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937: Bosnia-Herzegovina Rotarians celebrate rebuilding of Mostar Bridge

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  • sunilkzach
    Bosnia-Herzegovina Rotarians celebrate rebuilding of Mostar Bridge When the Rotary Club of Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina, was chartered in 2002, one of the issues
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 5, 2004
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      Bosnia-Herzegovina Rotarians celebrate rebuilding of Mostar Bridge

      When the Rotary Club of Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina, was chartered in
      2002, one of the issues uppermost in the minds of its members was how
      to heal their community, torn apart by a brutal war that pitted one
      ethnic group against another.
      Quite deliberately, from the multiethnic composition of its
      membership to the projects that it sponsored, the club set out to
      foster reconciliation and reunification in the divided city of
      Mostar. In terms of visibility and power of symbolism, the rebuilding
      of Mostar Bridge is one of the club's most important initiatives.

      "[Our 21] members are highly esteemed citizens of Mostar from all
      three nationalities — Muslims, Croats, and Serbs. The number of
      members of each nationality roughly corresponds to the composition of
      the community," explains Drahomir Mirovich, a past president of the
      club and an assistant governor of District 1910. "[We have a] perfect
      balance and excellent relationship among members of different ethnic
      backgrounds. [There are] no politicians among the membership."

      Rotarians proposed to city leaders to rebuild the 427-year-old
      historic landmark, which was destroyed by hostile tank-shell fire in
      1993, to signal that it was time to repair the physical and emotional
      damage that the war had inflicted on Mostar.

      After winning the approval of politicians, technical experts, and
      residents, Rotarians took the lead in mobilizing international
      support and raising funds for the project. For example, Rusmir Cisic,
      an architect, served as head of the bridge reconstruction unit, and
      Tomislav Rozic, a civil engineer, was his deputy.

      Professor Amir Pasic, an architect, and Marin Raspudic, the Mostar
      airport director and current club president, are two other Rotarians
      who have been closely involved with the rebuilding of the stone
      bridge. Both served as chief organizers of the 23 July opening
      ceremony for the completed bridge.

      Peter Gut, a past governor of District 2000 (Liechtenstein; part of
      Switzerland) and member of the Rotary Club of Küsnacht-Zurich, has
      played a key role in coordinating international support for the
      efforts of the Mostar club.

      "My involvement started with the task of Rotary extension into
      Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall," he says. "I was
      appointed a special representative of the RI president in the region.
      That's how I came to spend two years actively involved with helping
      to charter new Rotary clubs in Bosnia-Herzegovina. That function has
      been terminated, but I'm still heavily involved through humanitarian
      projects."

      Gut is most closely associated with Education for Peace, a Mostar
      club project aimed at educating students in conflict resolution and
      peacemaking. More than 400 teachers and staff and 6,000 students and
      parents are involved in the project. As it expanded, the initiative
      caught the eye of the Bosnia-Herzegovinia government, which plans to
      take it to all schools in the nation.

      Source: Rotary International Newsroom
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