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 over 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 and Coordinator of annual of the War Art Reporting and Memory (WARM) Foundation’s Festival in Sarajevo. 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. She is currently enrolled in the European Regional Master in Democracy and Human Rights in South East Europe – a double degree program by the University of Sarajevo and University of Bologna.

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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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Anastasia Rybachenko, Program Developer

Anastasia specializes in European political and security affairs. She holds a MA from Freie Universität Berlin, where she wrote her Master's thesis on the role of OSCE field operations in conflict prevention and crisis management. Previously, she majored in Political Science and International Relations. Anastasia worked as Project Manager in the private sector in Germany and as a Research Assistant at the German Parliament. In Russia, Anastasia campaigned as a civic and human rights activist. Her current professional interests lie in building partnerships with a variety of actors in the field of humanitarian aid and international development. She also works to enhance cooperation with media representatives.

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Myles Wallingford, Program Coordinator

Myles Wallingford studied journalism and political science at the University of Colorado at Boulder where he organized the annual Conference on World Affairs. His multidisciplinary background includes work with social enterprises, business development organizations, political advocacy groups, local government, and various news publications..

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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.

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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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.

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Dženeta Karabegović, Program Consultant

Dženeta Karabegović wider research interests are rooted in international and comparative politics with a particular focus on transnationalism, diaspora, migration, democratization, human rights, transitional justice, and the Balkans. She holds a PhD in Politics and International Studies from the University of Warwick, UK. Her academic work has been published in multiple peer-reviewed academic journals and she is currently working on both article and book length projects. She is an Assistant Professor at the International Burch University and the Sarajevo School for Science and Technology and does consulting work on a regular basis. Previously she was a Guest Researcher at Mid-Sweden University's Forum for Gender Studies and a Visiting Scholar at the Harriman Institute at Columbia University. She was a U.S. Fulbright Fellow at the Hugo Valentin Centre at Uppsala University in Sweden, holds an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Chicago, and completed her B.A. (Hons) at the University of Vermont in Political Science and German with a Holocaust Studies minor. Dženeta was born in Banja Luka, BiH grew up in Germany and the United States, has lived in Sweden and England, and has recently returned to Sarajevo, BiH.