Fifteen years after the end of a brutal war, Bosnia and Herzegovina is still struggling to reach autonomous statehood. For Bosnian natives, the process can inspire a range of feelings and attitudes. Jasmina Hodzic ’13, a 2011 Levitt Summer Grant Recipient, will explore Bosnia and Herzegovina’s progress toward democracy and possible routes for getting there. She is being guided in her research by Alan Cafruny, the Henry Bristol Professor of International Affairs.
Hodzic’s research asks whether Bosnia is ready to transition into sustainable self-governance. She will explore how the international community could help Bosnia secure stable, autonomous statehood without excessive or harmful interference in domestic affairs.
Her investigation has started on Hamilton’s campus, where she is focusing on reading primary and secondary sources related to her topic. In the second part of her research, she will work with a Sarajevo-based think tank and conduct interviews with various stakeholders. Ultimately, Hodzic will compile and organize her findings in a 25-30- page paper that will be accessible to those unfamiliar with Bosnian affairs.
Following the Bosnian War of 1992 to 1995, Bosnia and Herzegovina was established as a full protectorate of the international community. Approximately 60,000 NATO troops were stationed in Bosnia and Herzegovina in an attempt to bolster the peace process. At the time, the Dayton Agreement, the treaty ending the Bosnian War, established the Office of the High Representative, which holds the highest executive power in the country and supersedes the authority of any Bosnian elected official. Every High Representative thus far has been from a European Union country, and it now seems that this highest branch of government is actually undermining Bosnia’s efforts toward creating a pluralist liberal democracy.
As a Bosnian native, Hodzic lived through the Bosnian War and she relates, “The political events that ensued [after the war] left an indelible mark on my growing up.” Her exposure to this environment sparked an interest in politics and state-building, prompting her current world politics major. Hodzic has watched Bosnia and Herzegovina grow from a place with no infrastructure, schools, currency or internal freedom of movement into a functioning modern state. However, Hodzic maintains that Bosnia and Herzegovina still has a “long way to go,” and she is passionate about ensuring that her homeland continues to develop and expand its democracy.
Hodzic particularly looks forward to the opportunity to delve deeply into a topic she feels passionate about without the stress and requirements of close supervision and tight deadlines. She hopes to discover more about her country’s politics, and to share her findings with others.
Jasmina is a graduate of the United World College in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.