Program Highlights

Program Dates

May 25 – June 22, 2024

Faculty Director

Dr. Jonathan Weiler, Curriculum in Global Studies

Program Highlights

The Burch Seminar to the Hague and Bosnia is a four-week program that explores the achitecture of the global human rights system with a special focus on the ideas, structures, and institutions that have emerged since World War II to try to bring accountability to those reponsible for major crimes, including war crimes and genocide. The program will begin with two weeks in the Hague, a major global human rights center that houses the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice, and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (now called the Residual Mechanism). We will visit each of these institutions to meet with practioners who are trying to realize the lofty ideals that the postwar framers of this system attempted to establish. At the same time, we will consider some of the longstanding criticisms of these institutions including the problem of selective enforcement, immunity of great powers like the United States and China from accountability, and Western biases of the prevailing human rights framework. We will also travel to Amsterdam to visit the Anne Frank House and spend a day in Brussels meeting with human rights officials at the European Union.

After taking stock of the “big picture” questions, we will travel to Bosnia-Herzegovina to study and learn in more depth about the war in Bosnia in the mid-1990s, the terrible crimes that were perpetrated there including the 1995 massacres at Srebrenica as well as a site visit to Mostar, and how Bosnia has tried to heal the wounds of that violence in the decades since. To that end, we will meet the NGOs committted to peacebuidling and inter-communal reconciliation, we will study how the education system has tried to convey Bosnia’s troubled history to its young people while still fostering hope for the future, and we will meet the international organziations still on the ground there.

Throughout the trip, we will combine experiential learning with time in in the classroom in order to integrate our leaning about the human rights ideal and some of its actual practices.