The BOLD program was officially launched and the website made public on Monday, November 18, 2019 to a packed audience of nearly 200 at the Meeting Point Cinema in Sarajevo and live streamed to over 150 people at American Corners around the country. Over 11,000 people watched on Facebook live and Instagram live.
U.S. Ambassador Eric Nelson provided the keynote address confirming the U.S. commitment to support of great ideas to move BiH forward by young leaders. U.S. Embassy Cultural Attaché Holly Zardus emceed and explained how the program will work, describing the importance of young leaders and encouraging them to get involved in their communities with real projects that will make a difference in one of the two BOLD thematic areas – civic engagement and economic development. And website designer, Faris Biogradlić took the audience on a tour of the website so everyone could see the different kinds of BOLD programs and start to understand how they can get involved.
It wasn’t just an evening of explanation, though. The participants in the first BOLD Action Workshop presented their project proposal ideas for community action in a pitching competition. Workshop participants sold their ideas in slick, concise presentations of how they hope to create solutions to real issues in their communities, and audiences in Sarajevo and at the American Corners had the opportunity to vote on which they thought would be the best. The winning group, GRAD, will create green spaces in Sarajevo at bus and tram stops to help combat the problem of air pollution in Sarajevo. Runners up were Demand Culture, a project to create a source of funding to support the arts in BiH; and Edulab hopes to empower civic education students to interact with their local governments to work for change. These were only three of six fantastic projects that came out of the BOLD Action Workshop, held over three days previous to the launch.
To top it all off, the event was made complete by the incredible and beautiful sounds of sevdalinka band Divanhana. They even took the opportunity to speak about their experience as young people participating in a leadership program with the U.S. Embassy. It was an inspiring evening about the potential of youth and importance of good leadership, and a great beginning to a movement across BiH!
Watch the full launch video here.