H.E. Matt Field, the British Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, paid a visit to the International Burch University today. The Ambassador delivered a guest lecture to university students and faculty. Ambassador Field was welcomed by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mersid Poturak, rector of IBU. During the presentation, the ambassador discussed current events in our country and around the world, as well as how current challenges on the global political stage can be turned into opportunities for BiH.
"We have witnessed events that have completely transformed the world in the last two weeks. We have terrible events in Ukraine that, unfortunately, are not unique in the world, but the way the international community reacted is unique. In response to Russia's aggression against Ukraine, extensive economic sanctions, arms support, and great concern for the upcoming refugee crisis have been imposed," said Ambassador Field in his opening remarks.
The war in Ukraine is fundamentally changing the world, and the consequences can certainly be felt in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Our country is frequently mentioned in international circles, and the arrival of additional EUFOR forces has raised many dilemmas and questions. Ambassador Field stated that BiH has strong British support and that there is no cause for concern: "I am frequently asked if there will be a war in BiH. Passers-by on public transportation or at a rugby match or as I walk up the mountain ask me the same question, and my answer is always the same, NO! But that is not my decision; it must be a collaborative effort and intention on the part of all. The UK is ready to do more to if needed. EUFOR has withdrawn its reserves in BiH and we can see more of them on the streets. On the one hand, it is disturbing for the people who live here, but it is also positive news, because it shows the commitment of the international community to this country. "
Ambassador Field discussed the opportunities for our country to move closer to EU membership in this situation, saying that it would not be enough simply to express a desire to be accepted as a member, but that it would also be necessary to demonstrate positive progress.
"What we need to focus on is making life better for citizens. The rate at which young people leave this country is dangerous, especially when we consider that educated, successful people with good jobs leave the country with their families because they do not want their children to grow up here. That must be changed immediately. Political representatives should focus on improving living conditions, improving the economy, and reducing corruption and other illegal activities that undermine BiH's development and progress toward Euro-Atlantic integration. Furthermore, elections must be held, and in the long run, in light of the crisis, we are all looking for a way to reduce Russia's influence in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Western Balkans," said Ambassador Field.
Students from the Department of International Relations and European Studies attended the lecture and prepared a number of questions for Ambassador Field. The discussion went on for much longer than expected. Ambassador Field thanked the students and praised their dedication and knowledge of the subject.
Ambassador Field also met with the Rector of the International Burch University, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mersid Poturak, where he learned about the University's previous results, goals and plans for future development and investment in entrepreneurship, innovation, and educational process improvement, all with the goal of providing students with a quality education that will keep them in BiH. The Ambassador emphasized his support for the International Burch University, which is British-owned and accredited by two British accreditation institutions.
Through such guest lectures and eminent guests, International Burch University hopes to not only lead changes in the education system of BiH, but also to be a source of relevant information for the community.