Our Team

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Velma Šarić, Founder & President

Velma is a researcher, journalist, peacebuilding expert and human rights defender from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition to her position as Founder and President of the Post-Conflict Research Center, she is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Balkan Diskurs, and Project Manager of the War Art Reporting and Memory (WARM) Foundation, Sarajevo Branch. As a researcher and producer she has worked on numerous publications and films about the 1992-1995 Bosnian war, including Uspomene 677, In the Land of Blood and Honey by Angelina Jolie, and I Came to Testify and War Redefined from the PBS series Women, War & Peace.

Velma has held fellowships at both Columbia University in New York and the Robert Bosch Foundation. As part of her fellowship with the Robert Bosch Foundation, she attended the Alliance for Historical Dialogue and Accountability Fellowship Program.

In 2014 Ms. Šarić and the Post-Conflict Research Center were awarded the Intercultural Innovation Award by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group.

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Leslie Woodward, Co-founder & Vice President

Leslie holds a BSc in Biology from Baylor University and an MA in International Studies from the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel of School of International Studies. In addition to her position as Co-founder and Vice President of the Post-Conflict Research Center, she is also the Co-founder and Associate Editor of Balkan Diskurs.

Leslie has obtained advanced certification in designing peacebuilding programs from the Peace Action Training and Research Institute of Romania (PATRIR) and has extensive experience in the fields of program development and management, evaluation methodologies, and strategic peacebuilding approaches. She has worked in Kenya, Bangladesh, and the Balkans on various peacebuilding and development projects and led the development and design of PCRC’s award-winning Ordinary Heroes Peacebuilding Program, which was personally recognized by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon after receiving 1st place for the 2014-2015 Intercultural Innovation Award given by the UN Alliance of Civilizations and the BMW Group.

Samantha Soletić-Owens, Programming & External Relations Manager

Samantha holds a BA in International Studies and Religious Studies from Northwestern University and an MA in Human Rights from University College London, where her studies focused on the economic, social and cultural rights of ethnic and religious minorities. Before coming to Sarajevo, Samantha held positions in development, communications, and community engagement for NGOs in London and Chicago. Her primary professional interests lie in using effective storytelling to build interpersonal and intergroup empathy to elicit social change.  

 

 

 

 

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Tatjana Milovanović, Manager of Field Operations

Tatjana has 10 years of experience in the fields of intercultural dialogue, reconciliation and youth activism and holds a Law degree from the University of East Sarajevo. Her active engagement in the civil society sector was focused around youth health and reproductive rights and she was the youngest Trainer of Peer Education in BiH. In addition to her position with PCRC, Tatjana is also an Associate Editor for Balkan Diskurs – a regional multimedia platform aimed at promoting inclusion and intercultural dialogue by sharing diverse content and giving youth the skills necessary to become future media makers. Tatjana was also a member of the first Youth Advisory Group of the OSCE Mission to BiH and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) which gave her the opportunity to actively participate in the design of both OSCE and UNFPA’s work in the country. Tatjana was a finalist in Transitions Online's  ‘Tales of Transition Writing Contest’ in November 2014. 

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Safet Šarić, General Manager

After finishing high school in Kladanj, Safet moved to Sarajevo to pursue a degree in Law at the University of Sarajevo. During his studies he worked for a local NGO as a journalist and researcher, focusing on BiH’s Euro-Atlantic integration and ongoing peace restoration. Subsequently, he worked as a local fixer and translator for numerous researchers, journalists, and newspapers, including The Boston Daily, Financial Times, Allgemeine Zeitung. Since the establishment of PCRC in 2011, Safet has been the organization's general manager. Safet's primary professional interest is empowering the youth of BiH to become agents of positive change.

 

 

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Niđara Pašanović, Translator

Niđara Pašanović holds a BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Sarajevo, Faculty of Philosophy and English Department and holds an MA in English Literature. Pašanović works as a substitute English teacher in the primary school Grbavica I and holds a full-time lecturing position at the Turkish University in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Pašanović began her work with PCRC as the primary translator and interpreter and has worked on numerous conferences, films, and workshops. Her hard work and determination was quickly recognized and she now speaks on behalf of PCRC at events throughout the country.

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Milan Ćeklić, Translator

Milan was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He graduated from High school of Transport and Traffic in 2007. English language has become an integral part of his life at the early age, and he now holds a BA in English Language and Literature from the University of East Sarajevo, Faculty of Philosophy and English Department. Milan worked as a substitute English teacher in the high-school center East Ilidza.

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Lidia Kurasińska, Editor (pro-bono)

Lidia is a graduate of the University of Westminster, London. She is a freelance journalist and editor and has written about issues ranging from corruption to security and surveillance for a number of mainly UK-based publications.

consultants

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Sabina Čehajić-Clancy, Evaluation Consultant

Sabina currently works at the Sarajevo School of Science and Technology in Bosnia and Herzegovina teaching research methods and political psychology. She is also a director of the Balkan Institute for Conflict Resolution, Responsibility and Reconciliation. Sabina received her PhD in social psychology from the University of Sussex in 2008. 

Sabina specializes in the field of intergroup relations, specifically on reconciliation in post-conflict societies, collective emotions of guilt and shame, collective responsibility, dehumanization, and other moral disengagement strategies. She has published numerous research articles on the issues of acknowledgment, group-based responsibility, guilt, and intergroup forgiveness.  Sabina has previously worked as a consultant for various  local and international NGO’s, including UNICEF, UNDP, and Save the Children UK. Sabina is also a member of International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP), the European Association of Social Psychology (EASP), the Society for Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI), the International Society of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) and the American Psychological Society (APS).

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Chiara De Luca, Communications Consultant

Chiara is a dynamic communicator with a solid understanding of campaign strategy and online tactics, driven by a passion for social resilience and the advancement of human rights globally. She holds a BA in Communications and Psychology from John Cabot University and an MSc in Sustainable Development from the University of St Andrews. She has worked as a communications specialist, media analyst, and campaign coordinator at several major environmental and human rights organizations. Deeply interested in post-conflict reconciliation and transitional justice in the Balkans, Chiara advises pro bono the P-CRC on best online practices to support the organization’s public profile in the civil society space. She is currently based in Geneva, Switzerland, working with an organization advocating for refugees and migrants’ rights.

 

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Maria Hetman, Program Development Consultant

Maria holds a Master’s in Sociology and Social Anthropology from Central European University in Budapest and a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from The New School for Social Research in New York City. Her philosophical studies and thesis as an undergraduate focused on the meaning of radical evil in the 20th century, with an emphasis on totalitarian regimes, particularly fascism, and their impact on the fabric of social and ethical life. Her master’s thesis traces a cultural product – an ethnographic film produced for British television about the 1992-1995 Bosnian war – from its production in BiH during the war, to its wider implications and impacts. Maria has worked in communications and program management with Bosnian and American NGOs and NPOs.

 

 

 

 

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Sanda Üllen, Research Consultant

Sanda is currently obtaining her Ph.D. at the University of Vienna where she is working on her thesis dissertation entitled, “Contested Memories – Dynamics of individual and collective memories on (trans)national discourses, identities and belonging in post-war societies”. Sanda has worked as a lecturer for the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna. Her research background and interests include: migration studies; transnational studies, identity and belonging; the anthropology of violence; genocide studies; human rights; political anthropology; and memory.

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Ayşe Taşpınar, Student Exchange Program Consultant

Ayşe holds MA degree on Conflict Analysis and Resolution from Sabanci University, and BA degree on Political Science and International Relations from Marmara University, Istanbul.  Her master thesis topic is on everyday culture of criminal youth in the inner city in Istanbul. The emphasis of her research possesses the importance of ethnographic analysis of the social setting to elaborate everyday culture, perception of state institutions, subjectivity, and gender roles of male youth in the inner city. She has involved into active roles in different youth NGOs in Turkey both voluntarily and professionally. Additionally, she has been giving training on conflict analysis and resolution as a Negotiation and Mediation Master Trainer, and attending meetings as a facilitator and moderator. Ayşe has attended many international and national training on non-formal education, youth empowerment, conflict studies, and arts & culture.

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Dolores Šešum, Creative Consultant

Dolores graduated in 2006 from the Academy of Fine Arts at the University of Sarajevo. Her thesis, entitled “The Srebrenica Golgota”, thematized the genocide in Srebrenica that occurred in July 1995 and received the best notes from the artistic commission of the Academy. Dolores has worked on various projects as an expert consultant on artistic photography and video editing. One of her most important photographic consultancy works includes the selection of photography for the International Conference on the Srebrenica Genocide organized by the University of Sarajevo in July of 2005.