A hectic year filled with studying, tests, work, early mornings and tight schedules turned into a closing chapter for our future leaders. As the summer days approached, FEBA launched another fun filled excursion for our members, friends and family in order to treat them to a maximum experience during this season when so many like to travel. The annual trip included visits to Turkey and Bosnia-Herzegovina. It brought together people of different cultures and backgrounds. Pleased to see that the amount of people interested more than doubled since the previous year, FEBA aimed to make the trips as fun, exciting, educational and of course as unforgettable as possible. They worked to incorporate learning and experience of the former years to make only a better one this year.
Balkan Countries Trips
On July 8th, 2010, many embarked on a delightful journey to visit the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Once again, FEBA organized a summer excursion to the country in order to promote cultural awareness, and educate individuals about the history, customs, and traditions of Bosnia. From spontaneous rafting down the invigorating River Neretva to visiting some of the oldest infrastructures still standing in Bosnia, the summer excursion was an excellent opportunity to get to know one of the most exotic destinations of South-East Europe. The group visited over eight different cities, each unique for its historical background and natural environment. The cities of Sarajevo, Mostar, Konjic, Visoko, Bihac, Srebrenica, Travnik, and Zenica were visited.
Not only did we visit and learn about each city, we also had an opportunity to meet new people and interact with other cultures. Bosnians, Turks, Serbians and Montenegrians - all attended this ten day adventure of excitement, fun, and enlightenment.
For the duration of the venture, the partakers resided in Turkish schools and summer homes in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia. There, we visited numerous landmarks, such as the Begova mosque, the grave of Alija Izetbegovic, and the underground tunnel used by Bosnian Army troops during the war. We also enjoyed the vastness of the land from scenic overlooks, the cultural cuisines offered by the country, and a concert put together by Choir Sultan Fatih. The group sang “nasheeds” and put on a performance in commemoration of the Srebrenica massacre.
Following Sarajevo, we visited Visoko, the home to the five pyramids recently discovered, dating back 10,000 years. The White Mosque, a mosque which received much international recognition for its unique and astonishing architecture, was also visited.
The next destination planned was Srebrenica. On July 11th 2010, we attended the Commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide. Thousands of people gathered as the burial of 775 bodies discovered in the past year took place.
Zenica, Mostar, Konjic, Travnik, Jajce and Bihac were places of fascination. Among castles and picnics, rafting, bridges and waterfalls, the trip included something enjoyable for all. Well known Dr. Hafiz Halil Mehkic gave a speech about the importance of sustaining Bosnian identity abroad. In Mostar, we visited the renovated “Stari Most”. The city is famous for its various architectural styles. Travnik, known as the city of Vezirs with a historical castel, Jajce and Bihac known for their natural beauties were also visited. In Konjic, a nearby city, we had the pleasure of going rafting. A five hours long experience down the Neretva River, one of the cleanest and most refreshing rivers in Bosnia, was one of the highlights of the trip. The trip ended with a coach ride and stroll through Vrelo Bosne, a spring and park at the source of the river Bosna.
In its entirety, the trip was a remarkable and unforgettable experience savored by all who attended. The trip offered more than simply a fun adventure. It offered individuals the opportunity to discover Bosnia on an intimate and personal level in a group setting. This method reflects Bosnian culture well since it is community conscious, but at the same time respectful of individuality. Visitors will undoubtedly develop a connection to the people, country, customs, and history through this experience.
The trip to Turkey included a visit to key historical cities like Istanbul, Bursa and Izmir. On the first day of the trip, our youth groups and families were treated to a dinner and cruise on the blue waters along the beautiful city of Istanbul. Three groups were set up, two of young men and women and a third family group. Each got to experience the historical beauties of the all three cities as well as its modern marvels and cultural backgrounds. Since all the groups consisted of people from different nations, it was interesting and educational to have them share their cultures, backgrounds and beliefs and tie them into the visits and tours that were made in Turkey.
Main focus was put on family time and bonding with friends and close ones. Many friendships were made on the trip. Some found themselves in the company of long lost friends, others built close relations. People say the world is a small place and FEBA has shown our members and friends that much of it should be traveled and provided a way to do so. It increased family ties and provided a vacation that was fun for both kids and parents.
Families were able to share the beauties of Turkey together and learn about its interesting history as well as the impact it had on the rest of the world. Youth groups were able to learn much about their culture and background. They were able to experience popular historical sites such as the St. Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Bosporus as well as small villages that had Bosnian routes. FEBA strives to make our young leaders aware of their own routes, what their history is and how to live in a country such as America and yet to be knowledgeable and proud of where they are from. We are dedicated in this mission because indeed there is much to know and be proud of.
U.S. Cities Trips
NYC and DC Tours - 2010 FEBA’s Balkan Leaders Summit and U.S. Business Forum was accompanied by a tour to New York City and Washington D.C. This tour was an excellent opportunity for people from the Balkans that participated in these events to meet Balkan Americans and with their assistance to discover and learn about the United States while visiting two of its most important cities. The tour was organized around a relaxed, yet structured environment. First on the agenda was a picnic gathering in New York that offered a view of one of America’s most iconic structures, the Statue of Liberty. The trip included visits to Congress and White House in Washington DC. Attendees learned about the American history, culture and developed an appreciation for the country’s social, political, and historic identity.