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Student to Intern at Center for Peacebuilding in Bosnia

Katherine Marren
Katherine Marren

Katherine Marren will be leaving later this summer for a year-long internship at the Center for Peacebuilding, a non-governmental organization based in Bosnia that was founded in 2004 to address the ethnic divisions present in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Recently receiving her degree in Holocaust and Genocide studies from Keene State, the Rochester, NY, native has traveled extensively during her college career, going to South Africa, where she learned about apartheid, and later visiting Krakow, Poland, “a life-changing experience,” where she and four other Keene State students were able to go to places they had spent so much time reading and learning about in class. Marren said the internship is an extension of that learning. “There’s always more to learn and experience,” she said.

The internship, which was arranged by Dr. Jim Waller, a professor of Holocaust and Genocide studies at Keene State who has strong ties to the Center for Peacebuilding, will give Marren valuable experience working as a grant writer, a job she became familiar with while developing international service learning grants for the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State. Marren learned more about her responsibilities during a Skype interview with Vahidin Omanovic, a Bosnian survivor and co-founder of the Center, who has come to Keene State to speak at the College’s Summer Institute on Holocaust and Genocide Studies. “In the HGS major, we work with our students to help them find those places where their great gladness meets the world’s great needs. And Kat’s great gladness, partnering with people to make a world of difference, will meet a great need in Bosnia-Herzgovina, a region still suffering from the generational impacts of war and genocide,” said Waller. “Her year in Sanski Most will be pivotal, both for her as well as the thousands of people in the region impacted by the good work of the Center for Peacebuilding.”

Deciding to study at Keene State because of its unique Holocaust and Genocide studies program, Marren, who is also majoring in history, says it’s been an enlightening experience. “I was always interested in the Holocaust as a reading topic but never understood why this was allowed to happen,” she said. “It’s not just about history. You learn why it happened, how it happened as well as discuss preventative measures like legislation and the justice system. It’s also interdisciplinary – there are sociology and psychology elements as well.”

Marren, who was President of the Holocaust and Genocide Club on campus, says she would like to work with a non-governmental or human rights organization when she returns from her internship. “I want to fund people’s dreams,” she said.

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