Young, brilliant and committed for reconciliation – Meet Bojan Francuz, Charta XXI intern in Brussels

Bojan Francuz is from Backi Monostor, Serbia and is currently studying at St. Norbert College in Wisconsin, USA. He was motivated to become part of the Charta XXI Movement in order to “actively promote dialogue and peace among the young people in the region,” and also “learn about the ways in which the European community can help facilitate this process.” Francuz considers Charta XXI Movement to be of the utmost importance in creating a community of young and likeminded individuals who are committed to reconciliation and share the same aspirations for the future of the region.

Q: Please describe what you learned about Dr. Surjan’s work, Charta XXI initiative, and European Parliament during your stay in Brussels?

During my stay I was impressed by the level of commitment to reconciliation initiatives by Dr. Surjan, members of his cabinet and many other EU officials. All of them are aware of the troubled history of the region and are highly motivated to strengthen once broken links among communities in Central and Southeast Europe. In addition, as a citizen of a non-EU member state, I admire the willingness of the Charta XXI Movement to afford me this rare opportunity. I enjoyed working in a positive and multicultural environment of the European Parliament, as well as getting to know many members of the Hungarian delegation.

Q: The Charta XXI declaration states that the Movement of Reconciliation is “form of behavior and attitude of life.” How has your attitude or behavior changed as a result of the internship experience in the European Parliament?

As a result of the internship experience my knowledge of the EU decision-making mechanisms has expended tremendously. By attending various committee meetings, workshops and lectures I was able to see how the European policy is crafted and learned more about the issues and potential solutions that plague countries within the EU. Furthermore, due to this experience I am even more committed to work on improving relations among various ethnic groups in my local community, and letting others know about the diversity of cultures, customs and languages in this part of Europe we call Mitteleuropa.

Q: Please share with us your message to the young people across the Central and Southeast Europe who are skeptical of reconciliation initiatives.

Young people across Central and Southeast Europe cannot afford to be skeptical of reconciliation initiatives in order to guarantee peace and stability in the region. By respecting the dignity of our neighbors and community members, regardless of their ethnic and national origin, language and religion, we are reaffirming our own humanity and creating an atmosphere of tolerance. Let us never forger that we are all part of the same team — team which wants a better life for our families, friends and posterity. We must take pride in our culture, history and national identity, but also recognize that identities are fluid and ever-changing.

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