Bridging Diversity: Art & Expression – Young Voices Calling for Interculturality

ICDO invited high school students from the three main ethnicities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations in Vienna to give them the opportunity to artistically express and share their visions of cultural diversity in a joint exhibition. This event is part of the ICDO project ‘Bridging Diversity: Bosnia and Herzegovina’, a long-term initiative aiming to promote inter-ethnic understanding for cultural distinctiveness while encouraging intercultural relations. ICDO and VIC Art Club opened the ‘Bridging Diversity: Art & Expression’ exhibition on April 16, 2019 in the United Nations Headquarters Vienna with a festive ceremony.

“By learning facts and exploring artefacts the strange becomes familiar and less threatening. As we continue to make progress in this domain… I look forward to more cultural exchanges between VIC Art Club and ICDO.” – Raymond Nader, VIC Art Club Chairman.

Exhibition participants with Raymond Nader and Josipa Palac in the middle.

In collaboration with the VIC Art Club and its chairman Raymond Nader, ‘Bridging Diversity: Art & Expression’ displays art pieces from high school students in Grude, Trebinje and Jablanica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and from the Academy of Fine Arts Široki Brijeg. The exhibiting students are the winners of an ICDO Call for Art & Expression Contest.

“‘Bridging Diversity: Art & Expression’ has come to the United Nations because we want the powerful and extraordinary ideas of the youth on the future of their country to be heard. We want to encourage and award the young generation who is constructively contributing to society and cultural diversity worldwide. This the essence of our project ‘Bridging Diversity: Bosnia and Herzegovina.’” – Josipa Palac, President and CEO of ICDO.

During the opening event, the winning students of the writing contest presented their essays exploring the future of cultural diversity, strategies to overcome obstacles by closing cultural gaps and the importance of the young generation.

The Dean of the Academy of Fine Arts Široki Brijeg, Stjepan Skoko with the exhibition.

The ICDO team and directors of BiH schools.

“We all live under the same sky, have one sun and one moon…,” said Katarina Biško, a student participant.

The speeches included a representative from the Bosnia and Herzegovina Embassy in Vienna, the Directors of the participating schools – Sabina Palic and Mladen Leko, who supported their students from the beginning of the project – and the Dean of the Academy of Fine Arts Široki Brijeg. The ICDO advisors, anthropologist and President of the Federation of Austrian-Foreign Societies Prof. Dr. Hermann Mückler (Vienna University), and media expert Dr. Anthony Löwstedt (Webster Vienna Private University), gave their impressions on the project ‘Bridging Diversity: Bosnia and Herzegovina’.

“When we look at the project, it is promoting cultural distinctiveness and expression on one side and encouraging intercultural relations on the other side. They are two seemingly opposing goals, but they are not… they are two sides of the same coin.” – Prof. Dr. Hermann Mückler.

The opening event was accompanied by a musical performance featuring different styles from Bosnia and Herzegovina. During a tour of the Headquarters, the students discovered the United Nations Organisations. The evening concluded with a private opening ceremony in the VIC Art Club Exhibition Lounge.