The Ambassadors REVIEW
: The World Factbook, 2009.
Bosnia: A Cultural Mosaic of Great Potential
Thomas P. Melady, Ph.D.
Professor and Senior Diplomat in Residence, Institute of World Politics
United States Ambassador to the Holy See, 1989-1993
United States Ambassador to Uganda, 1972-1973
United States Ambassador to Burundi, 1969-1972
Senior Advisor to the US Delegation to the United Nations General Assembly
President Emeritus of Sacred Heart University
Former United States Assistant Secretary for Post Secondary Education
osnia is a cultural mosaic of well-established Serb Orthodox, Catholic Croat
and Bosnian Muslim communities. This nation can become, like
Switzerland, an example of people with diverse cultures living in peace and
harmony as neighbors.
In order to achieve this vision and avoid
another outbreak of ethnic-religious violence that
characterized the period of 1992-1995, a fresh look
at the current situation in Bosnia is needed. Deep-
rooted fears, which are resurfacing, must be
assuaged. Past mistakes and misguided policy
assumptions must be acknowledged.
In my opinion, the three communities in
Bosnia should be allowed to develop their own
traditions and laws in accordance with the general
guidelines of a decentralized state that will provide
for national defense and a national fiscal system and
represent the country in foreign affairs. The
German, French, Italian and Old Swiss communities
have flourished within the confederation of Switzerland. In fact, the cases of Switzerland
and Canada clearly demonstrate how creative thinking can be applied to produce a civil
society where cultural traditions enrich and strengthen the state.
Regrettably, for almost a century, some members of the international community
have imposed their concepts of governance on the Bosnian people. President Woodrow
Wilson, a courageous leader of the American people in World War I, actively supported
the break up of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, and, at the 1919 Versailles Peace
conference, promoted the establishment of one state which, he believed, would unite the
cultural communities. Originally this state was designated as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats
and Slovenes since, at this point, the Muslim community had not emerged as a significant
The author is indebted to Mr. Kevin Waters, a graduate student at the Institute of World Politics, for his