TEMPUS in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Palestine: The case of two European Commission projects in tourism and ’cultural heritage’

  • Tom Selwyn University of London
Keywords: civil society, cultural heritage, European Commission, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Palestine


This paper looks at aspects of two institution building and development projects funded by the European Commission (EC) in Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) and Palestine in the fields of pilgrimage, tourism, and the cultural industries. Both projects involved co-operation between universities and civil society organisations within the two partner countries together with academic and other institutions in member states (Italy and the UK in the case of BiH, Finland and the UK in the Palestinian case). They took place during the period between 2003 and 2008, both lasting for about three years. The aim of the projects was to educate and train a cadre of young specialists (25 in the BiH case, 10 in the Palestinian case) in the fields of tourism and the cultural industries, starting with the construction and delivery of a Masters degree in both cases, in order to contribute to the development of tourism and the cultural industries in their respective countries and regions. Both projects were founded on the hope and belief of the authorities both in the two countries and in the EC that these fields would provide a stimulus to post-conflict economic growth. Both projects were part of the EC’s TEMPUS Programme. This is a Programme that supports and encourages the development of universities in countries on the borders of the European Union (EU) by encouraging them to link closely to other civil society organisations and institutions in the public and private sectors and then to use the enhanced power and effectiveness of such ‘de-centralised co-operation’, as the language of the EC has it, to make an decisive and beneficial impact on the field. If the key feature of the TEMPUS Programme in general is the embedding of the activities of higher education institutions within civil society institutions, the central feature of the two projects to be described here was, as has been said, that both of them concerned aspects of ‘culture’, ‘cultural heritage’, and the economic and development possibilities that both provide through tourism and allied activities. Thus the paper has three parts. The first briefly discusses the notions of civil society, culture and cultural heritage. The second explores some of the work of the projects as this was manifest in a selection of the Master degree dissertations produced by project participants. The third part looks back at the projects and assesses their relation to the present state of BiH and Palestine.