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Sarajevo Conference 2011

Sarajevo Conference

Bosnia and Herzegovina


Brisbane Institute of Strengths Based Practice Australia

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Coping Resilience International Conference Dubrovnik Brisbane Institute

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Professor Lesley Chenoweth

Responding to the Challenges of Contemporary and Future Human Services - Beyond Survival to Proactive Change

The Role and Direction of Social Work and Human Services in the current Economic environment

Cooking for Social Work

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workshops Sarajevo, Bosnia, Vive Zene, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina Workshops


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Workshops in Bosnia and Herzegovina - May 2010


Workshops in Bosnia and Herzegovina Sarajevo Tuzla


In collaboration with Vive Žene - Center for Therapy and Rehabilitation Tuzla


Strength Based Strategies that Work with Individuals, Groups and Communities


Zeljko Komsic, Venkat Pulla, Sarajevo Zeljko Komsic, Venkat Pulla, Davor Vuletic

Dr Venkat Pulla with the Acting President of Bosnia and Herzegovina Zeljko Komsic and

the Foreign Affairs Adviser Davor Vuletic


Svetlana Broz, Venkat Pulla, Sarajevo Good People in an Evil Time

Venkat Pulla in GARIWO with Svetlana Broz.


Narcisa Kamberovic, Jasna Zecevic, Venkat Pulla, TuzlaVenkat Pulla, Tuzla workshops, hotel Tuzla, 2010

With Jasna Zecevic and Narcisa Kamberovic in Tuzla. Workshops on strength based practices in Tuzla in collaboration with Vive Žene - Center for Therapy and Rehabilitation Tuzla - Hotel Tuzla.


Venkat Pulla, Zoltan Milic

With Zoltan Milic


With Djenan Rikovic, director of the Radon Plaza Hotel


Dragan BombekDubravko Jeremic NGO

In the Panorama Restaurant with the representatives of NGOs and volunteers.

"Žene Ženama - Women to women" - Memnuna Nuna Zvizdic,

"The Foundation for Local Democray" - Jasmina Mujezinović,  the representativs of GARIWO, Mirjana Deak- Kanton Sarajevo, Dr. Narcisa Kamberovic, Edita, Lejna, Dubravko Jeremic NGO Vision


The free workshops on strength based practices in Sarajevo and Tuzla


Strengths Based Practices (SBPs) concentrates on the inherent strengths of individuals, families groups and organizations deploying peoples' personal strengths to aid their recovery and empowerment. SBPs are empowering alternatives to traditional methods with individuals, group or organizational work. SBPs refrain from allowing crippling, labelling and stigmatized language.


A strengths approach offers a genuine basis for tackling so much of what mental health services struggle to deliver on a daily basis:

(a) engagement of trusting working relationships;

(b) empowering people to take a lead in their own package of care;

(c) working collaboratively on a mutually agreed agenda for change;

(d) tapping into personal sources of motivation;

(e) sustaining gains through learning and growing through change.


A strengths approach is a specific method of working with and resolving the problems experienced by a person presenting to mental health services. It is not a separate function, setting out to ignore the problems and difficulties. It attempts to identify a positive basis of individual resources from which to tackle the negatives that inevitably accompany the presentation of problems. It provides materials with which to tackle the blank canvas that often accompanies the detailed outline of problems.


After successful organization of the conference in this region (Dubrovnik, Croatia), we realized that numerous practitioners from this country could benefit from being introduced to strength based practices and use them in their daily social work and dealing with issues that cripple local communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  


The workshops are scheduled to take place between May 17th 2010 and May 22nd 2010. Contrary to practice, workshops are not fee-based, i.e. local attendees will not incur any costs associated with attendance. Hence, we will need support to enable broadest possible participation of various interest groups and individuals - groups and individuals who, in conventional organizational setting, would not have the possibility to take part in the SBP workshops.   


Our initiative fits into the overall; framework of activities organized by a large group of local NGOs on reform of social protection system in Bosnia and Herzegovina, specifically because of the large, disenfranchised group of people who are being denied social care and protection and the system which discriminates the people by offering unequal protection to different societal groups.

Why SBP in Bosnia and Herzegovina?

The purpose of these workshops is to promote the resilience approach as opposed to meeting deficits. We do not ask what problems we have. Instead we ask what strengths do we have which allowed us to remain resilient despite the challenges we face?


Where better to ask this question than in Bosnia and Herzegovina? This question is common to this nation and binds it to many other nations. This question is important to Africa, Asia and Americas as well. Tsunamis, man-made disasters, 9/11, wars still being fought, famine and floods, fires and food shortages, climate change and all its waves change the face of life of common man in every society and every nation. 


The earthquake in Haiti poses this question. A question we ask each day, when landslides occur in one part of the world, when floods ravage, when droughts hit the last fauna and for a moment we may see a flying bird feebly drop dead. Just for that moment we may be lost. Yet, we collect our wits and the life goes on.


Unprecedented global transformations occurred in the last two decades of the last century. Some societies are still reeling in their aftermath. People asking for peace seem to be outnumbering those who want a war. There is a true global hunger for principal leadership and collective wisdom that can actively re-engage individuals, groups, and communities, in our societies. The search is on for strength based practices at local, national and global levels: Things that are working and things that worked.


Given the variety of approaches to studying coping and resilience issues and practicing skills to enhance both, these introductory workshops will provide a forum for addressing them from very different perspectives. Workshops will address the following topics, deemed most relevant for local audiences:


  Challenges of reconciliation in multi-ethnic and post-conflict societies;

  Posttraumatic growth after extreme suffering;

  Resilience mechanisms in recovery from individual and collective trauma;

  Resilience after loss and grief;

  Gender issues in coping and resilience;

  Interventions for children and youth to enhance resilience in adverse circumstances.


Practitioners, researchers, students, and anyone else with interest in this subject:

 -        Counsellors

 -        Academics

 -        Students

 -        Researchers

 -        NGO CEOs

 -        Project Managers

 -        Social Workers

 -        Applied Behaviourists

 -        Community Engagement Specialists

 -        Social Scientists  

Every one who is looking to make strength

Workshop Format

These workshops are intended to take place over the course of three days, with two one-day workshops in Sarajevo and one-day workshop in Tuzla. The illustrative workshop schedule is provided below: 

Morning Session 9.30am—5.30pm


•         Welcome

•         Introductions and program overview

•         What are Strength-based Practices all about?

•         Principles of practice

•         Coping skills (resilience)

•         Building blocks of resilience

Lunch break 12.00am -1.00pm

Afternoon Session


•         Cope with adversity

•         Posttraumatic growth after extreme suffering

•         Resilience mechanisms in recovery from individual and collective trauma

•         Resilience after loss and grief

•         Challenges of reconciliation in multi-ethnic and post-conflict societies

•         Interventions for children and youth to enhance resilience in adverse circumstances

•         Childhood and adolescent resilience

•         Raising resilient children;

•         Resilient, confident kids

•         Culture and resilience

•         Gender issues in coping and resilience

•         Resilience: risk and protective factors



Sarajevo Conversations 2011



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