Sustainable Development of the Present Paves the Way Towards a Vision of the Future

On Saturday, 9th of June 2018, another monthly meeting of the scholarship holders of the Hastor Foundation was held at ASA Group’s Main Assembly Hall. The Hall’s capacity was once again challenged by the number of young, successful people who have arrived at the meeting eager to learn something new and strengthen the bonds they share with their fellow scholarship holders. Those present had the opportunity to learn more about a very relevant topic of sustainable development, but also engage in a discussion about the future of Bosnia Herzegovina, sharing their vision of what it should become by 2030. 

A sense of togetherness was, as per usual, palpable during this month’s meeting and the lecture that marked it was delivered by Aida Salkic, corporate communications manager of ASA Prevent. The main topic were Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) discussed in relation to BiH and its business world, but also on a more global level.

An excellent indicator of just how incredibly important sustainable development is today, are UN’s Global Sustainable Development Goals set back in 2015 and hopefully achieved by 2030. These 17 global goals are interdependent and require commitment of each individual, company and country that they will take no action which goes against their fulfillment. Sustainable development depends on the interaction and balance of three dimensions (referred to as social, environment and economy) which means that companies who conduct their businesses in a responsible manner promote not only economic development and strengthening of their communities, but help solve a plethora of other issues. It is for this reason that Aida Salkic started her lecture by playing a video presenting Prevent’s current activities in various industry branches, all of which help facilitate positive change. College student scholarship holders’ first task was to think of companies and organizations in BiH whose conduct reveals commitment to the following goals: protecting environment and using resources responsibly, caring for employees, quality education, transparency, supporting local communities, innovation and infrastructure. Scholarship holders participated eagerly, and many of them named the Hastor Foundation as one of the organizations which promotes quality education and strengthening of local communities.

The main task set before the scholarship holders was to divide themselves into groups and discuss with others how they envision Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2030 and what kind of country it should be. This activity revealed these young minds’ capacities and the conclusions presented by the group leaders were nothing less than impressive. Issues that need to be resolved included the following: free higher education, keeping the educated workforce in BiH, reform of the health system, responsible use of resources etc. What needs to be pointed out, however, is that the visions of all the groups mentioned or focused on a unified, economically stable Bosnia and Herzegovina, or, as one of the groups put it: “a country whose children return to its embrace, rather than wish to escape it”. Teacher Ramo commented on a repeated statement that BiH is a divided country by saying that the space which is occupied by the students, who make up Hastor Foundation, is the space where all the dividing lines of ethnicity and religion disappear. Teacher’s vision of Bosnia and Herzegovina rests on the humaneness and inherent goodness which makes us want to help others; being people above all is the greatest step one can make on a path towards stability and prosperity.

This topic will be addressed at the next meeting as well, and it will result in an even more productive discussion since “Business Community and the Sustainable Development Goals in Bosnia and Herzegovina” conference will be held before it. All scholarship holders are more than welcome to take part in this event, since it will certainly broaden their views even more and have a positive impact on their commitment to global issues, but it should be noted that the scholarship holders already showed that they possess both during today’s meeting.

Mia Babic