DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The City of Dayton received some major recognition from Former President Bill Clinton (D).
Thursday, the 42nd president applauded the Gem City for its role in ending the Bosnian War through the Dayton Peace Accords in 1995.
20 years ago, those peace talks were held at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
President Clinton says when he sent U.S. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke to Dayton for the peace talks he knew the Bosnian War would end.
He said history proved the Gem City often got right, pointing to the success of the Wright brothers.
And Thursday, he said the world could take some lessons from what happened in Dayton 2 decades ago.
“We should celebrate what happened 20 years ago,” Clinton said in his keynote address for the conference. “We should give our gratitude to everyone in their last 20 years who could have derailed it and who didn’t and we should say we’re going to finish the job.”
Clinton is calling on the world to revisit Dayton. He has dared people to find the same diplomacy that brought peace to Bosnia in 1995.
He told the group of dignitaries that city officials around the world from Paris to Dayton can use the tools implemented during the Dayton Peace Accords.
“That’s the real challenge of the 21st century, the open hand and the clenched fist; cooperation or conflict,” he explained.
Bosnian students studying abroad at the University of Dayton, where the conference was held, watched closely as the former president spoke.
They are seeing their history textbooks come to life.
“Before we came here, Dayton was such an abstract noun. It wasn’t a city; it was just Dayton Peace Accords because Dayton Peace Accords are mentioned everyday in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” student, Janet Dzenetabegic remarked. “Being here in this city, studying and experiencing this– everything, it just makes me want to do more, makes me want to do change for the better or something.”
President Clinton says that’s the goal in Bosnia and everywhere to do better, to make change.