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Dženeta Karabegović: There is a Possibility to Fix Things Easier in Bosnia and Herzegovina Than Abroad!
Jan 05, 2018

Dženeta Karabegović: There is a Possibility to Fix Things Easier in Bosnia and Herzegovina Than Abroad!

After living in Germany, America, Sweden, and completing a doctorate in England, Professor Dženeta returns to B&H where she comes to teach new generations of Bosnian Herzegovinian (BH) students at the International Burch University and continues her research work.

After a childhood spent in Banja Luka, Dženeta Karabegović, a professor at the International Burch University, Department of International Relations and European Studies (IRES), subjects’ world politics, sociology, diplomacy, and EU politics, because of the war situation is being forced to leave her hometown where she moves to Germany. Growing up in Berlin linked her with German language and literature, which was her first love as well, but the texts of Goethe and Brecht remained as inspiration in spiritual relaxation.

As late as 1998, Professor Dženeta with her parents and sisters leaves the old continent and goes to far-off America where she enrolled in studies of political science and German, including Holocaust studies. The profound investigative spirit of the professor in America has led to a reflection on the research of what was at that moment a part of the Bosnian Diaspora.

"In America, for the first time, I started to think intensively about why nobody is talking about the Bosnian Diaspora, the more I grew up in a very active bh society my family was close with." One of her interests was the fact that people were not talking about the income of our people in the diaspora, and more often because of the negative stories or purely economic issues for the diaspora. "I was interested in why people do not vote in greater number, how they can contribute to building peace and a better future in B&H."

Based on the comparative project she has written about bh associations whose work was interested in Sweden and in America, Professor Dženeta received a prestigious Fulbright scholarship to pursue her project at Uppsala University. "This is where my real academic research on the diaspora and migration populations started, and the reasons why these people are mobilized on various issues related to their motherland and countries of reception."

After Sweden, Professor Dženeta returns to America where she comes to the University of Chicago where she returns to international relations studies and to professors who are known for the best experts in the field all over the world. That way brought a young professor to England where she began and completed her Ph.D. at Warwick University.

"As part of my doctorate, I had the opportunity to study different diaspora in five countries in Europe that have a homeland with questionable sovereignty. For example, B&H has an external sovereignty, although this story looks different when it comes to issues of internal sovereignty. We have political actors here who deny the state they are in, they deny their passports. There are countries like Kosovo or Kurdistan, which have questionable external sovereignty, and who are not recognized by all countries in the world. These various constellations create interesting questions about the ways in which each of these diaspora rules as a political actor at various levels."

"I was initially wondering how the diaspora can affect the issues of transitional justice and how the diaspora mobilizes on these issues. As a political scientist, I created a typology based on this, followed by field research and finally defense of the doctorate, which in the future I hope to become a book. However, political issues should also be discussed. It's clear that bh. diaspora does not vote in the number in which they could vote. For example, we know according to research in 1996 that close to 500,000 people were registered for voting in the diaspora, and that these numbers are much lower today. When we talk about the Bosnian and Herzegovinian Diaspora, we need to talk about subcategories within one body. Of course, we have a working diaspora who left the country in the 1960s and 1970s, and this part of the population did not pronounce anything different than that of the Yugoslavs, the more so today's situation is something that is unknown, and the confrontation with politics and bureaucracy in the mother of the problem. We also have a large group of people who left B&H in the power of the 1990s, who today have integrated themselves as citizens of various countries around the world, possibly carrying war trauma and negative experiences from B&H. Then, of course, we have the latest diaspora, mostly young people who leave our country because of bad conditions, they are repeating the essence of migration that took place throughout Yugoslavia, although today cities are leaving, not only smaller places, but all the friars and whole families instead of individuals. "

"Currently, we are working on a diaspora-oriented strategy and there are now several projects that want and work on how to connect bh diaspora with the motherland, regarding the transfer of knowledge and investments, which are one of the largest in the whole world. Institutions in B&H should rely on examples of countries like Kosovo, Israel or Ireland to restore links to their diaspora. What we need is an open and clear strategy for the diaspora, a strategy that will give people the opportunity to contribute to B&H and show that something can be done in B&H as well. There are already some initiatives done by some people and you can meet these people on a daily basis. My wish for return was based on my academic work and my conviction that I can contribute something positive with my return. "

"At the end, everyone is asking me why I came back, they find it incredible because they focus only on the worst in B&H. I just do not have the right answer, I just know that I had the desire to come back and see if I can achieve some of my personal and professional goals here. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, I see obstacles, but also when I compare with other countries in which I have lived, this is my country, whatever it was and if we cannot do something here then the question is where we can at all."

"In B&H, a lot of things do not work properly, therefore, it's relatively easy here to change things for the better, easier than in countries like America, everything is brought to perfection, so any change is much more difficult and slower. Therefore, my opinion is clear, there is an opportunity to change something for the better, the more that there are minded ones who have positive energy and the will to do so. At institutions like the International Burch University where I have the opportunity to teach in English with a variety of academic literature in English, where we explore topics that are relevant to B&H, the Balkans and the world, I have found such people and I am looking forward to continuing the joint cooperation.”