From May 16 to June 2, the Dayton Sister City Committee (DSCC) will host six college students from across Bosnia and Herzegovina to intern at various businesses and organizations in Dayton.
The aim of the student visit and work experience is to further facilitate the long-standing ties of Dayton and the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina, building human capital through grassroots diplomacy.
Matt Joseph, Dayton ity Commissioner and the Commission's ex-officio member of the DSCC, is a major organizer and proponent of the exchange.
"Exchanges like this one are especially important now, when leaders all over the world are generating fear by demonizing people who were born elsewhere or look different," Joseph said. "Personal diplomacy and personal contact undercut this big lie by revealing that we have more in common with our neighbor than we have differences. I'm proud to support this excellent program, and I very much appreciate the volunteers and donors whose work and support have made it possible."
Two students are coming from the southern city of Mostar, two from the northern city of Banja Luka, and two from the central city of Sarajevo, the nation's capital and Dayton's Sister City since 1999. While in Dayton, all students will be participating in internships at local organizations. Internships are planned at Co-Op Dayton/Gem City Market, Catapult Creative, the University of Dayton Research Institute, TLC Insurance Group, the City of Dayton, CareSource, Sinclair Community College and Montgomery County. In addition to internships, the students will engage in activities across Dayton, such as attending the World a'Fair and a Dayton Dragons game, and visiting Holbrooke Plaza and key sites of the Dayton Peace Accords, which brought an end to the Bosnian War in 1995.
Ana Bogdanović, marketing coordinator at INTERA Technology Park (Mostar), and the event coordinator on the Bosnia and Herzegovina side, explains the benefits to student participants: "Participating in an international exchange program like this is a great experience for the students from Bosnia and Herzegovina. The knowledge and skills they gain during their time in Dayton are priceless resources that help them in building their professional careers back home. Learning from experts, discovering new cultures, and making new friends are additional values that change students' lives."
This internship exchange precedes a larger exchange happening in October of this year, when Dayton will host 18 teenage students and three teachers, with a focus on leadership and enacting changes in democracy.
Arch Grieve, DSCC chair and organizer for the project on the Dayton side, is passionate about the project: "I've definitely fallen in love with the people and culture of Bosnia and Herzegovina and am so excited that this is the fourth group of students in the short span of just two years that will be able to benefit from this internship. Many thanks to the supporters of this project, especially the Rotary Club of Kettering, as their support has made it possible. I look forward to seeing what happens in future years as it continues to grow and evolve."
To see a gallery of photos from earlier exchange programs, click here.