This anthropological study of post-conflict state-making efforts in post-socialist Bosnia-Herzegovina examines a central paradox at the heart of internationally administrated reconciliation and democratization efforts. On the one hand, the European Union's, United Nation's, and NATO's policies and practices, couched in a globally circulating rhetoric of reconciliation, imagine a unified post-conflict national community. On the other hand, the Dayton Peace Agreement inscribed in law a nation firmly divided on the basis of enduring ethnic boundaries. The paradoxical process of nation formation is further complicated by how the sovereignty of this emergent nation-state is decentered specifically by the same international forces that are directing its creation. Youth, configured as the imagined future of a new Bosnia-Herzegovina, have become a primary focus of these conflicting nation-building efforts. This study considers both how youth, as a social category, is formed by this paradox, and how young people negotiate this paradox in their everyday lives. In addition to providing a detailed ethnographic account of youth cultural formations and democratization in Bosnia-Herzegovina, this study will offer comparative insights into the special role of young people as agents in cultural transformations globally.