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21. January 13

Sarajevo, 21st January 2013. - The American University in Bosnia and Herzegovina (AUBiH) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with George Mason University (GMU) in the United States. The aim of the agreement is to stimulate and develop educational programs and intercultural cooperation between AUBiH and GMU's Center for Global Education (CGE), through study abroad and academic exchanges for students and professors from the two institutions. CGE implements international programs in nearly 50 countries, and thus facilitates the knowledge and skills necessary for academic and professional success in the global community.

The first step in implementation of the agreement was AUBiH’s participation in the study tour entitled “A Journey to Post-Communism." The study trip took place in Germany, Hungary, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. In BiH the American University organized a research tour for twenty GMU students and their professor. During their time in Bosnia, the participants visited the memorial center in Srebrenica, Sarajevo historic sites, had meetings with representatives of the BiH Parliament, the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the U.S. Embassy, OHR and Internews Media Organization. Participants also attended an academic lecture given by an AUBiH professor and spoke with a local BiH business leader.

"Through all of their discussions and meetings, the students had an opportunity to learn about the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina in a very hands on and direct way. They were able to see the situation from several viewpoints and differing historical, economic, political and social perspectives." said Sarah Moore, director of AUBIH’s International Programs. She stressed that after visiting Berlin, Budapest and Belgrade the students agreed that their visit to Sarajevo made the biggest impact on them, due to a better understanding of the historical context of the region and ultimately because of the people they met and friends they made here.

Students explored the political, economic, social and cultural transition in post-communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe. They were able to observe the tremendous transformation of East-Central Europe since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. History in this region is not merely confined to dusty books in libraries but rather the burden of history seems to resonate in the lives of individuals and plays a key role in the formation of collective identity within each society in the region.

“These study tours have immediate and long term impacts on participating students, and for many students these tours are life-changing experiences that introduce them to global ideas that transcend borders ultimately making them better global citizens,” said professor Yehuda Lukacs, CGE Director. He emphasized that the program was very beneficial for the students from GMU as well as for AUBIH as the hosting institution.

Professor Lukacs praised AUBiH’s contribution to this project and stressed that AUBIH did an outstanding job facilitating this study tour and organizing meetings with important governmental institutions, NGOs as