The Post-Conflict Research Center (PCRC), and its founder and president Velma Šarić, were awarded the first “Local Peacebuilder” award yesterday in Washington, D.C., where they were once again recognized as the leading organization in Bosnia and Herzegovina for building sustainable peace, preventing violent conflict, and promoting human rights.
The award was presented by the Alliance for Peacebuilding (AfP), a leading non-partisan global network of more than 150 members working in 181 countries to end and prevent violent conflict and build sustainable peace.
Liz Hume, AfP’s Executive Director, said that Velma Šarić and PCRC are an amazing example of locally-led peacebuilding organizations that understand the local conflict dynamics and can effectively address them through storytelling and education.
“Although BiH has avoided full-scale war since 1995, in 2021, the country was again experiencing an ethnic crisis, and Velma and PCRC’s work is instrumental to prevent and reduce this crisis and build long-term peace in BiH at all levels of society. They were also critical in assisting us to understand the conflict dynamics and how to help at the international level,” Hume said.
Šarić said the AfP’s first local peacebuilder award, given at a critical moment when Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Western Balkans are confronted with increasing ethnic intolerance and the glorification of war criminals, further inspires her team to work actively to build sustainable peace.
“As an organization that has been actively working to build sustainable peace in Bosnia for more than a decade, the AfP Award will spur us forward to continue our mission of peacebuilding, despite significant obstacles. I dedicate this award to the exceptionally talented team represented by Bosnian youth, our supporters, advisors, allies, and donors who believe in us,” Šarić said.
The winner of the AfP’s Local Peacebuilders Award is the founder and president of PCRC, who has more than 20 years of experience working in BiH as a researcher, journalist, peacebuilding expert, human rights activist, and peace ambassador at the Center for Peace Studies in Sri Lanka.
PCRC has received several international awards, including those for intercultural innovation 2014/2015 by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and the BMW Group and the intercultural achievements of the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs. It was also selected from 65 international finalists as among the top five candidates for the Council of Europe’s Diversity Advantage Challenge. Additionally, PCRC’s work in this area was identified for best practices in a handbook developed by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe to help elected officials in 46 member states organize intercultural and interfaith activities.
You can find more about the work of PCRC and the ways in which you can contribute to peace work in BiH at https://p-crc.org/.