Public Seminar in SSEHV held in Sarajevo, May 2015

The seminar with the title Starry Sky Above Me and Moral Law Within Me gathered about 35 students who have been our regular participants. The two key topics were Following the Paths and Traces of Different Generations and On Man and Morality.

 The practical part, in which our students had a task to deal with the ideas launched during the presentations and to integrate them into their personalities, was this time in connection with visual arts: students had a task to make a sculpture that would  reflect their feelings, questions, dilemmas and messages that belong to their “millennia generation”.  

First topic:

The first topic Following the Paths and Traces of Different Generations  aimed to clarify what have happened with generations born in 20th century, up to the generation of our students, so-called “millennia generation”. We compared the features of each generation, their attitudes, moral values and ideals with the main events and technological discoveries of their time, which shaped their lives and thinking. We enquired the ways we came upon information that influenced the life of our families in the past.  Besides new understanding of each previous generation, it was particularly important for them to gain better understanding of their own generation that is now growing up, maturing and becoming socially active. In this way we wanted to strengthen them, to make them aware of their potentials and importance of the place they are slowly occupying.  We also wanted them to connect with the previous generations, so that they can understand and take over the values they need for their future stable steps.  

Second topic:

The second topic  On  man and  morality  was aimed to initiate reflections on moral  development: we asked  ourselves if morality is something  innate or learnt, if  moral values exist  independently, outside men, as something absolute we strive to,  or if moral values are a matter of agreement among men in certain historical period. We also made a special reference to contemporary post modernistic views that question a great number of attitudes we have considered as absolute truths, like some scientific facts on atomic structure of our world, concepts on God or ideas on linear and predetermined positive development of human race.

Our aim was not to give them any defined and closed answers, but to inspire them to think with their own heads and make them brave to look after their own satisfying answers. We also introduced the basic tenets of Kohlberg`s theory of moral development and the basic concepts of SSEHV on human character development as attaining unison of head, heart and hands (thinking, feelings and doing).  We eventually dealt with the concept of “moral dilemma“, which occurs in situations when we have to differentiate among  the basis values we adopted as the part of our value system and decide which one is more important.  We looked for the examples from our own everyday life and exchanged our experiences, discovering in this way how our moral values were formed.  

We were very satisfied with the improvements our participants made, since they took part in vivid discussions during the both presentation. Besides their willingness to tell sincerely their opinions, they also asked a lot of questions, which created nice exchange of opinions between their generation and our older “baby boom“ generation, wishing to transfer some of our life experiences. The creative part of our seminar was surprisingly well accepted and successfully realized. The students had a task to make a sculpture out of cardboard boxes on which they could paste their questions, warnings, thoughts and messages they have for other generations (for their grandmothers, grandfathers, fathers, well-known personalities, politicians,  and artists from certain periods... ). 

They could write down their feelings, memories and needs and use unstructured material to make whatever they wanted, by connecting pictures and words. They referred particularly to questions which life puts in front of their generation – what they really want, what are their aims, whom they will ask for help... They could transform everything important into some shape, colour, visual impression... This activity initiated a lot of energy and all students participated with great zeal.  Finally, out of several interesting boxes we made one beautiful sculpture. 

A great contribution was given by Gordana Boban, a well-known actress, who read a text from Hesse`s novel Demian on growing up and Marta and Jadranko Panjeta, who brought this time plastic glasses and used them as small drums. They challenged students to learn how to use new instruments and raised atmosphere with new songs and rhythms.   

The main impression in students` feedback is that they gained better understanding of their parents and generations before them, as well as their own generation:

  • Every moment spent with you was worth. The generation differences helped me understand better the behaviour of my parents and the differences between me and them. Thank you for your patience with us...
  • This seminar was very interesting due to the topics we dealt with. You initiated us to think about our values, who we really are and what possibilities we can realize for ourselves and for our surroundings. Thank you once again for the great experience and enjoyable time.  
  • After each seminar I learn some lesson that makes me stronger in some way. Step by step, I have been more relaxed at every seminar and have started to enjoy in socializing with others. Thank you.  
  • I liked the topic of this seminar very much. I liked speaking on generations X, Y and Z, because we were able to understand better the way of thinking of previous generations. I liked the topic of morality and ethics, since I think this is an inexhaustible subject, which brings always something new and makes us change  our decisions and criticism towards other people and their decisions. We want to stress that this group of students have dysfunctional families or have no parents at all or have family members who are in some way disabled, due to recent war or illnesses. 

We want to stress that this group of students have dysfunctional families or have no parents at all or have family members who are in some way disabled, due to recent war or illnesses. 

Hamza`s smile was present all the time…This seminar was dedicated to the remembrance of our beloved brother Hamza Jahic, who was the heart of our efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

Azra Jahić and Verica Sekulić Opačić

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