Serbia Bosnia and Kosovo: Peace and Conflict Studies in the Balkans
- How to Choose a Program
- View SIT Study Abroad Undergraduate Research / ISP Collection
- View the 2013 Overview Brochure (PDF, 1MB)
- View the 2013 Semester Catalog (PDF, 4MB)
- View the 2013 Summer Catalog (PDF, 1MB)
- View Our Photo Galleries on Flickr
- Academic Resources/Library
- Track Your Application Online
- US State Department "Students Abroad"
- SIT Study Abroad Gear
Faculty and Staff
"The director, program coordinator, language teacher, and homestay coordinator truly care about the welfare and learning progress of the students. I gained much more from my semester with SIT Balkans than I could have expected. This program is truly one of a kind."
Michael M Sweigart, George Washington University
Orli Fridman, PhD, Academic Director
Dr. Orli Fridman received her PhD at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (ICAR) at George Mason University. Dr. Fridman holds a BA in political science and Middle Eastern studies from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and an MA in history of the Middle East from Tel Aviv University. Her interdisciplinary research interests focus on the internal dynamics of societies in conflict, collective cultures of political denial, and critical approaches to reconciliation and encounters of groups in conflict.
Since 1994, Dr. Fridman has been involved in political education. She was trained as a facilitator for groups in conflict and worked with groups from Israel/Palestine, Northern Ireland, Cyprus, and the successor states of the former Yugoslavia. Dr. Fridman is the director of the Center for Comparative Conflict Studies (CFCCS), an educational organization dedicated to the comparative analysis of societies in conflict, working primarily within the context of the conflicts in Palestine/Israel and the former republics of Yugoslavia. Her recent publications include "Alternative Voices in Public Urban Space: Serbia's Women in Black" (Ethnologia Balkanica 10, 2006); "Breaking States of Denial: Anti-Occupation Activism in Israel after 2000" (Genero 10/11, 2007); and "It was like fighting a war against our own people: anti-war activism in Serbia during the 1990s" (Nationalities Papers 39/4, 2011).
Nenad Porobic, Program Coordinator
Nenad Porobic was born in Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina. He later lived in Zadar, Croatia and Sarajevo Bosnia-Herzegovina, two cities he had to flee as a consequence of the wars starting in 1991–92. As a result, he then lived in Belgrade, Serbia until 1995, when he left for the United States to avoid the military draft. He was able to do so by participating in an exchange program with World Learning. He spent a decade in the US, obtaining both a bachelor’s and master's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville (in 2001 and 2003, respectively). While in the US, he worked in a variety of positions, including as resident assistant, teaching assistant, research assistant, electronic design engineer, and maintenance supervisor in different environments (academic, corporate, and industrial). Nenad returned to Belgrade in 2006 and became engaged as a peace activist. He was actively involved in regional peacebuilding efforts while working at the Center for Nonviolent Action, a regional peacebuilding organization (Sarajevo/Belgrade). His interests are social and political activism, demilitarization, dealing with the past, and filmmaking. In his role with the SIT Study Abroad Balkans program, Nenad assists Dr. Fridman in administering the program, accompanies students on excursions, and is a source of knowledge and support during the program’s stay in Belgrade.
Nikica Strižak, Language Instructor
Nikica is currently a Ph.D. student in the department of Serbian language at the University of Belgrade. She holds an M.A. in teaching Serbian as a foreign language, as well as a B.A. in Serbian language and literature, from the University of Belgrade, Faculty of Philology.
Her academic interests include teaching Serbian as a foreign language; the differences between teaching and testing adults and children; and the methodological differences between teaching Serbian to native speakers of Slavic languages and to individuals with no previous knowledge of a Slavic language.
She has been teaching the intensive Serbian/Bosnian/Croatian language course to SIT students in Belgrade since the fall of 2010. Currently she also teaches at the Center for Serbian as a Foreign Language at the University of Belgrade.
Before joining SIT Study Abroad, she provided private language instruction to foreigners living in Belgrade; she also taught at a foreign language school until July 2010.
Jelena Nikolic, Homestay Coordinator
Jelena Nikolic holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and media and a master’s degree in conflict studies, both from Faculty of Media and Communications in Belgrade, Singidunum University. She returned to Belgrade in 2008 after spending nine years in Greece. Jelena has been teaching and translating Greek for the last three years. Her primary interests are conflict studies and dealing with the past.
Yll Buleshkaj, Local Coordinator, Prishtina, Kosovo
Yll Buleshkaj was born in Istog/Istok, Kosovo. He has a master’s degree from the University of Sarajevo and University of Bologna in democratization and human rights in southeastern Europe (joint MA program), and a B.A. in political science and public administration from the University of Prishtina. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree through the MA program in civil society and local development at the University of Prishtina. He has extensive experience and knowledge of the Balkans. Yll’s areas of expertise include political parties, parliamentary capacity building, good governance, and election officials. Until recently, he was working as a program officer at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Kosovo mission. He has managed projects dealing with political parties, women in politics, parliamentary groups, media development, and legislative reform and has worked for a variety of national and international organizations. A native Albanian speaker, he also speaks English and Serbian as well as some Italian and French. Yll currently resides in Prishtina, Kosovo.
Lejla Mamut, Local Coordinator, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Lejla Mamut was born in Skopje, Macedonia, and moved to Sarajevo in 2006. She is now a human rights consultant for the Swiss-based organization, Track Impunity Always - TRIAL. Lejla Mamut’s experience includes extensive research on war casualties and other aspects of the 1992-1995 war and working with victims of war on different aspects of transitional justice. She holds an M.A. in democracy and human rights from the University of Sarajevo and University of Bologna (joint M.A. program). Her M.A. thesis, “Four Layers of Deficiency Concerning the Crime of Genocide: the Case of Bosnia and Herzegovina”, was selected as one of the top five theses in her class and was published in the two universities’ yearly journal.
Mirjana Kosić, Lecturer and Local Coordinator, Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Mirjana Kosić is co-founder and executive director of TransConflict Serbia, an organization established in 2008 in response to the challenges facing intra- and inter-ethnic relations in the Western Balkans. Prior to that, Mirjana worked as executive coordinator at the Belgrade NGO Centre. Her interest and work in the area of conflict transformation stems from her professional engagement with NATO peace implementation and stabilization forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina (IFOR and SFOR, respectively) and other international organizations and institutions, including the EU Office for Customs and Fiscal Assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina (EU CAFAO).
Mirjana completed her M.A. at the Faculty of Political Science, University of Bologna. She explored the dynamics of performatively constructed discourse and the importance of preventive diplomacy in her thesis "The Use of Language in Diplomacy".
Mirjana has been giving lectures to SIT students in Belgrade since 2009 focused on the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Dayton Peace Agreement, and the role of international community in post-war reconstruction and state-building.
Mirjana is fluent in English and Italian. In her free time, Mirjana translates for various outlets (including TED) and publications.Lecturers for this program include:
Mr. Ahmet Alibasic
Ahmet Alibasic, M.A., is a lecturer at the Faculty of Islamic Studies at the University of Sarajevo where he teaches courses on Islamic culture and civilization. He is also the director of the Center for Advanced Studies in Sarajevo. Mr. Alibasic was educated in Riyadh (Arabic language) and Kuala Lumpur (Islamic studies, political science, and Islamic civilization). He is actively involved in inter-religious dialog and served as the first director of the Interreligious Institute in Sarajevo (2007-2008) jointly established by the Islamic Community, the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Catholic Church, and Jewish Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina. From 2003 until 2007 he served as deputy president of the Association of Islamic Scholars in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He has authored and translated articles and books focused on Islam and politics, Islamic movements, Islam in the Balkans, democratization of the Muslim World, opposition legitimization in Islam, church-state relations in Europe and the United States, human rights in Islam and in the Muslim world, and Islamic history and civilization.
Mr. Kurt Bassuener
Kurt Bassuener is a co-founder and senior associate of the Democratization Policy Council, a global initiative for accountability on the promotion of democracy. He also works as an independent policy analyst in Sarajevo. Mr. Bassuener earned his BA in International Relations from American University’s School of International Service and his MA in European Studies from the Central European University in Prague. His master’s thesis advocated a standing all-volunteer UN peacekeeping division under the authority of the Security Council.
Mr. Bassuener served as a strategy analyst for the Office of the High Representative in Sarajevo in 2005-2006. His previous positions include political and campaign analyst for the OSCE-ODIHR’s Election Observation Mission in Ukraine, acting assistant director for government affairs at the International Rescue Committee, program officer for the US Institute of Peace’s Balkans Initiative, and associate director of the Balkan Action Council.
Mr. Bassuener’s numerous opinion pieces and analyses have appeared in the Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, International Herald Tribune, Wall Street Journal Europe, St. Petersburg Times, The Irish Times, Jane’s Defense Weekly, and the European Voice. He co-authored, with Ambassador Jeremy Kinsman, the Diplomats’ Handbook for Democracy Development Support, a project of the Community of Democracies.
Jelisaveta Blagojevic, Ph.D.
Jelisaveta Blagojevic received her Ph.D. in gender studies from the University of Novi Sad, Association of the Centers for Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Studies and Research. Her dissertation was entitled “Theoretical Contribution to Gender Studies: Discourses on Identity, Difference and Otherness” (2006). She received an M.Phil in gender and culture studies from Open University London and a B.A. in philosophy from the Faculty of Philosophy, Belgrade University.
Dr. Blagojevic teaches at the Faculty for Media and Communications, Singidunum University, and has served as the university’s dean of academic affairs since 2006. She also has worked at the Belgrade Women’s Studies and Gender Research Center as a coordinator and lecturer since 2001. Since 2003 she has been a visiting lecturer at the gender and politics program at the Political Science Faculty, Belgrade University. She has taught as a visiting lecturer at universities across Southeast Europe.
Publications include:Media/Power, ed. Faculty for Media and Communication, Belgrade, (forthcoming) “Kultura koja dolazi” (“Culture to Come”) in Kultura, Drugi, Žene (Culture, Others, Women) eds. Svenka Savić, Jasenka Kodrnja and Svetlana Slapšak, Institut za društvena istraživanja, Hrvatsko filozofsko društvo and Plejada, Croatia, 2010 Hieroglyphs of Jealousy, Research Center in Gender Studies, Euro-Balkan Institute Skopje, 2008 Zajednica onih koji nemaju zajednicu (Community Without Community), FMK, Belgrade, 2008 Gender and Identity, ed. Collection: See Theories in Gender Studies, (Skopje, Ljubljana, Belgrade) in 2006.
Her research interests include contemporary (political) philosophy, media studies, queer studies, and gender studies. She was born and currently lives in Belgrade.
Dasa Duhacek, Ph.D.
Dasa Duhacek is a professor in the political science department of Belgrade University. She received her B.A. in philosophy from the University of Belgrade. She holds an M.A. in women's studies and a Ph.D. in political science, both from Rutgers University. Prof. Duhacek is a co-founder of the Belgrade Women's Studies Center and Gender Research Center (1992), where she is now one of the coordinators. Her fields of research are feminist theory, philosophy, and political theory. She has taught at Central European University (CEU) in Budapest (1997-1999); Novi Sad, Serbia; Kotor, Montenegro; the State University of New York; Swarthmore College; the NOISE Athena Network Summer School; Inter University Center (IUC) in Dubrovnik and elsewhere.
Prof. Duhacek has organized several international conferences in Belgrade including: What Can We Do for Ourselves? East European Feminist Conference, 1994; Inaugural Conference: Women's & Gender Studies in the Countries in Transition, 1998; The Legacy of Hannah Arendt: Beyond Totalitarianism and Terror, 2002.
Her recent publications include:Captives of Evil: The Legacy of Hannah Arendt co-edited with Obrad Savic, 2002 "The Making of Political Responsibility: The Case of Serbia" in eds. J. Regulska, J. Lukic and D. Zavirsek "Feminist Perspectives on Democratization in Serbia", 2006 Breme naseg doba: Odgovornost i rasudjivanje u delu Hane Arent (The Burden of our time: Responsibility Judgment in Hannah Arendt’s Work), 2010
Duration: 15 weeks
Program Base: Serbia, Belgrade
Language Study: Serbian/Bosnian/Croatian
View Student Evaluations for this program: