By the time the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina ended in 1995, more than 100,000 people had lost their lives, and moral and material destruction was widespread. In the wake of this tragedy, the Journalists and Writers Foundation (JWF) organized a project that would make a long-term contribution to peace.
The war was a struggle among the country’s three main communities – Bosniac, Serb, and Croat – for territorial control, following the break-up of the Yugoslav federation. In four years, the war claimed thousands of lives and, at its worst point, uprooted half the population of 4 million.
Statistics from the International Committee of the Red Cross
JWF’s project unfolded in the Ali Sami Yen Stadium in Istanbul, where soccer players from Turkey’s national team and other international teams took part in a match to support Bosnian children. Tens of thousands of people attended the match, including renowned Argentinian soccer star Diego Maradona, and millions more watched the game on TV.
With the revenue obtained through the match, two colleges equipped with all of the requirements of contemporary education were given as a gift to the children of Sarajevo.
Those who watched the match from the gallery included scholar Fethullah Gulen, Prime Minister Tansu Ciller, Minister Hasan Ekinci, Minister Hikmet Cetin, Minister of Health Yildirim Aktuna, and Halida Repovac Izetbegovic, the wife of Alija Izetbegovic, leader of Bosnia-Herzegovina.