1995-2006 Major Projects


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Center for Balkan

Tel: 978-461-0909
Fax: 978-461-2552
[email protected]

Who We Are

(On April 12, 2004 we changed our name from Friends of Bosnia to the Center for Balkan Development.)

The Center for Balkan Development is a network of more than a thousand people in the United States, Canada, and Europe working to help the region of the former Yugoslavia rebuild and create a peaceful and prosperous future. Our vision is one of peace and reconciliation, of human strength and economic recovery. To achieve that vision, we continue to support reconstruction efforts in the former Yugoslavia through innovative projects in local communities. We provide financial assistance where it will make the most difference. And we continue to spotlight for the American public the past and present realities of the region.

At the Center for Balkan Development, our idea of helping the former Yugoslavia rebuild isn’t just to send money overseas and hope it will do some good. We’ve always been deeply and personally involved in concrete efforts that create real change.

During the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo, the Center for Balkan Development sent four containers of food, medical supplies, clothing, and school supplies to war victims trying to survive under impossible conditions. Members of the Center for Balkan Development accompanied these deliveries to ensure that the supplies actually reached those who desperately needed them. The Center for Balkan Development staff also made a difficult winter journey over Mount Igman to deliver aid to Sarajevo and other locations throughout Bosnia.

Today our efforts are focused on reconstruction in the former Yugoslavia and public education in the United States, as we work toward more permanent solutions to the economic stagnation caused by the breakup of Yugoslavia and the ensuing wars. We strongly believe that the region will achieve permanent peace only when it enjoys a viable economy. Only then will people be able to focus on building a future for themselves and their families.

The Center for Balkan Development is a 501(c)(3) tax-deductible organization.

1995-2006 Major Projects

Partnering with Connecticut Friends of Bosnia to Build Homes for Srebrenica DPs
Since 2004 , Connecticut Friends of Bosnia (CFOB) from Greenwich, Conn. has partnered with CBD to help implement projects in Bosnia. Most of their work involves rebuilding homes for families who were driven from their communities in the waves of ethnic cleansing that swept the country.

Campaign to Arrest Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic
The goal of this campaign is to see that Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic are arrested and brought to The Hague to stand trial for crimes committed at Srebrenica and at other locations in Bosnia.

Lessons Learned from the Balkan Conflicts, October 2004
This two-day conference looked back at what the international community has learned from the wars in the Balkans and look forward to viable solutions for reconstruction, reconciliation, and lasting security—both from the perspective of the former Yugoslavia and also as a laboratory for those doing similar work in other parts of the world, specifically Afghanistan and Iraq.

Stari Most Awards , October 2004
The Center for Balkan Development is honored to announce the winners of the first Stari Most Awards. A panel of 13 judges carefully reviewed nominations and selected three winners from a pool of 23 candidates. The winners were honored at an awards ceremony on October 16, 2006 at Boston College as part of the Lessons Learned in the Balkan Conflicts conference.

The New Initiative 2002-2004
Friends of Bosnia has received a $135,000 grant from the World Bank to implement an innovative new approach to development in Tuzla, Bosnia. The project, The New Initiative, will work with local NGOs, the Tuzla municipality, and private businesses to improve public infrastructure and to provide job-creating investments through a series of work festivals commencing in spring, 2002.

Support for The Center for Information Technology, 2000-2002
Since 2000, Friend of Bosnia has contributed $25,000 to the Tuzla Center for Information Technology to create a school for computers and information technology.

Tenth Anniversary Commemoration of Wars in the Former Yugoslavia, April 2002
On the tenth anniversary of the siege of Sarajevo, Friends of Bosnia organized a week-long series of lectures, exhibits, films, and concerts in the Boston area to commemorate the 10th anniversary of wars in the former Yugoslavia. Keynote speaker was Mirza Kusljugic, Bosnian Ambassador to the UN, and John Shattuck, former Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights.

Outreach Bosnia, 2000-2002
Friends of Bosnia is launching a major new initiative in eastern Bosnia, Outreach Bosnia, to help returning refugees and long-time residents rebuild their communities five years after the end of the war. Chris Bragdon from Ithaca, NY, is directing this project and has already achieved significant success both with fundraising and implementing the program

Reconstructing Kosovo
A documentary photography/ text exhibit on war, reconstruction and reconciliation in Kosovo. Photographs by Glenn Ruga and Frank Ward with text by Barbara Ayotte. Available for exhibition in colleges, galleries, museums, libraries and other public exhibition spaces. Since October 2000, the exhibit has been shown at 6 locations including Brandeis, Tufts, Stanford, and Georgetown Universities

Cultural Heritage Reconstruction in Kosovo
July 2000 - September 2002
Friends of Bosnia, in collaboration with the Kosovo Cultural Heritage Project from Cambridge, has received a grant from the Packard Humanities Institute in Palo Alto, California to reconstruct three important cultural monuments in Kosovo that were destroyed or badly damaged by Serb forces prior to and during the war last year in Kosovo.

Medical Aid for Kosovo
On November 27, 2000, Friends of Bosnia sent $10,000 worth of donated medical supplies to the Prosthetics Clinic at the Pristina Hospital

Emergency aid to Kosovar refugees in Macedonia
April, 1999
Shortly after the war began in Kosovo on March 24, 1999, Friends of Bosnia director Glenn Ruga traveled to the Kosovo/Macedonia border to deliver emergency aid and to document the plight of refugees. Since returning, Ruga has spoken at more than twelve public meetings and to numerous radio, and TV stations and newspapers about the war in Kosovo. FOB also raised $8000 for Kosovo relief and contributed $5000 to El Hilal, a Macedonian relief organization working with Kosovar refugees.

Roads to Reconciliation: Peacebuilding in the Former Yugoslavia
October-November, 1998
FOB collaborated with the Karuna Center for Peacebuilding and the UMass Office of Jewish Affairs to organized a series of lectures and events with peace activists from the former Yugoslavia. Speakers included Jakob Finci from Sarajevo, Mirha Kratina from Zenica, Bosnia, Lidija Obad from Osiek, Croatia, and Dragan Popadic from Belgrade, Serbia.

Washington Press Conference on Kosovo
On July 28, 1998 FOB organized a press conference with Congressman John Olver to present a letter to the president signed by 80 members of Cognress demanding a more forceful response to aggression by Belgrade in Kosovo. We also presented a petition to the president signed by 18,000 people demanding for the arrest of Radko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic.

Reconstruction/Aid Project, 1998
FOB sent a 40-ft. container of medical supplies, school supplies, and computers to Bosnia in November, 1998. The aid will help foster reconstruction and training for refugees and others who have lost their livelihood as a result of the war.

In Search of a Nation: Restoring a Multiethnic Bosnia
April 1998
A conference at Wellesley College to discuss the historial basis for multiethnicity in Bosnia, current political dynamics in the Balkans including Kosovo and Serbia, US foreign policy, and the International Criminal Tribunal. There was also opportunties to discuss grassroots activism supporting justice in the Balkans.

Medical Aid Drive: Healing the Wounds of War
Jan.-Aug. 1997
Friends of Bosnia teamed up with St. Elizabeth�s Hospital in Boston to collect $350,000 worth of medical supplies from hospitals and other medical facilities in New England and shipped the supplies to medical centers in Bosnia in August, 1997.

Bosnia: The Thin Veneer
May-June, 1997
Friends of Bosnia is teaming up with scholars from the University of Massachusetts to mount a major exhibit about Bosnian culture. The exhibit will be displayed April-June 1997 at the University of Massachusetts Fine Arts Center Gallery.

Bosnia: Road to Recovery
March 1-2, 1997
This two day national conference at Amherst College attended by activists, scholars, students, government officials and NGOs from across the United States focusing on the political, economic and social problems associated with the rebuilding of Bosnia.

The Role of the Jewish Community in Sarajevo During the War
Presentation by FOB director Glenn Ruga about the history of Judaism in the Balkans and the role of the Jewish community of Sarajevo during the recent war.

The Hidden Genocide: Critical Perspectives on Rape and the War in Bosnia
November, 1996
This is a two-part program about mass rape in Bosnia The program will include Beverly Allen, author of Rape Warfare: The Hidden Genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia.; a new video about mass rape in Bosnia, Calling the Ghosts: A Story about Rape, War and Women., and a speaker panel with two women survivors from rape camps.

Zones of Separation: The Struggle for a Multi-ethnic Bosnia
A documentary photo/text exhibit on the war in Bosnia and the lives of people who have lived through four years of ethnic cleansing. The exhibit has been shown at the Northampton Center for the Arts in Massachusetts, The University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill, Brown University, Amherst College, the Embassy of Bosnia Herzegovina in Washington, DC, the LIPA Gallery, Washington, DC, Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, and the Greensboro, NC public libary. Other venues are being planned.

June, 1996
A month-long series of exhibits, performances and videos featuring art from and about Bosnia.

No Justice, No Peace: The War Crimes Tribunal and the Prospects for Peace in the Former Yugoslavia
April, 1995
Three experts speaking on the International War Crimes Tribunal; Steve Walker from the American Committee to Save Bosnia; Susannah Sirkin from Physicians for Human Rights; and Michael Scharf, author of An Insider's Guide to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

Board of Directors

Glenn Ruga
Creative Director
Visual Communications
Maynard, Mass.

Veton Kepuska
Associate Professor
Florida Institute of Technology
Melbourne, Florida

Mary Ellen Keough, MPH
Director of Eduation
Meyers Primary Care Institute
Worcester, Mass.

Rob Wilson
Veterans Education Project
Hatfield, Mass.

Sheri Fink, M.D.
Author of War Hospital
International emergency medical consultant
New York, NY

Stephen Walker
Yorkstown Heights, NY