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Remarks at the Launch of Eco-Challenge Event in Mostar
January 24, 2020

A man speaking to students.

Dobro jutro! Good morning everyone. It is wonderful to be here at our American Corner in Mostar. I want to express my appreciation to the excellent staff here who do a great job of reaching out to this community and providing opportunities to the people of Mostar.

I also want to thank Minister Hadzović for coming and supporting the launch of this event that will get a lot of young people across the Canton and hopefully across the entire country out in their neighborhoods making a difference.

It is wonderful to see a room full of people who are here for a challenge! Today the U.S. Embassy and our partner, Ruke, are challenging you, for the next year, to make a difference in your environment.

Identify an area that needs some improvement. Maybe something needs to be cleaned up, or maybe there is a way you can reduce waste or use energy more efficiently.

Whatever you choose, put your ideas into a project plan. Determine the outcomes you want to achieve and then think about what you will

need to do that, when to start, where to carry out your project, and who will join with you.

And then put your plan into action! Seeing a problem and putting a plan together to try to solve it and motivating other people to help you is what we call leading. And when you take action, not just for yourself, but for the good of everyone, that is great leadership.

The Eco Challenge project “Let’s Make Our Country more Beautiful” is being launched to mark the 25th anniversary of peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the goal of engaging 25,000 volunteers from all over the country who will be actively involved in problem solving in addressing environmental issues, protecting the environment and finding solutions for care of public areas, waste reduction, recycling, waste management through specific volunteer activities in their local communities.

We invite preschools, elementary and secondary schools, businesses, NGOs and individuals and NGOs to select a neglected public area, clean it up, add some improvements, keep it clean and add improvements throughout the year. This is what engaged citizens do every day, they work together for the common good!

Today you are going to hear how to register for the challenge, and how to document your activities. You will also learn about some steps you can take in your everyday life that can help the environment and may also help you get ideas for your own projects. Throughout the year we will have other activities that will continue to inspire you in your own efforts.

The U.S. Embassy wants to challenge young leaders across BiH to take action and get involved. We have programs to support and encourage young people who have good ideas and want to do something innovative.

This year-long Eco-Challenge is the chance for young people in BiH to show that they care and are ready to be the next generation of leaders. It is also a chance for education institutions to support this experiential learning program and let their students get practical skills needed for success in their future. I’m excited to see what you all come up with. I know that if we all work together we can make BiH more beautiful!

Thank you.