Dayton rolls out welcome mat for exchange group from Bosnia

A group of 17 students and four teachers from Bosnia and Herzegovina are spending three weeks in Dayton as part of an exchange program through the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Embassy, Sarajevo.

The group, which arrived in Dayton in mid-April, is learning about democracy, diversity, volunteerism, civic discourse and community engagement alongside of American peers while also getting a taste of American life by staying with local host families, said Miranda Brooks, who works for the Dayton Mediation Center.

The visiting teachers and teenage students recently attended a Dayton City Commission meeting and afterwards got to experience America’s pastime at a Dayton Dragons game.

They also toured the Dayton Arcade and have learned about the structure, operations and functions of Dayton’s government from city staff and officials, and they have dined at some well-known establishments around town.

The city says past participants in the DAY BiH Youth Leadership Program have described it as “life changing” and “a window into American culture.”

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

“Our efforts here continue the bridge-building work between America and Bosnia and Herzegovina,” the city of Dayton said in a statement.

This is Dayton’s third exchange since 2019.

Four years earlier, in 2015, a local delegation traveled to Bosnia to commemorate the 20-year anniversary of the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords, which ended the Bosnian war.

Host families deserve a lot of credit for giving exchange students and teachers a place to stay, but they also are rewarded with a meaningful experience, said Dayton City Commissioner Matt Joseph.

“You learn, you get to see a new perspective,” he said. “I want to thank them for being willing to do this.”

Josip Lukin, who teaches English language and literature outside of Sarajevo, at the commission meeting thanked the Dayton community for the warm welcome.

“You are such a great people,” he said. “We have a lot to learn from you.”

Asmir Doric, another teacher, said, “Thank you so much for your hospitality and showing us Dayton and everything you’ve done for Bosnia.”

The Dayton Mediation Center manages the cooperative agreement and project.

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