This blog was originally posted on the REEEC website on October 7, 2013. The European Union Center was a co-sponsor for the event.
|President Zeljko Komsic giving his |
Presidential Address to the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
With the help of Mirella Bajric, the interpreter, President Komsic addressed the audience in his native Bosnian. He began by expressing his “pleasure to be here at the second-oldest university in Illinois.” He praised the University Libraries, and the University’s research and teaching, particularly the blossoming interest in Slavic Studies.
|REEEC-affiliated faculty, staff, and student with President Komsic|
|Tufahija, a traditional Bosnian dessert,|
served in honor of President Komsic
In conclusion, President Komsic spoke about the Bosnian diaspora in the U.S. He praised those who became successful in their new home, but also revealed that the majority of the adult generation that escaped the war had not really adjusted to life in the U.S. They still struggle with communicating in English and long for their homeland, despite knowing that they have nothing left there. However, the young people, their children, have adapted well and are fully integrated into U.S. society. Yet, those ethnic divisions that pit Bosnian Croats, Muslims, and Serbs against each other continue to exist even within the diaspora community. President Komsic believes in the need for drawing people to the Bosnian embassy and consulates, regardless of their ethnicity. All in all, President Komsic remains optimistic. He hopes that the media will strengthen connections between Bosnia and the Bosnian diaspora.