Nikolina – Banja Luka

“Sometimes we are given two options to choose from, and we are told that this choice is democracy, but what we really need is to demand new options.”



We need to simplify the system of governance by dismantling the bureaucratic apparatus and number of personnel which occupy government offices. Not only would this increase transparency and foster renewed trust in the government, but the taxpayers money could be invested in the local community rather than supporting the excessive paychecks of public servants. I believe young people are an integral part of initiating change, but this requires that we raise and educate the country’s youth to see goals that extend beyond their own well-being and recognize the benefit of inclusive, community-wide development. 

Following my graduation from Sheridan College in 2016, I had the opportunity to remain in Canada. Instead, I chose to return home to Banja Luka. I was questioned repeatedly about my rationale for this decision, which was sometimes met with incredulity or even disappointment by those closest to me. I returned because I have a genuine appreciation of my home community and a deep sense of place attachment. I recognize, however, that while my international experience helped to strengthen this connection, it also provided me an added lens through which to critically understand my local context as well as my position in it.


I believe people operate under a veneer of fear as a result of structural oppression and therefore, avoid speaking out against or questioning the system in which they live. As a result, little changes despite the fact that the people of BiH – regardless of identity –  have the same basic need: socio-economic security. Perhaps if we recognized this shared need, we could get past the individual and group differences that the political system relies upon to keep the people of BiH fragmented and maintain the status quo.

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