to 1918. Finally, talk about World War I, Yugoslavia’s formation after World War II under communist leader Josip Broz Tito, followed by an account of the tragic Yugoslav Wars that led to Bosnia’s independence as a sovereign state in 1992.
3. Explore cultural diversity
Discuss different traditions that have been interwoven into Bosnia and Herzegovina’s social fabric. Teach your students about the complex ethnic structures, major religions, and various languages spoken in the country. Emphasize the role that this cultural diversity plays in shaping modern-day Bosnia and Herzegovina.
4. Learn about traditional music, arts, and crafts
Expose your students to Bosnian folk music – Sevdah, which carries strong Ottoman influences. Listen to traditional instruments like Zurla, Gusle, and Tamburica. In addition, teach them about the traditional weaving technique called kilim-making, the unique architecture of Ottoman-style homes in Sarajevo, and the intricate stone carving skills of Bosnian craftsmen.
5. Sample the cuisine
Introduce your students to Bosnian cuisine that is a delightful blend of Balkan, Turkish, Austrian, and Hungarian culinary traditions. Have them try signature dishes like Ćevapi (grilled minced meat), Burek (meat-filled pastry), Begova čorba (creamy vegetable soup), and Baklava (dessert made of filo dough with nuts and honey).
6. Discuss contemporary challenges
Lastly, engage your students in a conversation around current issues faced by Bosnia and Herzegovina – political instability rooted in ethnic tensions, high rates of unemployment, corruption, and migration.