Project description

My place in the European Union: Building and Promoting Dialogue about EU Integrations

The inaugural speech of the Director for Western Balkans at the EU Commission’s Directorate General for Enlargement Negotiations, Genoveva Ruiz Calavera, on the 21 March 2019 marked the beginning of the project My place in the European Union: Building and Promoting Dialogue about EU Integrations.

The opening of the project was attended by Head of the Islamic Community Husein Kavazović, Head of EU Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina and European Union Special Representative to Bosnia and Herzegovina Lars-Gunnar Wigemark and principals, teachers and students of Islamic schools.

About the project and activities

The project is implemented by the Directorate for External Affairs and the Diaspora of the Riyasat of the Islamic Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina and supported by the European Union. Since the Islamic Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina fosters the idea that integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina into the European Union is one of the main foundations for promoting peace and prosperity among the nations in the region, the project focuses on raising awareness among the youth about EU integration and its importance and benefits for the BH society. The target group are primarily students of Islamic high schools, who will learn about the European Union and its basic principles through different activities, which will also demonstrate the compatibility between Islamic values and values promoted by the EU. 

Students will get the opportunity to learn about the importance of freedom of thought, conscience and religion in the European Union. This way, these young people will get a better understanding of the European Union, the process of integration, and the historical context of the multireligious background of the European continent. The project will also raise awareness among young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina about Islam's and Europe's shared values and the positive ways in which Islam helped shape Europe. The idea of the project is to combat prejudice that European values are incompatible with Islam (Bosnian Islam in particular); to promote coexistence with others; to show that European heritage is also Islamic heritage and that Islam is not a new and foreign religion in Europe. Finally, the project will contribute to the integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region into the EU.

The project will last for the next five months and will be implemented in six Islamic high schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the best participants will get the opportunity to visit EU headquarters in Brussels.

„We firmly believe that every individual, particularly religious leaders, have a very important role in promotion of dialogue, understanding and mutual respect culture. This is why we think that Islamic community in BiH represents an important factor in EU integrations of Bosnia and Herzegovina, through promotion of a form of Islam compatible with the system of coexistence, which is for us a very important value as European Union is founded on unity that respects diversity. You are all Europeans, and our duty is to prepare you to become a part of, I have to say, beautiful family called European Union, whose members decided to stand together in good and bad times“, Genoveva Ruiz Calavera, Director for Western Balkans at the EU Commission’s Directorate General for Enlargement Negotiations

Modern history of the European Union points to the importance of peaceful coexistence, which is embedded in the basic principle of the European Union - unity in diversity. The Islamic Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina believes EU integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the key goals which will ensure promotion of peace and prosperity among the nations in the region, and a more thorough understanding of Europe and how their own histories are interconnected and contribute to its common success will make their future brighter. In addition to this, the project also aims to show the compatibility between the basic principle of the EU and Islamic values. 


Project activities


The development of a curriculum which will focus on perspectives and opportunities the EU integrations offer to young people and the entire society, aimed at spreading knowledge among young people who attend Islamic schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina about the shared heritage and values of Islam and the EU.  The curriculum will be used for the project, but will also continue to be used in special seminars and workshops in regular classes. Students will learn about Article 10 of the European Human rights Charter - Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion, and its implications in everyday life of an EU citizen. The focus will also be placed on the set of rules known as the Copenhagen criteria which deal with human rights and protection of minorities, which are particularly important for religious communities.



A series of 60 lectured on the EU will be held, introducing the following topics: historical and contemporary need for the EU in Europe, introducing EU institutions, benefits of EU membership for Bosnia and Herzegovina, EU values, current challenges and issues. As a result, Islamic school students will develop a sense of the EU being a supranational entity which provides a standard for human rights protection, equality, good government management, functional institutions, prosperity and cooperation between countries which result in regional stability. The lectures will be followed by presentations and workshops about the EU and the promotion of interculturalism and common heritage. The workshops will focus on starting a dialogue and increasing the interest in these topics among young people, as well as presenting the students' ideas about the ways in which the next activities will be carried out (creating art and literary works for the competition; discussing ideas about art projects; painting, photo and video exhibition; essay presentation; public campaign; school theater shows, performances in schools and in public places; debates on topics related to the project).




Public competition in writing essays and producing videos, photos and other artistic and literary works about Bosnia and Herzegovina in The European Union, which show the link between religious freedoms and the European Union, interculturalism, etc. The activity will involve choosing 10 to 12 best art and literary works, which will be included in a special brochure, whose authors will be awarded a trip to Brussels, where they will present their work in the EU Parliament.



Organizing and holding a central debate for students of different Islamic schools. This event will bring together students from all six Islamic schools involved in the project and the activities in this one-day program will be covered by the media and presented in school magazines. The activity will also involve establishing EU integration debate clubs, which will continue to operate in the future, and will remain in contact with the EU Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Office of the EU Special Representative in order to continue the promotion of EU values.


Organizing a trip for the winners of the competition. The trip will involve visiting landmarks which are important for learning about the history of the EU and the continent and some places which are important for the recent history of the EU. The students will visit the European Parliament in Brussels and present their work to the members of the Parliament. They will also use this opportunity to speak to the members of the Parliament about their expectations of EU integration. The students who are chosen for this trip will be obliged to make a presentation about the trip in their schools and help start and organize workshops and EU integration clubs in their schools.


„The Office of the EU Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina continues its cooperation with the Islamic community through the project My Place in Europe, which we are implementing with students of 6 Islamic high schools throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina. The aim of the project is to point to the importance of the process of EU integration and building mutual understanding between young people of different religious beliefs, both in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the entire Europe. The project presents an opportunity to discuss and show that Europe has a common history, tradition and values which are based on acceptance and respect for the people of different backgrounds. Apart from the educational part, the project also has its creative component. We wanted the students to show the way they see their place in Europe through their artistic and literally expression. We are looking forward to seeing the results, which will be exhibited in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Brussels. We are expecting constructive debate, which will be organized towards the end of the project. We hope the idea of this project will be preserved through clubs for European integrations which will be established in Islamic schools, and we believe that students will be successful young ambassadors working on the promotion of the integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the EU, and the respect and preservation of European values in the BH society.“ Jamila Milović-Halilović, Head of Communication and spokesperson of the EU delegation and EU Special Representative

The project is primarily aimed at increasing the knowledge of young people in Islamic schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina about the European Union with the aim to ease the process of integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina and emphasize the importance of the integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina into the European union and all the advantages of EU membership: stable democratic institutions, rule of law, functional economic market, upholding human rights and freedoms, etc. Throughout their previous education, students of Islamic schools have already shown excellence and many of them continue their education in different fields with similar excellence and further successes in economic, social and political life of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Also, all imams and muallimas are required to have attended Islamic schools, which creates an immense potential for shaping successful people who influence others in the society.

The project is aiming to influence the perceptions of young people in Islamic schools about EU membership. The recent increase in the number and influence of certain political ideologies in Europe makes this task even more important. In order to justify their islamophobia and the racism, these ideologies use the examples of some politically motivated groups which have distorted the true teachings of Islam and represent Islam and Muslims as something foreign, as an enemy to European culture and civilization, emphasizing the issue of security.

On the other hand, many young Muslims have been exposed to these negative experiences, which led many of them to feel like they do not belong and they are not wanted in Europe. It is therefore utterly necessary to show that Islam has a rich tradition in Europe and shares many values with it, that young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina can make a difference, and that their voice can be heard both in their country and in Europe. The project also supports promoting interculturalism by increasing the knowledge of the students and raising awareness among them in order to speed up the process of reconciliation by showing the common heritage of different religions and culture in Europe.  The project also raises awareness about the contributions of his Islam to European culture and scientific development and achievements. The project will also increase their knowledge and awareness about the historical existence and presence of Islam in Europe and its coexistence throughout history with different religions, as well as this position in the modern era.

„Bosnian Muslims are Europeans and they belong to Europe not only geographically, but in their spirit, history, culture, art and values which they share with other European nations. Through this project, our young people will learn that periods when different people live together in an enriching interaction with each other last much longer than wars.“ Razim Čolić, Head of Directorate for External Affairs and the Diaspora of the Islamic Community.