Teaching Democracy: An Examination Of The Civitas@Bosnia And Herzegovina Program's Impact On Democratic Consolidation

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Foy, Joseph
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Teaching Democracy: An Examination Of The Civitas@Bosnia And Herzegovina Program's Impact On Democratic Consolidation
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On November 20, 1995, at Wright-Patterson Airforce Base in Dayton, Ohio, members of delegations representing Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia concluded the Bosnian Peace Proximity Talks. This resulted in the creation of the Dayton Peace Accords, and the drafting of a new democratic constitution. However, despite the efforts to create a lasting peace within the former Yugoslavia, the resolution offered only a rhetorical solution; substantive action still had to be taken. Members of many non-governmental organizations, and government-sponsored groups, began to take a significant role in preparing Bosnia-Herzegovina for the transition to democracy. One such group was the Center of Civic Education (CCE), an organization based out of Calabasas, California, and sponsored by the U S. Information Agency (USIA). CCE made a move to help the transitional efforts of Bosnia- Herzegovina towards democracy. In order to achieve this goal, CCE developed a program known as “CIVITAS at Bosnia and Herzegovina;” a program which would introduce a civic curriculum into the Bosnian public education system With the introduction of civic education into the Bosnian system, CCE hopes to accomplish the goals of inculcating 1) civic virtue, 2) civic participation, and 3) civic knowledge.32 33 These goals, if met, might help assist a proper transition to a constitutional form of democracy, and would help to consolidate that regime by developing a civic- minded citizenry. However, even with defined goals (and a framework for achieving them) problems remain. The biggest of these obstacles may lie in the imposition of a Western democratic system for the former communist nation. The above problem hangs over CCE and their CIVITAS program. This necessitates an examination of the CCE and their CIVITAS program in order to assess the effectiveness of the program. This examination can be done using a twofold criteria. First, it is important to examine the theoretical justification of CCE’s attempts at democratic consolidation through education by comparing their framework to basic theories regarding the consolidation of democracies. Secondarily, it is essential to evaluate the practicality of the program through testimony of individuals involved in the program. This two-step approach, will help determine whether the CIVITAS program is beneficial in consolidating a democratic regime in transitioning nations.
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Political Science & International Relations