IRCICA’s ten-year program "Mostar 2004" completed: the tenth workshop and closing ceremonies, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 7-22 July 2004

The ten-year program of architectural workshops entitled "Mostar 2004", which was instituted by IRCICA within the framework of its cooperation agreement with the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has been completed this Summer. A large-scale closing ceremony was held under the chairmanship of H.E. Sulejman Tihic, President of Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 22 July 2004.

The period, coinciding with the official opening ceremony of the world-famous Old Bridge of Mostar, was marked by other events representing the reconstruction process of the cultural and architectural heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the re-opening of Karadgozbeg Mosque (16th century), which was reconstructed by IRCICA with the support of H.E. Sheikh Ahmad Zaki Yamani, Chairman, Al-Furqan Islamic Heritage Foundation (London).

The aim of the Mostar 2004 project was to contribute to the restoration and conservation of the architectural heritage of multicultural Bosnia and Herzegovina by establishing an international network of prominent schools and other institutions, convening workshops, producing project proposals and guidelines to assist and support the reconstruction.

"Mostar 2004 is not merely a reconstruction of major architectural monuments, but it symbolises the reconstruction of a heritage of coexistence and mutual tolerance, of which the Bosnian people are the heirs and have been the custodians for centuries. Therefore, the world community’s active participation together with the Bosnian nation to implement this process, through support and funding, will certify the humanity’s commitment to re-establishing the Bosnian heritage, a historical and living example of dialogue between different cultures. By rebuilding the Old Bridge and its surroundings, we are rebuilding human values and norms that transcend religious and ethnic barriers." Prof. Dr. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, 1996

The tenth annual session of the Mostar 2004 program was organised with the following components:

STUDIO A: Authentic Bosnia and Herzegovina
Tourism development discussion
Existing economic resources which are compatible with the integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Europe (water energy, agriculture, aluminum) are not sufficient for sustainable state. They should be completed with new technologies and other economic components. Foreign investment is needed. It is clear that any serious investment requires suitable legislation, supportive tax policies, measures to optimize administration, and skilled manpower. Here, the workshop participants focused on research, preservation, promotion and development of authentic Bosnia and Herzegovina values: rich natural and cultural heritage combined with climate, and natural food production, as a great economic potential of the state.

STUDIO B: Urban Rehabilitation
The discussions took into consideration consequences of the recent war, the current economic, social and demographic situation, quality of local and state infrastructure, organization of the city and its position in the State and the Federation. Existing political situation, infrastructure, economic resources, tourism, education, and citizens’ participation.

SYMPOSIUM: Lessons Learned in Mostar

Session 1: The first ten years in the context of long-term rehabilitation
Session 2: The next phase of urban rehabilitation
Session 3: The Mostar 2004 global network: resource for successful long-term recovery
Session 4: Mostar‘s future development challenges and evolving needs
Session 5: Mostar in a global context
Session 6: Major findings of the Mostar 2004 Workshops & Symposia, 1994-2004

Parallel Workshops

Simultaneously with the main program, two workshops were held, considering different aspects of the architectural and cultural heritage.

Children and Heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina, organised by Step by Step Sarajevo. The works of the participants were exhibited between July 21 and 25, 2004 in Mostar

Picturing Bosnia and Herzegovina, organised by photographer Gary Otto (Vancouver).

The opening session of the 10th Mostar 2004 architectural workshop was held on 7 July.

The ceremony started with a Mostar 2004 Workshop Summary by Architect Prof. Amir Pasic, Coordinator of the Mostar 2004 program, IRCICA. Prof. Pasic explained the objectives and the importance of the ten-year Mostar 2004 program and outlined its results. He mentioned that the reconstruction by IRCICA of some significant monuments such as Karadgozbeg Mosque, which was designed by the great Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan in the 16th century and is considered as the best mosque in Mostar, had been successfully completed and that this mosque was going to be re-opened within the framework of the Old Bridge opening ceremony program.

Professor Pasic noted that the Summer of 2004 is a juncture of unprecedented importance and represents a potential for Mostar as well as other cities. This year, with the ongoing help of the international community, Mostar is concluding its first major phase of urban rehabilitation designed to preserve its character and simultaneously meet the complex needs of its residents. He concluded his review by emphasizing that the completion of this phase is marked by a formal inauguration and a dedication of the new Old Bridge, on 23 July, and added that this event attracted high-profile international interest, by politicians, dignitaries, donors, and institutional leaders from around the world, many of whom have provided substantial funding for the realization of the bridge reconstruction process.

STUDIO A: Authentic Bosnia and Herzegovina
This part of the program started with a study visit to the most significant cities, such as Blagaj, Stolac, Pocitelj, Sarajevo, Jajce, Vlasic, Tavnik and Trebinije in Bosnia, which have potential for investments. The participants thus acquired knowledge of the different aspects of these cities, in order to formulate proposals towards development in Bosnia.
After the trip, the participants from Yıldız Technical University (Istanbul) presented the works they did during one semester.

STUDIO B: Next Phase of Urban Rehabilitation
Three working groups were organised. These groups worked in different cities, including Travnik, Stolac and Jajce. Each group collected data on each city and made surveys. They prepared and presented reports.

SYMPOSIUM: Lessons Learned in Mostar
The symposium was held on 20-22 July, according to the following program:

Session 1
The first ten years in the context of long-term rehabilitation
Moderator: Zoran Puljić (from the NGO Development Foundation, Sarajevo), Speakers: Eric Martin (Assistant Professor, in ECSU, Department of Business Administration)

Session 1 examined future challenges for Mostar in the ongoing process of rehabilitation. The speakers assessed the changing demographic and political landscape, considered methods for enlisting new institutional support, and examined the assorted impacts of donor fatigue -not all of which were assumed to be negative.

Session 2
The next phase of urban rehabilitation
Moderator: Aida Omanović (Head of ARC’s Mostar office), Speakers: Murray McCollough (The local representative of the European Commission), Sead Pintul (Head of Urban Planning Department, City Administration Mostar), Tihomir Rozić (Director of Project Coordination Unit)

Session 2 examined the results of the first decade of rehabilitation in Mostar. The speakers summarized key objectives, constraints, and sources of funding for reconstruction in the process of assessing completed projects with respect to impacts, priorities, successes, and lost opportunities.

Session 3
The Mostar 2004 global network: resource for successful long-term recovery
Moderator: Jerrilynn Dodds (architect, historian of art), Speakers: Aida Idrizbegovic (M. Arch. Architect), Noman Ahmed (Professor in NED University, Karachi)

Session 3 examined the global professional network generated by ten years of Mostar 2004 workshops and symposia.

Session 4
Mostar’s future development challenges and evolving needs
Moderator: Jon Calame (Consultant, Minevra Partners), Speakers: Lary Hannah (Senior Economist in World Bank), Farkhod Bagirov (Architect)

Session 4 examined Mostar in a global context, as the speakers explored linkages between physical rehabilitation and social development with emphasis on Mostar’s contributions to the best rehabilitation practice and patterns linking Mostar with other divided cities.

Session 5
Mostar in a global context
Moderator: Richard Medić (OSCE in Mostar), Speaker: Richard Williams (The Deputy High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Session 5 highlighted strategies for Mostar’s next phase of reconstruction, focusing on public education. The speakers discussed the overarching value of joint education as a foundation for sustainable recovery, Mostar as a model for modernized educational institutions in the country, and Mostar as a regional center for educational exchange.

Session 6
Major findings of the Mostar 2004 Workshops & Symposia, 1994-2004
Moderator: Hilary Dunne-Ferrone (consultant, Minevra Partners), Speakers: Stefano Bianca (Director of Historic Cities Support Program in AKTC), Ivo Banac (Yale scholar of Yugoslavian history)

Session 6 synthesized the lessons learned in Mostar over the past decade of research, discussion, and project implementation. The speakers offered concluding observations and considered what other cities can borrow from Mostar’s example.

Parallel Workshops
"Picturing Mostar" Studio
The studio directed by Gary Otto was on architectural photography. He gave a lecture on how to use light and choose the angle while taking photographs.

Step by Step
Objects manufactured by young participants of age 3 to 11 by using different materials were exhibited in the Muslibegovic Housing Complex courtyard.

Closing Ceremony of the MOSTAR 2004 program

The closing ceremony of Mostar 2004 program was officiated by President Sulejman Tihic, President of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lord Paddy Ashdown, High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Prof. Dr. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, Director General of IRCICA. President Tihic and Professor İhsanoğlu presented certificates of recognition to the distinguished participants for their valuable contributions in the ten year program. Brooke Harrington, Jon Calame, Jerrilynn Dodds, Judith Bing, Attilio Petruccioli, Zeynep Ahunbay, Zijad Demirovic, Noman Ahmed, Safet Oručević, Hamdija Jahić, Ljubo Bešlić were presented these certificates.

Excerpts from addresses delivered during the ceremony

Lord Paddy Ashdown, High Representative and European Union: "If Mostar is a keystone for Bosnia & Herzegovina, can Bosnia & Herzegovina be a bridge for Europe?"

"There are, just occasionally in the life of countries, moments so imbued with political symbolism 'so overtly laden with historical significance' that they come, in time, to encapsulate an era. In the context of the Balkan wars of the 1990s, the deliberate destruction of the Old Bridge in Mostar, flashed around the world’s television screens, was just such a moment. A moment when all the wanton barbarism that accompanied Yugoslavia’s violent collapse was crystallized in a single second, and preserved in the memory for generations. Why? Because no other event so graphically illustrated the triumph of mindless aggression over the values of civilisation which that tragic war came to represent.

"The Old Bridge’s destruction may have represented the momentary triumph of evil. But its reconstruction represents a permanent triumph of will -the will to do whatever is necessary to ensure the ultimate victory of civilisation over primitivism. Tomorrow, this ancient, miraculous arch of stone will once again span river below and join the two sides of this great city. I can think of no more significant moment of Bosnia and Herzegovina since the process of reconstruction and rehabilitation began almost nine years ago with the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement. For in re-opening this bridge, we signal our resolve to re-establish the tradition of multi-confessional, multi-national coexistence that, contrary to common misperceptions, has characterised life in this part of the world for most of the last five hundred years. Like the bridge itself, this tradition has held firm more than it has given way. The fact is that in the almost 500 years since the Mostar Bridge was first built, back in 1566, intolerance and disharmony have been as much a feature of Western Europe as they have of the Western Balkans.

"Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Muslims are showing that Islam can be no less a European religion than Judaism or Christianity –and in so doing offering a glimpse of the kind of bridge that can exist between these allegedly competing civilizations .."

President Sulejman Tihic said, in his address at the closing ceremony of the Mostar 2004 program: "Bosnia and Herzegovina is multiethnic and multireligious community, where Bosnians -Muslims, Serbs -Orthodox and Croats -Catholics live. In our country also live Jews, Greeks, Albanians, Montenegros and members of the other national minorities. There are constitutional differences among nations, but there are more things that they have in common: Slav origin, related languages, as well as a centuries-old tradition of living together and tolerance. In Sarajevo, which is also called the Jerusalem of Europe, in Mostar and the other larger cities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, mosques, catholic and orthodox churches, synagogues stand near each others, but there are also other cultural and historic monuments and marks. That is our treasure and our advantage, and not a disadvantage in any way. They are imbued and make authentic symmetry of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the wars, which marked the 20th century in this region, especially during the 1992-1995 period, cultural heritage was systemically ruined. So, its reconstruction is very important, because cultural heritage is not just witness of our history, but also foundation for our future."

Prof. Dr. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu briefed the audience at the closing ceremony on the background of "Mostar 2004", the initiative that led to its institution, its basic objectives, the Cooperation Agreement signed between the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina and IRCICA, etc. He said that from the beginning of the program of workshops, an international network of prominent universities and institutions from around the world was associated with the program. "We all share the enthusiasm of the present accomplishments with the people of Mostar and all the Bosnian nation. Whether big or modest, any contribution made to this aim deserves all praise."

Prof. İhsanoğlu expressed his gratitude to the President of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Municipality of Mostar. Prof. İhsanoğlu reviewed the reconstruction activities that were coordinated by IRCICA parallel to the workshop program. In this context, he recalled with deep gratitude the generous contributions that were provided by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohamed al-Qassimi, United Arab Emirates Supreme Council Member and Emir of Sharjah, for the restoration of Neziraga Mosque and Smajkic Mosque, and, His Excellency Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, Founder and Chairman of Al-Furqan Islamic Heritage Foundation, for the restoration of Karadjozbeg Mosque. Prof. İhsanoğlu thanked and expressed his appreciation of the contributions of the professors and the students, altogether 830 participants who came from 68 universities in 30 countries, and he said that the world of learning at large will benefit from the 137 university diplomas, 38 master thesis and 6 doctorate thesis which were produced with the framework of Mostar 2004 project