On September 13-14, 2012, the Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina (ACBH) hosted the third annual “Bosnia and Herzegovina Days on Capitol Hill” event in Washington, D.C. This yearly event serves as a way for ACBH to introduce the Bosnian American community leaders and advocates to the Washington D.C. policymaking community and to expand our joint efforts in advocating for a united, multiethnic, and democratic BiH.
This year’s delegation participated in numerous high level meetings in Washington and attended the ACBH sponsored panel program “Syria: Lessons from Bosnia” on Capitol Hill. ACBH Board Members were joined this year by Hamdija Custovic, Vice President of the Congress of North American Bosniaks, Refik Hodzic of the International Center for Transitional Justice, Tajma Sijaric of Maryland, Reuf Bajrovic of the Emerging Democracies Institute, Suncica Habul of American University, Senad Ahmetovic of New York and Mediha DiMartino of California. Turkish Coalition of America (TCA) President Lincoln McCurdy and the Executive Director of the Caspian Group, Lydia Borland provided the delegation with a briefing on effective outreach to elected representatives.
The participants began with a meeting at the U.S. Department of State with Ambassador Patrick Moon, U.S. Ambassador to BiH, and Michael Fooks, BiH Desk Officer. The group discussed the current U.S. policy towards BiH and Ambassador Moon reiterated U.S.’s commitment to the stability of the region. Next, the group had a luncheon and strategy session with Ambassador Jadranka Negodic, newly appointed BiH Ambassador to the U.S., on ways to constructively engage the Bosnian American community in the electoral process. Later, the group was joined by Congressman Russ Carnahan (D-MO-3rd), Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Bosnia who reaffirmed his support for the stability of BiH and spoke about his engagement with the Bosnian American community in his district.
On Friday, September 14, 2012, the group met with Senator Richard Durbin’s (D-IL) office, Congressman Michael Turner (R-OH-3rd),Chairman of the U.S. Delegation to the NATOParliamentary Assembly and a member of the Congressional Caucus on Bosnia, Congressman John Campbell’s (R-CA-48th) office, attended a lunch meeting with congressional staff and concluded the program by meeting with Dr. Mark Milosch, Chief of Staff for Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ-4th), Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Bosnia, and Mr. Robert Hand, Senior Policy Advisor at the U.S. Helsinki Commission.
ACBH works closely with policymakers in Washington D.C. and around the country to improve relations between the United States and BiHwith the goal of integratingBiH into the European Union and NATO. The efforts of ACBH and the Bosnian American community have led to increased Congressional recognition of the importance of BiH; several members of ACBH were involved in the drafting of the Srebrenica Resolution, while the Congressional Caucus on Bosnia now boasts 30 members.
BiH Days on Capitol Hill strives to promote BiH and ensure the continued strong relations between the United States and BiH. ACBH commends all the leaders and advocates that participated in the event and looks forward to collaborating and continuing to work together with U.S. policymakers and Bosnian American communities in order to bring about the necessary reforms within BiH.