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The Beginnings of Fontbonne's Bosnia Memory Project

 Mission

The Bosnia Memory Project at Fontbonne University is dedicated to establishing an enduring record of Bosnian genocide survivors, especially those living in metropolitan St. Louis.  Fontbonne faculty, students and staff collaborate with members of St. Louis's Bosnian community to:

  • Record interviews of Bosnian genocide survivors and their relatives
  • Collect books, letters, and photographs that reflect the culture and experiences of Bosnians;
  • Host events that raise awareness about the experiences and identity of St. Louis's Bosnian population; and
  • Develop academic and curricular programming that promotes understanding of Bosnia, Bosnians, and Bosnian-Americans.

Fontbonne's work with St. Louis's Bosnian Community began in the fall of 2006 as an academic effort to develop understanding of St. Louis's Bosnian community and the tragic events that account for its existence.  Dr. Jack Luzkow (History) and Dr. Ben Moore (English) collaboratively offered an upper-division undergradute course titled The Bosnian Immigration: Narrative, Memory and Identity.  The course was designed to blend traditional academic study of the origins and causes of the Bosnian war and genocide with interaction with Bosnian genocide survivors now living in St. Louis.  Their intention was to help students see history through the eyes of those who lived it by allowing local voices to recount a tragedy of global significance.

As part of their preparation for teaching this course, Dr. Luzkow and Dr. Moore consulted Patrick McCarthy, an expert on Bosnia who has worked with St. Louis's Bosnian refugee population since 1992.  At the time, Mr. McCarthy had begun working with Jean Cavender, of the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center, and Amir Karadzic, head of the Union of Citizens of the Municipality of Prijedor, to plan a museum exhibit about the genocide in the Bosnian city of Prijedor.  Fontbonne faculty and students joined in the planning and development of this exhibit, which became a very successful collaborative undertaking supported by four non-profit institutions, a variety of financial donors, and dozens of talented people.  At St. Louis's Holocaust Museum and Learning Center, Prijedor: Lives from the Bosnian Genocide was visited by 10, 729 people and received substantial attention in the local and national media.  Since then, the exhibit has been shown in nine additional venues, including the U.S. Capitol Complex on Capitol Hill.

St. Louis's Bosnian Community

The Prijedor Exhibit

USA Today

Bosnia Exhibit Travels to Washington DC

News Articles about The Prijedor Exhibit and the Bosnia Memory Project

The Bosnian Genocide on Facebook

To learn more about the Bosnia Memory Project, please contact Dr. Ben Moore at (314) 889-4553 or bmoore@fontbonne.edu.

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