BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
On August 7, 2019, the International School Network visited the Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina to interview the Ambassador, His Excellency Dr. Sinisa Berjan.
As a university professor, he hopes for moral development in the people through education. He aspires to talk to more young people, and that students learn more foreign languages.
H.E. Dr. Berjan hopes to create more opportunities for students to be innovative and keeping pace with worldly development. He hopes that more students can become competitive in the labor market, and implement their best practices
H.E. Dr. Berjan was posted as the Ambassador to Japan 30 days ago, and this has been his first time in japan. He noticed that Japanese students are very shy, unlike Bosnian students who tend to be talkative in public. Nonetheless, he noted that both Bosnian and Japanese students are very determined and focused in their studies. He hopes that they will never give up and will never stop gaining new knowledge.
There are many activities done by municipalities and NGOs to protect nature in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In fact, 50% of Bosnia’s forests are preserved by the nation. H.E. Dr. Berjan noted that the country has very clean nature and water, without much pollution due to the fact that there are not many heavy industries operating in the nation. H.E. Dr. Berjan recommends people to use bikes and walk in nature.
H.E. Dr. Berjan described Bosnia and Herzegovina to be a relatively small country after it divided from Yugoslavia. H.E. Dr. Berjan noted that the mentality of the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina holds a very cheerful character. He explained that hospitality and friendliness is an important value of Bosnian people, especially in rural homes where people traditionally invite others to come to their homes and share.
H.E. Dr. Berjan conveyed that Bosnian people are very friendly, especially with openness towards foreigners, and forgiveful.
Traditions in Bosnia and Herzegovina have been well preserved. H.E. Dr. Berjan noted that the arts in each city, region, and municipality are unique and beautiful. He explained that the difference in customs and habits are related to religion and the ethnic groups.
H.E. Dr. Berjan also explained that food in Bosnia and Herzegovina is very tasty, with dishes including smoked meat and cheese, which he noted are best in the rural areas. He also mentioned a few traditional dishes including pita bread with spices, onion, and yogurt, and also different types of pies, that are often prepared on Saturdays when families gather to eat. He described the many kinds of pies including savory pies containing spinach and cheese or potato, meat, and pumpkin, and sweet pies made with apple and sour cherry.
Another Bosnian custom is its consumption of coffee. He noted that people only drink tea when they are sick. However, the Ambassador himself says that he dislikes and never drinks coffee!
H.E. Dr. Berjan recommends visitors to visit world heritage sites in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Tourist sites he recommends include bridges from the 15th century. two of the nation’s biggest cities, and its old towns. He also recommended a unique town that was built for a writer. The nation has several villages with well preserved tools and townscapes. Bosnia and Herzegovina is home to beautiful mountains, famous for skiing in the winter (as in the 1984 Winter Olympics), and activities in the summer as well.
H.E. Dr. Berjan noted that relations between Japan and Bosnia and Herzegovina are strong and in the high level. He expressed that he is grateful for the Japanese government and people in helping the nation with its reconstruction. Japan has been Bosnia and Herzegovina’s biggest donor of financial and and reconstruction of schools and hospitals. H.E. Dr. Berjan noted his appreciation for Japan and that he hopes he can further strengthen the relations between the two countries in aspects such as trade. He explained that there are many things Bosnia has to offer, including furniture, food, and honey, and that the nation hopes to learn from Japan and its innovative skills as well. Furthermore, H.E. Dr. Berjan touched upon the subject of cultural exchange, such as in sports, education, and science.
H.E. Dr. Berjan described globalization to be like a sword with two blades. The first blade is its positive effect, which connects world economies, information, and cultures that is enriched and diverse. On the other hand, globalization brings about negative effects which include an abundance of information, that is often times too much, especially for young people who are not yet able to filter the wrong examples not to follow.
H.E. Dr. Berjan noted that what is important for achieving peace is understanding people and accepting everyone as they are, and also sharing what resources in a fair way. H.E. Dr. Berjan especially emphasized the importance of an equal distribution of food. He noted that there are one billion people who are hungry on this earth, even though we produce enough food as a large portion of it is going to waste. H.E. Dr. Berjan warned that this issue can lead to great damage especially because of the continuously increasing world population. In 30 years, the population is expected to reach 9 billion, and the fight for resources can become more severe.
H.E. Dr. Berjan noted that gender equality in Bosnia and Herzegovina is very equal, in the fields of employment and rights. He explained that elections make sure at least 40% are of either gender, and that even teachers at his university are 70% female!
H.E. Dr. Berjan’s passion as working as the Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina include the opportunity to meet different people from different cultures. He is grateful for his encounters with Japanese people as well as his embassy staff. His goal as the Ambassador is to strengthen and deepen the already good relations of the two nations. He explained that there is much space to improve in the bilateral relations and so he hopes to promote Bosnia and Herzegovina in Japan, especially through various activities that can help familiarize Bosnia to the people. Since H.E. Mr. Berjan was a child, he was inspired by world geography, as a focus of Bosnian education. H.E. Mr. Berjan reminisced about his childhood cartoon that was about a traveler, and how he had always wanted to become a traveler of the world. This dream has come true!
His message to students in Japan is to challenge themselves, and to try to learn foreign languages. He explained this by illustrating the path of keeping step with the changing world by learning about foreign cultures and adapting to new knowledge. Meanwhile, he also mentioned that it is important for the younger generation of Japan to keep and preserve the traditions and customs that the whole world admires. Nonetheless, H.E. Mr. Berjan highlighted that each individual should organize their lives to maximize fulfillment by maintaining a balance of hard work and following dreams to reach results, and also to value friends, family, and recreational activities.
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
The International School Network went to the Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Tokyo on February 6, 2015 and interviewed the Ambassador, Ms. Anesa Kundurovic about her country, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
I was sitting next to the ambassador as you see in the picture. At first I (Karen Nishina) asked her a question.
I asked about being a woman ambassador. "I am a girl, but how can I be an ambassador like you?" The ambassador answered that there
are many steps to become an ambassador and that you need to try your best. After that Ms. Anesa Kundurovic let me ask another question. I asked about the animals in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She said that there are many wild forest animals and that the pet animals are mostly cats and dogs, which is similar to Japan.
In the photo on the left, we are taking turns and asking questions to the Ambassador, and the Ambassador is kindly answering our questions.
The ambassador also asked us questions too. The ambassador asked us what do we want to be when were older.
I said that I wanted to become a woman ambassador. The Ambassador told me that there are many steps, and that I have to study and work very hard. On the photo on the right, the Ambassador is showing us photos on the wall.
These are replicas of traditional special golden coins. These coins were given to the Japanese emperor.
On the left picture she is showing us an artwork by a Japanese artist. She told us that everyone sees the artwork in different ways.
On the right is a photo of a lovely gift we received. It is a beautiful hand-made bookmark with traditional colors.
(Reported by Karen Nishina)
This is a blonse Jesuses Hearth Cathedral
This is a table from Bosnia and Herzegovina. This table is hand-made.
It has a beautiful drawing.
They dug the table to make the design.
This is a coffee maker.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina coffee is very famous.
Madoka Nishina 11th grade
Saint Maur International School
The International School Network went to the Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Tokyo on February 6, 2015. We interviewed the Ambassador, Ms. Anesa Kundurovic, about her country, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina are Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian. All three languages are used in government and are taught at schools. The base language for the three languages is the same, so theoretically they can be said just to be dialects of the same language. The people of Bosnia and Herzegovina are therefore able to understand all three of the languages.
The educational system in Bosnia and Herzegovina included 8 years of elementary school and 4 years of high school. The new Bologna system of education has added an additional year to elementary (as pre-elementary), so the children study in elementary school for 9 years. The subjects are well covered, and many foreign languages are implemented in the education. English is an obligatory subject, and foreign languages such as Germany and French are also taught in junior high school. In high school and university, an evern larger diversity of language choices are offered, including Japanese.
There are high mountains in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the climate is cold and snowy. In 1984, the 14th Olympic game was held in the country. The ecosystem in Bosnia and Herzegovina is very unique as the country has green fields, lakes, and the only rainforest in Europe. The country also has a 30km coastline of the Adriatic Sea.
Popular sports played in Bosnia and Herzegovina include football (soccer), skiing, handball, volleyball, and tennis. Citizens practice sports very frequently, and this helps show younger generations that working with yourself and your body helps you stay healthy in later ages. Her Excellency Ms. Kundurovic herself had practiced athletics when she was a student, allowing her to have a healthy attitude and eating habits. She is currently engaged in swimming, which helps her to maintain healthy and fit.
Sarajevo has beautiful architectural sites which resemble the old ottoman style. The Mostar Bridge, from the 15th century, is a UNESCO heritage site, along with the royal tombstones, Stećak.
The city has a mix of different religions, as it is the only city along with Jerusalem where buildings of different religions are located close to each other. A mosque, synagogue, Orthodox Church, and Catholic Church can be situated within 200 meters from each other. This represents how intertwined the cultures are in the country, and how there is great religious tolerance. People continue to value culture and natural beauties.
People in Bosnia and Herzegovina enjoy bread, meat, potato, vegetables, wine, natural juices, and natural honey. People eat organic and healthy foods in the country.
People in Bosnia and Herzegovina have a relatively high life expectancy, and Ms. Kundurovic says some of the reasons for this is because the people are patient, have healthy diets, are able to play sports in the moderate climate, and are constantly taking care of each other.
Music plays a large role in the society of the country. Popular traditional music includes folklore dances and songs. People of young and old generations wear traditional costumes. There is a lovely genre of music called Sevdalinka, where passion, love, and sentiment are expressed.
The people in Bosnia and Herzegovina have the cultural value of sharing with one another. There is a sense of togetherness in the contry, as 4 different religions are practiced by the people. The cross of civilizations allowed the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina to respect their own culture and those of their neighbors. The Ambassador commented that boundaries would not matter if the people are connected. Connections give people the opportunities to learn, meet other cultures, and respect each one of them.
The nature in Bosnia and Herzegovina is very well preserved. The mountains, rivers, and lakes are very clean, and tap water in the country is extremely clean and clear. Bosnia and Herzegovina has one of the world’s cleanest water and air. Bosnia and Herzegovina is home to many animals, including domestic pet animals of cats, dogs, and aquarium fish, domestic farm animals of cows, pigs, and chickens, and forest animals including bears, wolves, deer, and wild pigs.
Ms. Kundurovic states that educating people on the preservation of nature is very important. Climate changes are taking place in the world, as the winters are getting colder and the summers are getting hotter. The world must therefore work to preserve nature and to reduce pollution. The average person uses 20-30 liters of water in vain every year in the mornings. One thing we can do to reduce this number is by closing the tap as much as possible.
Unfortunately, as similar to many other parts of the world, tradition is starting to fade amongst the young people of the country. The advance of technology may lead to the diminishment of traditions if they are not closely preserved. The Ambassador commented that it is important for children to socialize and play outdoors rather than to devote their time on technology.
Ms. Anesa Kundurovic explained to us that it is important to know what you want in life, set goals, and study hard, although education does not cover everything one should know. She told us that it is important to find confidence within yourself, and to succeed step by step towards your goals. By fulfilling the steps, you will be rewarded by being able to feel even more confident as you unlock more achievements and experiences. She told us a saying that goes, “One closing door means the opening of another”. This means that if something is not going well, you must not give up, but you must learn from your mistakes to find more opportunities.
Her Excellency Ms. Anesa Kundurovic commented that being an Ambassador is a large responsibility, but is very rewarding as it allows her to meet people and see various cultures of the world. Thank you very much Ms. Anesa Kundurovic for the wonderful interview.
Mr. Vahid Halilhodžić
Mr. Ivica Osim
Madoka Nishina 11th Saint Maur International School
Kate Shimizu 11th Seisen International School
Kurumi Onishi 10th Saint Maur International School
Karen Nishina 5th Saint Maur International School