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First cohort graduates from new Building Stronger Communities programme

The first cohort has graduated from a new course designed to help people build stronger more cohesive communities.

They were invited to a special reception at London’s Bosnian Embassy to receive their certificates from the Bosnian Ambassador His Excellency Vanja Filipovic. De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) teamed up with charity Remembering Srebrenica UK to run the course, called Building Stronger Communities.

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Through survivor testimony, lectures, blogs, podcasts and discussions, the students were able to take learnings from the Bosnian genocide and the way in which it affected communities. In July 1995, more than 8,000 Bosniak Muslims were murdered in Srebrenica, in the worst atrocity on European soil since the Second World War. Remembering Srebrenica was created as a charity to tackle intolerance.

Associate Professor Sadique said Building Stronger Communities aimed to use lessons from the past to encourage people to speak up and speak out against identity-based prejudice, discrimination, injustice and persecution.

“The programme was about engaging people to learn from what happened in Srebrenica during the Bosnian conflict, but also to be able to have the skills and confidence to take action in their communities. It’s been a real pleasure to watch the graduates grow, and see the sustainable pledges that are being taken through from being on this programme.”

Ambassador Filipovic, said he was delighted at the response the course had had, and the enthusiasm of the graduates. He said: “I’m very excited that Remembering Srebrenica teamed up with DMU to run this course – all the feedback we’ve heard has just been absolutely amazing.”

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Members of the civil service, police, and community organisations were among the participants who took part in the six-week online course, run by Associate Professor Kim Sadique head of DMU’s Community and Criminal Justice Division and Jane Drapkin, lecturer in Criminology.

Jane Drapkin, who developed and delivered the programme alongside Kim Sadique, said: “I was overwhelmed by the engagement and enthusiasm of the participants and am so proud of all of the actions they have already taken, and the sustainable pledges they have made to continue building stronger communities, locally and globally.”

“There are so many different issues, so many things going on in the news, and we can’t always focus on all of it, but there are things we can do in everyday life to have an impact – and that was something that really came through in the course,” said Lucy Adams, a PhD student at the Leeds Beckett University who was among those graduating.

Dan Kelly, a councillor in Ireland, said: “I thought it was going to be a history course, but it was anything but. It was fully immersive and intensely challenging reflecting on the Bosnian war. The testimonies were inspirational, and left me in tears. It was an intense, challenging, life-altering course, and I really appreciate having done it.”  

Everyone who graduated becomes A community champion for Remembering Srebrenica and have made individual pledges to work in their own communities. The programme has been supported as part of DMU’s work as a United Nations hub for SDG 16 – peace, justice and strong communities.

* If you’d like to learn more about future cohorts of the Building Stronger Communities programme, please contact

Posted on Thursday 12th May 2022

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