Dayton Peace Accords a Decade Later

07.21.2005 | Culture and Society

A grassroots community group is staging a number of cultural, educational and religious activities this fall to mark the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords and to recognize the importance of peacemaking in war-torn regions around the globe. The celebration will feature the awarding of the Dayton Peace Prize to Richard C. Holbrooke, chief negotiator of the Dayton Peace Accords and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17, at the Schuster Center.

Dayton: A Peace Process (DAPP), in affiliation with the Dayton Council on World Affairs, is organizing events that will examine Bosnia-Herzegovina 10 years later, compare peacebuilding challenges in the Balkans with those in Iraq and other post-conflict situations, and explore the role of religion in conflicts and in peacemaking in the world's strife-torn areas.

"The Dayton Peace Accords represented one of the most important international endeavors for peace in a conflict that had global implications. Nearly a decade after the signing of the peace accords, the Dayton community is committed to exploring ways to celebrate peace, both regionally and internationally," said Doris Ponitz, chair of DAPP.

The schedule of events includes:

* Sept. 26, proposed interfaith prayer breakfast at Sinclair Community College.

* Oct. 10, 8 a.m.-1 p.m., educational seminar, "Making Good Citizens - The Role of Civic and Character Education in 21st Century America" at Sinclair Community College, co-sponsored by the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and the University of Dayton's School of Education and Allied Professions. Former U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige will offer concluding remarks at the conference, which will identify possible lessons about civic engagement in developing and mature democracies. Free and open to the public, but registration required.

* Nov. 13, 3 p.m., interfaith worship illustrating religion as a force for peace and healing. Free and open to the public. Event location to be determined.

* Nov. 17, 7:30 p.m., Dayton Peace Prize dinner and ceremony at the Schuster Center. Holbrooke will receive the $25,000 prize and offer an address, "Looking Back and Where are We Now?" DAPP also will announce the Dayton Literary Prize, which will be awarded in 2006 for works completed in the last five years that relate to peace and war in children's literature and adult fiction and non-fiction.

* Nov. 17-18, a two-day conference, "Getting to Dayton: Lessons Learned from the Dayton Process," at the Hope Hotel at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the Dayton Convention Center. The conference will showcase the expertise of current and former U.S., Bosnian and international officials and policy analysts, who will look back at the negotiations in November 1995 and the lessons for future peace negotiations. Sessions also will examine the prospects for long-term peace in Bosnia and what lessons can be drawn from the last 10 years for other post-conflict situations, including Iraq. Nicholas Burns, a key member of the Dayton negotiating team and current U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, has been invited to speak at the opening of the conference along with Bosnia's ambassador to the United States and Germany's ambassador to the United States, who was also part of the Dayton team. Among the speakers confirmed for sessions on economic reconstruction, truth and justice, and constitutional change are Judge Amir Jaganjac, president of Bosnia's Supreme Court; Ambassador Donald Hays, former deputy high representative to Bosnia; and Beriz Belkic, former president of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Registration begins Sept. 1.

For more information on any of the events, contact Mea Greenwood at (937) 299-3557.

In the 10 years since the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords, the Dayton community has strengthened its connection to Bosnia-Herzegovina through a series of cultural and educational exchanges, trade missions, a Sister City agreement with Sarajevo, a "Concert for Peace" with the Sarajevo and Dayton Philharmonic Orchestras, and a series of international conferences that brought together policymakers and government officials to hammer out ways to sustain peace in the Balkans.

"As a result, a special relationship between Dayton and Sarajevo has developed, and leaders and citizens from these two very different communities began to build a relationship that can serve as a model of international cooperation in the spirit of peace," Ponitz said.

DAPP includes the Dayton Council on World Affairs, Central State University, city of Dayton, Sinclair Community College, University of Dayton, Wright State University, Wright Memorial Chapter of the Air Force Association, Friendship Force and Sister Cities, among other organizations in the Dayton region.

Contact Doris Ponitz, chair of DAPP, at (937) 434-6713 or Thomas Lasley, vice chair of DAPP, at (937) 229-3557.