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The Power of Writing in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Miske Witt & Associates (MWAI) and Save the Children Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) partnered in 2013 to launch a series of four professional development workshops in Zenica-Doboj Canton to increase student learning outcomes in literacy (reading, writing, and technology). In the October 2013 workshop on writing development led by MWAI experts Dr. Jan Westrick and Mrs. Tammy Westrick, Poet and Professor Selma Kopic’ created this poem, which poignantly demonstrates the power of writing to capture and to relay feelings and experiences.







Today we share ideas,

We propose themes or topics,

We learn how to tell stories.

We listen to one another,

And to one effective beginning, we all want to offer our own emotional story.


We mention a child and all of a sudden,

The gentleness reflects on the faces of all.


We mention growing up,

War, combat, weighs you down.

We quickly chase away that thought.

Life has already written the story about that

on our faces and in our souls.


Those who know how to read the signs will know of our stories without asking any questions.


About what?  About whom?  How to move on?

About mother, of course.

The images resurface, the events reoccur.

Advice, the looks, gentle hugs.

And teardrops appear in our eyes.

And again we don’t have to say much,

Although one could tell a million stories.


Today we share ideas and propose topic or themes.

We learn how to tell stories and each story is touching.

Each such story concerns us.

And all of a sudden, we become up close and personal.

We have learned something big, something important.

And if we could only sit down and give it a try,

We could write many novels.


Written by Selma Kopic’

Professor of Bosnian, Croatia and Serbia Language & Literature

In Primary School, Sjenjak, Tuzla, Tuzla Canton





In this October workshop, participants learned about the stages of writing, created their own stories or poems, and learned how to do this with students in the classrooms of Zenica-Doboj Canton and beyond. In earlier workshops, participants learned new strategies for teaching reading and for using technology in the 21st century.

This important work of pedagogical change was grounded in a 2012-2013 partnership between Miske Witt & Associates, UNICEF Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) for Literacy were developed for children from early childhood through secondary school.