Origin of the name of the Initiative
In April 1995, a group of 38 intellectual and antiwar activists from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), led by the late Professor Miladin Zivotic, traveled 48 hours via Hungary and Croatia through the Igman Mountain to Sarajevo, which was under heavy artillery and sniper fire from the Bosnian Serb. In an interview with Radio Free Europe, when asked why he participated, Ivan Stambolic said “because of the people in Sarajevo and solidarity with them, but also in support of the people here [in Serbia] who have been against the war and destruction of the city and the people in it, but also because of war monger and instigators . . . with this act I want to show that patriotism, lest humanism, is a lie.”
Despite these traumatic circumstances, the participants of this trip were intent on attending the annual session of Sarajevo-based Serbian Civic Council and on extending their support to the besieged citizens of Sarajevo. The name Igman Initiative evokes the risks taken by the group to raise voice of reason and conscience, and the long journey to Sarajevo.
Origin of the Initiative
The forerunner to the Igman Initiative was a conference entitled “Prospects for Bilateral Relations Between BiH and the FRY,” which took place in Banja Luka (BiH) in February 2000. Attended by representatives from approximately 80 NGOs from the two countries, the meeting was convened at the time when political parties that were responsible for instigating the war were in power in both countries. These parties did not look favorably on the normalization of relations or on the establishment of cooperation. To this end, the conference discussed the possibilities and prospects for establishing cooperation in the sphere of politics, economy and culture, covering substantially new ground. This conference was opened by: Milorad Dodik, President of the Republika Srpska government; Ambasador Hans Jorg Kretchmer, European Commission; Julijan Harston, deputy special representative of the UN secretary general; Dragisa Burzan, vice president of Montenegro government; Ambassador Dieter Woltman, Deputy Head of OSCE Mission; and Rifat Rastoder, vice-president of the Montenegro parliament.
In November 2000, in Zagreb, the follow up conference, “Prospects of Relations between Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia and the FRY” was convened. The conference gathered more than 100 NGOs from the Dayton Triangle. Participating organizations agreed to institutionalize their activities that aimed to establish and normalize relations among the three countries. The new institution would give the organizations a greater influence on the governments and the public in all three countries and would speed up the process of normalizing the relations. At the second session of the conference, held in Novi Sad in March 2001, the umbrella movement Igman Initiative was established and a Council was appointed.
Founded by the Center for Regionalism (Novi Sad, Serbia), the Forum of the Democratic Alternative BiH (Sarajevo, BiH) and the Civic Committee for Human Rights (Zagreb, Croatia), the Igman Initiative was established with financial support from Freedom House, which continues to provide funding for nearly all Igman Initiative projects today. The Igman Initiative comprised of more than 140 non-governmental organizations from Serbia, Montenegro, BiH, and Croatia, works toward renewing cooperation and normalizing inter-state relations within the Dayton Triangle.