Fontbonne's Bosnia Memory Project Honors Sarajevo Journalist, Curator Wife with First Civic Courage Award

The Bosnia Memory Project at Fontbonne University will present the Civic Courage Award to Kemal and Vesna Kurspahić on June 13, 2015.

The Bosnia Memory Project at Fontbonne University will honor Sarajevo newsman Kemal Kurspahić and his wife, Vesna, a photo curator, with the inaugural Civic Courage Award, an honor designed to recognize the values of inclusion, tolerance and mutuality at the foundation of civil societies.

The Civic Courage Award dinner will take place at 7 p.m., June 13, at Grbić Banquet Center, 4071 Keokuk St., St. Louis, MO 63116.  

As wartime editor-in-chief of the Bosnian newspaper Oslobodjenje, Kurspahić led a multi-ethnic staff in publishing the paper every day throughout the 3½-year siege of Sarajevo. Currently a resident of the Washington, D.C., area, he has written four books including As Long As Sarajevo Exists and Prime Time Crime.

Vesna Kurspahić is the curator of a new photo exhibit on the life and culture of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Called “Documenting Hometown and Family History in Stari Majdan, Bosnia,” it will be on view at Grbić and then at other locations in St. Louis as part of the Missouri History Museum’s “Bosnia 101” series.                                                                

The St. Louis area has the largest community of Bosnians in North America. More than 40,000 Bosnians settled in St. Louis following the 1990s war and genocide. They have created a vibrant community in this Midwestern city.

Fontbonne’s Bosnia Memory Project preserves the stories and artifacts of the Bosnian war and genocide and hosts events to raise awareness about Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Bosnian diaspora. The project actively gathers oral histories from the local Bosnian community as part of a living archive for scholars and researchers. It began as an academic course in 2006 and is dedicated to establishing an enduring record of Bosnian genocide survivors living in St. Louis and elsewhere.  

Fontbonne University is a Catholic coeducational institution of higher education offering liberal arts and professional programs, as well as evening and online programs for busy adults. Fontbonne was founded in 1923 and is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.