News & Features

Public Symposium Examines Bosnian Identity 21 Years after Start of War

ST. LOUIS – Twenty-one years — a generation — after the start of the genocidal war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, a public symposium held at Fontbonne University will examine the idea of “Being Bosnian: Identities after the War.” The symposium will be hosted by the Bosnia Memory Project and the Bosnian-Herzegovinian American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Friday, April 12 – Saturday, April 13, and is free and open to the public*. Speakers will include scholars and authors, including Time Magazine-featured writer Aleksandar Hemon.

This event is made possible by a generous grant from the Missouri Humanities Council.

St. Louis is home to approximately 60,000 refugees from the war and genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Questions surrounding Bosnian cultural and national identities remain unresolved — especially in diaspora communities around the world, where older Bosnians bear the memories of trauma and younger Bosnians live separated from their heritage. The symposium, which begins Friday, April 12, at 4 p.m., will offer two days of presentations and discussions to collectively address complex questions of Bosnian identities.

Guest speakers include:
•    Aleksandar Hemon, an award-winning Bosnian-American fiction writer who has been featured in the New York Times and the Guardian, as well as on NPR.
•    Dr. Esad Boskailo, survivor of six concentration camps in Bosnia-Herzegovinia and co-author of “Wounded I Am More Awake: Finding Meaning after Terror”
•    Dr. Amila Buturovic, a specialist in Islamic studies with specific interest in collective memory and associate professor of religious studies and humanities at York University
•    Patrick McCarthy, a St. Louisan who has worked with the local Bosnian community since 1993 and the author of “After the Fall: Srebrenica Survivors in St. Louis”

Learn more and see a schedule of the symposium.

*The event is free and open to the public, but due to limited seating, advance notice of attendance is strongly encouraged. Reservation requests can be sent by email ( or by phone message (314-889-4553).