NATO HQ Sarajevo honors heroes from across Bosnia and Herzegovina

SARAJEVO, January 26 (FENA) – NATO Headquarters Sarajevo held an inaugural awards ceremony last night to honour heroes from across BiH who have contributed to peace and security in BiH and the region.

Among those receiving awards, at a gala event attended by political and military leaders, as well as ambassadors from across the NATO Alliance, were the first responders from multiple BiH agencies who raced into danger to help the citizens of Turkiye and Slovenia when they were struck by natural disasters in 2023. Representatives from all the organizations involved, including the Armed Forces, the BiH, the Ministry of Security, and Civil Protection agencies from both entities and Brcko District were the first to receive the ‘NATO Star Awards’.

Commander of NATO Headquarters Sarajevo, Brigadier General Pamela L McGaha paid tribute to all the recipients of the ‘NATO Star Awards’, for their often heroic efforts.

”It is my pleasure tonight to be able to pay tribute to our historic Alliance, in its 75th Anniversary year, and to our enduring partnership with Bosnia and Herzegovina. Tonight is our opportunity to recognize all your collective efforts to help keep BiH and its citizens safe and secure,” said McGaha.

Joining the NHQSa Commander in presenting the awards, His Excellency Ambassador Olav Reinertsen of Norway, which holds the position of NATO Contact Point Embassy in BiH, described the ceremony as “a remarkable NATO event celebrating cooperation and commitment.”

In addition to the emergency teams, those being recognized included the BiH Parliamentary Military Commissioner Boško Šiljegović and Secretary to the BiH delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Željko Grubešić for their roles in supporting democratic oversight of BiH defense and security institutions.

Col Edin Fako, who for the last three years has represented BiH, as a permanent Military Representative to NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Mr Emir Šabić who, as a project officer for the British Embassy in Sarajevo, has helped support BiH in becoming a regional leader when it comes to ensuring women can play equal roles in guaranteeing security, Ms Mirnesa Softic, who as Head of BiH’s 112 Center has overseen multiple crises, saving lives and property, and the Team at the Youth Center Tuzla, who work tirelessly to ensure young people’s voices are heard in decisions about security and BiH’s future.

Speaking after the event, Slobodan Blagovčanin, one of the leaders of Youth Center Tuzla said that this recognition is a great encouragement and it came unexpectedly, which is why it makes us probably even more proud.

”In a country where young people are often forgotten and neglected, it is great to know that there are organizations and people who recognize our commitment and consider us equal partners in the process of building peace and a safe and secure society,” said Blagovčanin.

The event was the opportunity to celebrate continued strong partnership between NATO and Bosnia and Herzegovina and to thank all of the Alliance’s partners in BiH for their contributions and commitment to supporting both NATO Headquarters Sarajevo, and a more stable future for everyone in Bosnia and Herzegovina, NATO HQ in Sarajevo announced.