The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Bosnian student to return home for non-profit summer internship

Juko to help spread ethics, democracy

Vecky Juko has lived in Bosnia, Germany and the UnitedStates.

She speaks three different languages including English, whichshe only started learning six years ago, and is double majoring inpolitical science and psychology at SMU.

This summer she will go home to Bosnia to work with a non-profitgroup that educates the public about elections.

“I’m very ecstatic about having the opportunity togo there and learn more about the political system,” Jukosaid.

Juko will be volunteering with the Association of ElectionOfficials in Bosnia- Herzegovina.

The organization has been working to educate public officialsabout the ethics of democracy since communism collapsed inYugoslavia in 1990 and civil wars broke out two years later.

“The political situation is changing. We went fromcommunism to democracy in a country that was already based oncorruption, so it takes time,” Juko said.

“They want to educate leaders on what they need to do,what they need to talk about, these different needs that theyhave…and [teach them that] you can’t lie to people,basically.”

Juko took advantage of the Maguire Center for Ethics’program that pays interns to work for non-profit organizations overthe summer.

If selected, interns get paid for up to 200 hours of work at thenon-profit of their choice. This year six interns were selected,including Juko.

“I wanted to do this, and the internship was just a greatopportunity to get paid for it when I’m doing something Ireally wanted to do,” Juko said.

Irena Hadziabdic, the executive director of the program, was afamily friend of Juko’s when she still lived in Bosnia.

“I’m going to be doing everything she does.I’ll be with her the entire time,” Juko said.

According to Hadziabdic, the association has a record of”substantial accomplishments.”

It has trained more than 36,000 polling station officials,educated citizens where and how to vote and registered more than10,000 voters for the last general elections.

This summer, the organization is planning a campaign to educatethe public about the Bosnia-Herzegovina law on Conflict ofInterest.

“We have five staff members in the AEOiBH… andduring the summer we will engage 16 coordinators and 16trainers,” Hadziabdic said.

“Our biggest role for this summer is to improve goodgovernance in [Bosnia-Herzegovina] and decrease corruption, but ourlong term objective is to improve elections and democracy,”she said.

The first free elections in Bosnia were held in 1990, whenRadovan Karadzic came to power.

In a television interview for “Frontline,” formerYugoslavian ambassador Warren Zimmerman described Karadzic as a man”obsessed with imagery of violence…words like‘war,’ ‘genocide,’‘annihilation’ and ‘hell’ speckled hislanguage.”

Karadzic was a Serbian nationalist to the extreme, a predecessorto Slobodan Milosevic.

Concentration camps, bombings and rape were allstate-sanctioned. Civil war erupted in 1992 and continued until theDayton Accord in 1995.

According to Patrice McMahon, a professor at the University ofNebraska-Lincoln, the accord “stopped violence on adime.”

“NATO-led troops stopped [native Bosnian] militaryactivity in a matter of months if not weeks,” McMahonsaid.

The troops are still there – Currently there are 1,300 AmericanNational Guardsmen stationed in Bosnia – and so are theethnic tensions that sparked the civil war, according toMcMahon.

The area of the Dayton Accord that concerns Hadziabdic and Jukois the provision to hold internationally supervised elections.

“I believe that in order for Bosnia to see improvements,citizens once again have to become aware of their ownresponsibilities and fulfill them,” Juko said.

But Juko has confidence in her country.

“The government has to implement changes and it is throughthe public that these changes can take place.

“Once the public is aware of its responsibility,corruption will be eradicated and the country and its citizens willprosper,” she said.

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