Selma Hadzihalilovic, Bosnia human rights activist, has been named the 2016 recipient of the Clyde Snow Social Justice Award, presented by the Women’s and Gender Studies Program and the Center for Social Justice at the University of Oklahoma. The award honors the work of forensic anthropologist Clyde Snow, and is given biannually to a human rights activist or group with an outstanding record of working to support survivors of human rights abuses and advocate on behalf of communities in the pursuit of justice.
At the outbreak of war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, when she was just 16 years old, Hadzihalilovic helped create a shelter for women who were subjected to rape as part of the now-infamous program of ethnic cleansing and psychological warfare that was widely deployed during the war. For over two decades, Selma has worked together with other women activists and organizations from Bosnia and Herzegovina (including the BiH Women’s Network) to help women victims of war-related sexual violence, women returnees, conscientious objectors, and the promotion and protection of women’s human rights. Significantly, she works with victims of all ethnic and religious backgrounds, continuing the work of healing the physical and emotional wounds. At great personal cost, she prioritizes work in small towns and rural areas that are often forgotten in the aftermath of war.
Hadzihalilovic will visit the OU Norman campus for a week, beginning March 21. She will present a public talk, “Women Building Peace in Post-Conflict Societies,” at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 24, in the Associates Room of Oklahoma Memorial Union, 900 Asp Ave. On Tuesday, March 22, she will be available for discussion following the 7 p.m. screening of the film “Grbavica: Land of My Dreams”in 148 Hester Hall, 729 Elm Avenue, The 2006 film by Bosnian film director Jasmila Zbanic is about a single mother in contemporary Sarajevo in the aftermath of systematic rapes of Bosnian women by Chetnik troops during the war.Through the eyes of the main character Esma, her teenage daughter Sara, and others, the film shows how everyday life is still being shaped by the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s.The film was an international co-production, won the Golden Bear at the 56th Berlin International Film Festival, and was Bosnia and Herzegovina’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film for the 79th Academy Awards in 2007.
The events are open to the public, with no cost for entry. For more information or accommodations on the basis of disability, email Center.for.Social.Justice@ou.edu or call (405) 325-5787. To help support the Fund for Clyde Snow, visit csj.ou.edu/clyde-snow-social-justice-award/.
Established in 2009, the Center for Social Justice is an initiative of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, based in the College of Arts and Sciences at OU. The Center works to promote gender justice, equality, tolerance and human rights through local and global engagement.