The American Refugee Committee (ARC) was among the first foreign NGOs to respond to the refugee crisis in former Yugoslavia. As soon as Bosnian and Croatian refugees started arriving on the Dalmatian coast, ARC dispatched public and mental health specialists to ease their situation and alleviate their pain.
Rather than merely distributing food and clothing, ARC provided psychological and legal counseling, strengthened refugee communities, and, once a return became possible, assisted refugees in returning to their places of origin. When the Kosovo Crisis of 1998-1999 caused large movements of refugees across the region, ARC was, once again, among the first to act.
Fonds HU OSA 363 documents ARC’s work in former Yugoslavia (except Slovenia), and Albania, between 1992 and 2007. It consists of textual, visual, and audio-visual materials. Textual documents are, for the most part, grant and project files showcasing ARC’s dedicated reconciliation and reconstruction work, which was, at times, truly innovative. Numerous maps indicating ARC operations and refugee movements in the region add to our understanding of the complexity of the situation ARC intervened in. Photographs, slides, and videos show the destructions of war, but also local and expatriate ARC staff as they deliver their humanitarian service to the refugees of the region.
This archival fonds is a very welcome addition to Blinken OSA’s Balkan collections and will be accessible to researchers as soon as Blinken OSA’s Research Room is open again.
Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives