By: Genna Welsh Kasun '06
Issue: Winter 2013
Photo: Courtesy: Edward Sinnes '12
During Bosnia's Civil Warwhich ran from 1992 to 1994more than 100,000 men, women and children, mainly civilians, were killed in massacres. Along with her family, Željana Varga '13 barely escaped.
Now, she has gone back to Srebrenica, Bosnia four times, looking for answers.
Z, as she is known on campus, majors in peace and conflict studies at Juniata, one of only a dozen undergraduate
peace programs in the country.
A Juniata Peace Fellowship, one of several grants that enable students to undertake advanced hands-on experiences from which undergraduate research papers and presentations are created, funded Z's most recent excursion. And, when there, she took the opportunity to interview victims of the very massacres she was able to narrowly avoid.
One of the mothers we met buried four of her sons, yet many people here, in America, don't know this ever happened, Z says.
Z's research will contribute to the extensive research already done on the massacres. And she's not finished with her project when she turns in her paper.
Genocide Awareness Week at Juniatawhich Z is chairing this yearis a weeklong event that makes other students aware of the conflicts like Z explored. In the past, the week's events, which focused on the recent genocide in Rwanda, have included speakers, films and student portrayals of those who were affected by genocide.
There's only so much you can learn from a book or a lecture, Z says.
So explore. It'll change you, but if you share your experience with at least one more person, then at least one more person will know.
Juniata's undergraduate program in peace and conflict studies provides two peace fellowships per year. Fellowships are also available in environmental sciences and studies, theatre, languages, instrumental music, visual arts and study abroad.