The Bosnia Memory Project at Fontbonne University, dedicated to establishing an enduring record of Bosnian genocide survivors, will be honored Thursday, May 9, as a FOCUS St. Louis What’s Right with the Region!awardee in the category “Improving Racial Equality & Social Justice.” Each year, FOCUS St. Louis recognizes 20 organizations, individuals and initiatives that have made a profound difference in the St. Louis region. The 16th annual What’s Right with the Region! awards recognize outstanding individual leadership and community success stories.
The awards celebration will take place Thursday, May 9, from 5 – 8 p.m. at Sheldon Concert Hall.
The Bosnia Memory Project began in 2006 when Dr. Ben Moore, Fontbonne English professor, and Dr. Jack Luzkow, history professor, developed an undergraduate course titled “The Bosnian Immigration: Narrative, Memory and Identity,” designed to give students a better understanding of St. Louis’ Bosnian community and the tragic events that account for its existence. The course grew quickly into something much bigger: the Bosnia Memory Project.
“Many people with a variety of talents have contributed to making the Bosnia Memory Project successful,” said Moore. “It’s my hope that this award will help to bring visibility not just to the project, but to our vibrant Bosnian community, which is such an important part of St. Louis.”
Today, the Bosnia Memory Project hosts events that foster dialogue about Bosnia and St. Louis’ Bosnian community. In addition, students and faculty involved in the Bosnia Memory Project record interviews of survivors of the Bosnian genocide and collect books, letters and photographs reflecting the culture and experience of the university’s Bosnian neighbors. These “enduring records” are made available for educational and research purposes. In the coming decades, they will help to preserve an understanding of the horrendous circumstances that led to Bosnians coming to St. Louis as refugees; they will also stand as testaments to the perseverance and strength that has made the local Bosnian community a vital and vibrant part of the St. Louis metropolitan area.