What happened when we got 100 students in the same room

Mostar is a beautiful city, home of a UNESCO world heritage site and a regional capital. But once you get past the tourist sites and shopping malls, students and young people are often left with few opportunities for development and advancement, outside of the classroom.

Students need more opportunities for success.

Knowing this, we decided to organize something called “EQ seminar” — an all-day event with lectures and workshops that is designed to help give students the tools they need to be more successful in school, work, and relationships. The name, “EQ”, is a play on another well known abbreviation — IQ, the standard measurement of intelligence. EQ, in contrast, stands for “emotional intelligence” — a measure of how well one deals with emotions and relationships.

We brought businessmen from the USA to speak to students about the keys to success.

We had 4 speakers — 3 Americans and 1 Bosnian — come and speak to students about principles that they see as key to success in college, in relationships, and in the workplace.

Topics covered included the importance of work ethic, perseverance, volunteerism, and emotional awareness. Joe Bucha, owner of Stonegate Counseling in Athens, Georgia, had perhaps the key line of the day when he said, “I came to understand these principles late in my life, but I want to teach them to you while you’re still young, so that you can truly have success.“

Jim Purcell talks to students about having success in spite of challenges
Jim Purcell talks to students about having success in spite of challenges

Two Georgia businessmen, Frank Zehna and Jim Purcell, helped round out the event with valuable lessons they had learned from their many years of experience as entrepreneurs.

We talked about how successful people give back — and people who give back are successful.

Dalibor Kojic, a pastor and director of “Mission without Borders”, a Bosnia charity, ended the day with a talk about the importance of volunteering as part of a successful life. He delivered a powerful and engaging message about how personal success can be realized through helping those who are unable to help themselves.

The event ended with raucous applause and laughter, as Mr. Kojic ended on a high note. But the power of the messages heard during the rest of the day was not lost on the students in attendance.

Students loved it.

“This was inspirational and powerful. I think everything went wonderfully,” said one student. Another said, “I would recommend this because we heard concepts that could be life-changing.”

This was a wonderful opportunity to do something good for students in our community, and they responded very positively. Students showed they are hungry to hear personal testimonies of challenges, perseverance, and success.

And by continuing to offer more opportunities to students, we hope to see God’s redemptive work and create a place where students can belong, believe in God, and become the people they were created to be.

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