Established in 2011 by Founder Velma Šarić and Co-founder Leslie Woodward, PCRC is dedicated to restoring a culture of peace and preventing violent conflict in the Western Balkans by creating, implementing and supporting unconventional and innovative approaches to peace education, post-conflict research, human rights and transitional justice. We strive for a society where people no longer perceive diversity as a source of conflict, but as the basis for prosperity. We are committed to establishing an environment where human rights are respected and the principles of transparency, accountability and the rule of law are upheld to support a healthy democracy.
Much of PCRC’s work focuses on using multimedia to illuminate narratives from the past and use them as educational tools in the present, and as such the organisation has extensive experience in documentary production and photographic exhibition, having worked with local and international photographers, journalists, and filmmakers on various projects. Some noted photographers with which the organisation has worked include Paul Lowe, Velija Hasanbegovic, and Taryn Simon. Noted filmmakers include Abigail Disney, Kirsten Johnson, Mirko Pincelli, and Angelina Jolie. PCRC also works with a wide network of researchers, activists, journalists, and other area experts to continue to propel research, collect stories, and reflect on lessons learned.
Additionally, each year PCRC partners with the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect to hold a capacity-building seminar on Preventing and Responding to Genocide and Mass Atrocities for NGO and civil society representatives working in the fields of human rights, peacebuilding, and the prevention and prosecution of crimes against humanity. In 2017, PCRC and the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect established the first regional Genocide Prevention Coalition, which consists of 25 of the leading civil society actors in the Western Balkans.
Ordinary Heroes Peacebuilding Program
Ordinary Heroes is an educational multimedia project that engages participants in activities and discussion around the thematic issues of transitional justice, discrimination, active and passive bystandership, and the different roles that individuals adopt during conflict. It consists of several components including a five-part documentary series, “The Rescuers” photography exhibition, accompanying conferences and youth workshops across Bosnia, and the Srđan Aleksić youth competition (which challenges students to find their own stories of transitional justice, peacebuilding, moral courage, and rescue).
In August 2014, PCRC’s project Ordinary Heroes was selected by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group to receive first prize in the 2014 Intercultural Innovation Award. The award recognises highly innovative and sustainable grassroots projects that promote dialogue and intercultural understanding, whilst also making vital contributions to prosperity and peace in global societies. More than 600 non-profit organisations from over 100 countries were considered, with the final awards being presented at the 6th Global Forum of the UNAOC in Bali by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations
As a response to the lack of transparent, objective and accurate media, PCRC established Balkan Diskurs—a unique media outlet that aims to disseminate the voices of Bosnian youth and PCRC’s international youth volunteers. The specialized platform focuses on providing a pan-ethnic space to young writers to express their opinions and perspectives on pressing issues as well as their ideas related to how BiH can achieve positive social change in various sectors.
The work featured on the Balkan Diskurs online platform connects themes across borders and provides fresh and independent views on issues that matter to people in the Western Balkans. This platform is dedicated to challenging stereotypes and providing viewpoints that cannot be found in other media. Balkan Diskurs has built strong republication partnerships with Global Voices, Insight on Conflict, Index on Censorship, and Warscapes that facilitate the international distribution of articles published on our platform.
On the 20th anniversary of the Siege of Sarajevo, hundreds of reporters reunited in Sarajevo for a weeklong event, initiated by French journalist Rémy Ourdan and other foreign correspondents who covered the war in Bosnia from 1992–95. The event served as the launch of the War Art Reporting and Memory Foundation (WARM), which has been established to tell the stories of contemporary conflict “with excellence and integrity.” During the launch, PCRC’s President Velma Šarić was designated as the Project Manager for WARM’s Bosnia branch and PCRC took a lead role in the organization's establishment.
PCRC is now responsible for managing, coordinating and co-hosting WARM’s Sarajevo-based activities, including the annual WARM Festival, which is comprised of a week of events, exhibitions, film screenings, and book signings that showcase the best films, art, photography, books, testimonies, and other projects that tell the stories of international conflict, both past and present.
On the Margins
“On the Margins,” a cooperative project between the OSCE and PCRC is a photo-based exhibition designed to increase the availability of positive images of Roma to challenge widespread prejudices and negative stereotypes, while also increasing levels of media attention related to the plight of Roma communities in BiH. The exhibition, launching on 21 March 2018, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, juxtaposes images, narratives, and didactic text against the widely held stereotypes about the Roma (identified in the Council of Europe’s Dosta! Campaign toolkit) which they challenge. PCRC has engaged emerging photographers from both outside and within BiH in the project, including a young Roma photographer who grew up in the village in which many of the images were shot. Following the initial launch, the accompanying programming and outreach activities will foster greater levels of understanding amongst Bosnian youth and the general public about the challenges Roma communities face in terms of discrimination and marginalization.