NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
February 25, 1998
Release No. 005-98
Contact: Catherine Stearns
Phone: (202) 401-1190
E-Mail: cstearns@usia.gov

EDUCATION MINISTER FROM BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
VISITS UNITED STATES TO BOOST
HIS COUNTRY'S EDUCATION FOR DEMOCRACY

Washington, D.C. -- Dr. Fahrudin Rizvanbegovic, Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport for the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, begins discussions in Washington today with U.S. legislators and education and foreign affairs officials on efforts to strengthen education for democracy in his country. His visit to the United States, which included meetings in Los Angeles and Louisville earlier this week, is sponsored by the U.S. Information Agency's International Visitor Program.

Dr. Rizvanbegovic was instrumental in initiating and has ardently supported CIVITAS@Bosnia and Herzegovina, a program which is helping Bosnian teachers teach principles of democracy, respect for human rights, and ethnic tolerance to the next generation ofŒBosnian leaders. The program, established following the November 1995 signing of the Dayton Peace Accords, is a collaborative effort of the U.S. Information Agency, the Center for Civic Education and the Council of Europe, and is supported by the U.S. Department of Education. CIVITAS@Bosnia and Herzegovina already has reached more than 53,500 students in all 10 cantons of the Federation.

Dr. Rizvanbegovic met today with USIA Deputy Director Penn Kemble, who said, "We're building a network of educators -- Croat, Bosniak, and Serb -- who share a common belief that civic education can help maintain the fragile peace and build the sort of society that can resist extremists' calls to ethnic violence. In the months ahead, USIA will help these educators develop advocacy and organizational skills, building the capacity of CIVITAS@Bosnia and Herzegovina to develop civic education curricula and garner public support for civic education." Mr. Kemble added, "We're giving Bosnian educators the skills to do the job themselves - they know what works best in Bosnia and they have the most at stake in the effort to create a culture of democracy."

Dr. Rizvanbegovic also meets this week with Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Rep. Anne Meagher Northup (R-KY-3), and Rep. Dale E. Kildee (D-MI-9) on education in the United States. Thursday, February 26, he meets with Secretary of Education Richard Riley and Dr. Rizvanbegovic will be honored Thursday evening at a Capitol Hill reception, co-hosted by the Center for Civic Education and USIA. Friday, February 27, he meets with Jack Covey, Special Assistant to the President and Director for Bosnia at the National Security Council.

To arrange an interview with Dr. Rizvanbegovic and/or USIA Deputy Director Kemble, please contact Catherine Stearns at (202) 401-1190.

For further information about CIVITAS, be sure to visit Civnet, a Web site for civic education practitioners, as well as scholars, policy makers, civic-minded journalists, and non-governmental organizations promoting civil society all over the world: civnet.org

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