Živan Ugljevik

“It’s time to accept the truth, unite behind it, and leave future generations an opportunity to succeed.”

Growing up as the child of a hardworking single mom in the sleepy town of Ugljevik in north eastern BiH left Živan with a lot of time to fill. Video gaming led him to the “unbelievably expansive world of the internet” and Živan set his own hardworking nature to exploring that world and mastering its technology. He now teaches IT at a school in the nearby village of Koraj. “Our school is special because it falls into two districts. Some of the students follow the curriculum from Federation and others from Republika Srpska. Can you believe that we not only teach two different histories but even two different geographies? It’s absurd. 25 years after Dayton and we’re still stuck.” Živan reflects on his own schooling. “When I was about 15, we studied a historic event in school. My school was ‘ethically clean’ so we only learned one history, of course. But when I got home, I googled it and discovered nothing was the same in the history online. From that moment on, I decided that I would choose for myself what I would read, where I would read it, what I would listen to, and what I would watch so that I could decide for myself what I believed was right or not.” Živan’s revelation has not extended to most of his peers though and he worries that the next generation will grow up carrying the same disunity and denial. He volunteers with OSCE to promote unity and greater access to information among local youth. “As a man who works in education and is very attached to his students, I believe that it is the obligation of our generation to create a tolerant society so that future generations will have the opportunity to succeed here.”

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