Balkans | Study Abroad | Peace and Conflict | Journalism | Serbia

Serbia, Bosnia, and Kosovo: Peace and Conflict Studies in the Balkans

Examine peacebuilding, post-conflict transformation, and the impact of international intervention on state formation, human rights, and transitional justice in the context of Southeast Europe. Work with professional journalists to produce a full-length print or broadcast feature story on a topic related to the program's theme.

The program explores the origins of the conflicts in the Balkans, from the breakup of Yugoslavia to the violent wars of the 1990s, as well as current challenges and opportunities in post-conflict transformation. You can choose between two different tracks for your independent study: you may either conduct field research and produce a substantial academic paper or work with professional journalists to research and produce a full-length print or broadcast feature story on a topic related to the theme of the program.

Major topics of study include:

  • The “making and breaking” of Yugoslavia
  • Peace and conflict studies: theory and practice in the Balkans
  • Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Kosovo in the 1990s: international sanctions, the 1999 NATO bombing, the Dayton Agreements
  • A comparative look at history, conflict, and post-conflict transformation in Serbia, Bosnia, and Kosovo with focus on state-building and peacebuilding processes
  • A comparative look at international intervention and state building in the Balkans prior to the conflict in the 1990s and current international interventions in Syria and Ukraine
  • For students on the Independent Study Project in Journalism track, contribute to Reporting Balkans. Cover the scenes, people, and issues of this challenging region while being mentored by seasoned reporters.

Students can choose between two different tracks for their independent study: they may either conduct field research and produce a substantial academic paper or work with professional journalists to research and produce a full-length print or broadcast feature story on a topic related to the theme of the program.


The best discussions of my entire undergraduate career occurred during the SIT Balkans courses.

Program alum

Examine themes and theories of conflict analysis and conflict transformation with a focus on social memory studies, transitional justice, and international intervention.

BelgradeDiscover southeast Europe.

The program is based in Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, the country’s cultural, political, and economic center, with vestiges of the former socialist state and post-communist Europe. Capital of the former Yugoslavia, Belgrade remains the largest metropolitan city in southeast Europe and is home to numerous activist groups and human rights organizations. A vibrant and dynamic city, Belgrade is very important to the study of post-conflict transformation in the Balkans.

While in Belgrade, students will live with host families and attend classes at the Faculty of Media and Communications (FMK), Singidunum University. Students will have the chance to explore the city's cultural centers, museums, and, markets while uncovering the city's socialist past. 

The program has extended excursions to Bosnia and Kosovo. Students experience Bosnia’s capital, Sarajevo — a city famous for its beautiful architecture and religious and cultural diversity — and Prishtina, Kosovo’s capital — a unique city with a prominent Ottoman, US, and Turkish presence.

Students can do their ISP project in any of the three countries.

Explore processes of post-war transformation through a comparative approach.

classroom in bosniaThrough the program's thematic seminars students examine processes of post-war change. By spending extensive time in Serbia, Bosnia, and Kosovo, students get a comparative look at these processes in three different countries. The program also provides a comparative look at ongoing international interventions in Syria and Ukraine.

Topics of study include:

  • The “making and breaking” of Yugoslavia
  • Peace and conflict: theory and practice in the Balkans
  • Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Kosovo in the 1990s and beyond: international sanctions, the NATO bombing, Milosevic, and Dayton
  • A comparative look at history, conflict, conflict resolution, and post-conflict transformation in Serbia, Bosnia, and Kosovo
  • A comparative look at international intervention and state building in the Balkans prior to the conflict in the 1990s and current international interventions in Syria and Ukraine

Students engage with academics from institutions such as the University of Belgrade, Serbia; the University of Prishtina, Kosovo; the University of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina; and the Faculty of Media and Communications (FMK), Singidunum University, Serbia.

Students also meet with representatives from leading NGOs such as The Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Serbia, Kosovo, and BiH; the Humanitarian Law Center, Serbia; Levizja FOL, Kosovo; and The International Commission on Missing Persons, BiH.

Choose to complete either a field research or a journalism track.

Students build upon the foundation provided by the core language and thematic courses through either research- or journalism-based independent study. Students who choose to do the traditional Independent Study Project will, with guidance from the academic director and an advisor, conduct field research and produce a substantial academic paper (see more information below).

Students can choose to do an Independent Study Project in Journalism. Students who choose this option will be mentored by professional journalists who will guide them as they research and produce a feature-length print or broadcast story. Students will also learn photography skills from a professional trained photojournalist. The stories produced by these students will be considered for publication in a US media outlet.

Take advantage of interactive workshops.

Students engage in interactive workshops as part of the program's thematic seminar. Possible themes and sites include:

Acquire critical field studies skills.

KosovoThrough the Research Methods and Ethics course, students learn a variety of methodologies that prepare them to undertake primary research on critical issues and topics relating to peace studies and conflict studies. Students develop research skills and approaches that are used for their Independent Study Project. Specific focus is placed on the ethical concerns related to conducting research in post-conflict societies.

Students who opt for the journalism track take Field Ethics of Journalism in Serbia, Bosnia, and Kosovo, a seminar that prepares them for the production of a major feature story. Specific focus in this seminar is on journalism ethics in Serbia, Bosnia, and Kosovo; laws affecting the practice of journalism in the Balkans; and the story pitch.

Independent Study Project

Students spend the last four weeks of the program focused on an Independent Study Project (ISP) or an Independent Study Project in Journalism (ISPJ) in Serbia, Bosnia, or Kosovo. Students may focus on issues related to post-conflict transformation, memory studies, genocide studies, or human rights, applying the concepts and skills learned in the thematic seminars and Research Methods and Ethics course or the Field Ethics of Journalism in Serbia, Bosnia, and Kosovo course. Sample ISP or ISPJ topic areas include:

  • Impact of international intervention on the peace process
  • Balkan perceptions of the Ukraine-Russia conflict
  • Integration of Serbia and Kosovo in the European Union
  • Islam in Bosnia-Herzegovina and/or in Kosovo
  • Human and LGBT rights activism in Serbia
  • Dealing with the past
  • Street art and street activism in Belgrade
  • Yugonostalgia in Belgrade and Sarajevo

Possible Community Volunteer Experiences as part of the ISP/ISPJ
During the ISP/ISPJ period, students may wish to pursue community volunteer experiences that allow them to take a more active role in the issues they are researching. Sample community volunteer experience sites include: the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Belgrade, the Dah Theatre in Belgrade, the Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Sarajevo, and the Center for Peacebuilding in Sanski Most. These opportunities are varied. Students assume an assorted set of responsibilities according to their skills, interests, and needs.

Students frequently use their ISPs as a jumping-off point for more advanced research for their senior thesis, Fulbright and Rhodes scholarship applications, or graduate school work. Full-length feature stories produced in the context of an ISPJ will be considered for publication for broadcast in a media outlet in the US.  

Students with majors or minors in the following areas should be interested in this program:

Political science and international relations, European studies, peace and post-conflict transformation studies, social psychology, sociology, anthropology, journalism, communication, media studies, human rights, history, English, and related disciplines.


For the journalism track, strong writing skills and an interest in journalism are essential. A writing sample may be required as part of the admissions process.

Access virtual library guide.

Browse this program's Independent Study Projects / undergraduate research.

The interdisciplinary coursework in the Serbia, Bosnia, and Kosovo: Peace and Conflict Studies in the Balkans program focuses on post-conflict and post-socialist transformation in the Balkans since the 1990s. Students examine changes in areas such as politics, civil society, identity, and social memory studies through participation in a variety of research and cultural activities, classroom discussions, and interactions with academics, activists, and host families. Students also take a language course in Serbian/Bosnian/Croatian. During the final month of the semester, students leverage their field study experience and research skills to complete an Independent Study Project (ISP) or an Independent Study Project in Journalism (ISPJ).

Links to syllabi below are from current and forthcoming courses offered on this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term.

The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.

The Breakup of Yugoslavia and the Wars of the 1990s – syllabus
(PEAC3000 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
With the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, changes in Europe raised hopes for social change and a better future. As Eastern Europe entered its post-communist transition to democracy and open markets, socialist Yugoslavia began descending toward its dissolution. The breakup of Yugoslavia and the escalation of violent conflicts and wars in the region was a process that lasted for a number of years. This course will provide students with the historical context and background to the breakup of Yugoslavia. It will introduce students to the first kingdom of Yugoslavs, followed by the creation of the Socialist Federalist Republic of Yugoslavia after World War II. The course will discuss the debates among scholars on the reasons for the breakup of the country and will introduce students to a framework for understanding the conflicts of the 1990s, the rise of ethno-nationalism, and the transition from socialism that overlapped with processes of war and conflict. The course will also introduce students to the theoretical frameworks to study the breakup of Yugoslavia and the new successor states that were created during its dissolution.
Peace and Conflict Studies in Serbia, Bosina-Herzegovina, and Kosovo – syllabus
(PEAC3005 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
After 1991, as Yugoslavia began to disintegrate, new states emerged alongside one another, each with its own, new political structures; each faced a different set of challenges and realities. This course will focus on some of these changes and challenges in three of the successor states: Serbia, Kosovo, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. In each of these cases, the course will examine the transition in the 1990s as related to the wars followed by an analysis of the post-Yugoslav post-war challenges. Throughout each of the case studies, students will focus on the following three main lenses of investigation: memory studies; conflict transformation/transitional justice; and international intervention.
Serbian I – syllabus
(SERB1000 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
Serbian II – syllabus
(SERB2000 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
Serbian III – syllabus
(SERB3000 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
Emphasis on speaking and comprehension skills through classroom and field instruction. Students are also introduced to the Cyrillic script. Students are placed in beginning or intermediate classes based on in-country evaluation, including oral proficiency testing.

Choose to take either Research Methods and Ethics and Independent Study Project OR Field Ethics of Journalism in Serbia, Bosnia, and Kosovo and Independent Study Project in Journalism (ISPJ)

Research Methods and Ethics – syllabus
(ANTH3500 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
The Research Methods seminar provides theoretical, conceptual, and practical tools for conducting field research in the Balkans. In particular, the course provides the means to identify and carry out an independent four-week, field-based research topic. Emphasis is placed on grappling with methodological and ethical challenges in learning and researching issues related to peace studies and conflict studies in this part of the world. The seminar prepares students to record, interpret, and analyze information from primary sources developing students' awareness of cultural differences and their own positionality.


Independent Study Project – syllabus
(ISPR3000 / 4 credits / 120 hours)
The Independent Study Project is conducted in an approved location appropriate to the project in Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, or Kosovo. Sample topic areas: feminist approaches to dealing with the past in post-Milosevic Serbia; Islam in Bosnia-Herzegovina; language, religion, and politics in the Republika Srpska; young Serbian writers and the politics of representation; Islamic identity of Albanians in Kosovo; Roma narratives of continuous discrimination and perspectives on identity, marginalization, and assimilation in Serbia; the influence of displacement on the identities of Sarajevo's young returnees. During the ISP period, students may have the opportunity to pursue a community volunteer experience that allows them to take a more active role in the issues they are researching. Possible volunteer sites include the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) or the Dah Theatre in Belgrade, the Center for Peacebuilding in Sanski Most, and Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Serbia, Kosovo, or Bosnia-Herzegovina.


Field Ethics of Journalism in Serbia, Bosnia, and Kosovo – syllabus
(JOUR3500 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
This course provides students with the necessary background in journalism ethics ' both conceptual and experiential ' to prepare them for the production of a major feature story in Serbia, Bosnia, and/or Kosovo. In addition to two introductory modules on the context of fieldwork in the Balkans and the role of positionality and representation in a post-conflict environment, the course includes a module on a) journalism ethics; b) an overview of laws affecting the practice of journalism in Serbia, Bosnia, and Kosovo and the legal milieu in which journalists in the Balkans practice; and c) the story pitch. Students learn how to produce a professional story pitch with the highest standards of journalism ethics on an important issue in the Balkans. This becomes the subject of the student's Independent Study Project in Journalism (ISPJ).


Independent Study Project in Journalism (ISPJ) – syllabus
(ISPJ3000 / 4 credits / 120 hours)
The Independent Study Project in Journalism is conducted in an approved location appropriate to the project in Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, or Kosovo. Students execute a full-length feature (in the media format of their choosing), which will be considered for publication or broadcast in a US media outlet. Students have the rare opportunity to work alongside journalists affiliated with Round Earth Media, whose bylined pieces regularly appear in media outlets around the world. Round Earth Media professionals provide hands-on advice and mentoring at every stage of story development, sharing expertise gathered from years in challenging global reporting situations. During the ISP/ISPJ period, students may have the opportunity to pursue a community volunteer experience that allows them to take a more active role in the issues they are researching. Possible community volunteer experience sites include the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Belgrade, the Dah Theatre in Belgrade, the Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Sarajevo, and the Center for Peacebuilding in Sanski Most. These opportunities are varied. Students assume an assorted set of responsibilities according to their skills and interests and the needs of the organization.

Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.

The program incorporates extended educational excursions to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, allowing you to witness the effects of international intervention and its aftermath in different settings. You will discover the ongoing efforts of various groups working to make the transition from conflict to new state-building processes and hear diverse perspectives on current realities and challenges.  


As a result of the 1995 Dayton Agreement, Bosnia was divided into two political entities: the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska. You will encounter different perspectives of the past and visions for the country’s future.

During this excursion, you will focus on topics such as Islam in Bosnia, the role of memorials and commemorative events in post-conflict transformation, the role of the international community in Bosnia, and EU accession. Additionally, you will be introduced to post-Dayton realities and challenges and visit both Banja Luka and Sarajevo.

During this period, you also may visit Mostar, famous for its ancient bridge reconstructed in 2004, following its destruction in the last war. Alternatively, you may visit the memorial site to victims of Srebrenica. You may also have the chance to visit the University of Banja Luka and meet with local students.

During this excursion, you will enjoy the natural extraordinary beauty of Bosnia-Herzegovina and may visit the Jajce water falls for a short hike en route from Banja Luka to Sarajevo.


Students in KosovoKosovo recently declared unilateral independence, unrecognized by Serbia. During this excursion, you will visit Kosovo’s capital Prishtina and be exposed to the different realities and points of view regarding the present and future of the frozen conflict in Kosovo. You will witness the change of power relations in Kosovo, critically discuss issues relating to international intervention and the current presence of the international community in Kosovo, and experience firsthand the vibrancy and energy of a newly independent state.

During this excursion, you will be hosted at the Levizja FOL. Presentations by local organizations could focus on Albanian perspectives in the war in Kosovo, activism for self-determination, the role of memory and myths in the process of state building, and the role of the international community and organizations such as the UN, OSCE, and the current EULEX structures. You may visit the ancient monastery in Visoki Dečani / Deçan, taste the local rakija produced by the monks, and meet with Father Sava Janjic, also known as the cyber monk.

Please note, this excursion could be modified or cancelled, should the political situation in Kosovo, as assessed by SIT, merit a change in plans.

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 is the academic director of the SIT Study Abroad program in the Balkans. Dr. Fridman received her PhD at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (SCAR) at George Mason University (2006). She 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, the role of social memory studies in teaching and researching post-conflict transformation, and critical approaches to encounters of groups in conflict, with a focus on Serb-Albanian relations in Kosovo.

In the past twenty years, Dr. Fridman has been involved in political education. She was trained as a facilitator for groups in conflict and facilitated group encounters from Israel/Palestine, Cyprus, and the successor states of the former Yugoslavia. Dr. Fridman teaches conflict studies at the Faculty of Media and Communications (FMK) where she heads 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 publications include “Unstructured Daily Encounters: Serbs in Kosovo after the 2008 Declaration of Independence” (Contemporary Southeastern Europe, 2015); “Alternative Calendars and Memory Work in Serbia: Anti-War Activism after Milosevic” (Memory Studies 8, 2015); “Structured Encounters in Post-Conflict/Post-Yugoslav Days: Visiting Belgrade and Prishtina” (Civil Society and Transitional Justice in the Balkans, 2013); “It Was Like Fighting a War with Our Own People: Anti-War Activism in Serbia during the 1990s” (Nationalities Papers 39, 2011); “Breaking States of Denial: Anti-Occupation Activism in Israel after 2000” (Genero 10/11, 2007); and “Alternative Voices in Public Urban Space: Serbia’s Women in Black” (Ethnologia Balkanica 10, 2006).

Review Dr. Fridman’s complete CV.

View Dr. Fridman's research.

Nenad Porobic, MSEE, Program Coordinator

Nenad Porobic was born in Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. 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 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 involved in regional peacebuilding efforts while working at the Center for Nonviolent Action, a regional peacebuilding organization (Sarajevo/Belgrade). His interests are political activism, demilitarization, dealing with the past, and filmmaking. He is a member of the Working Group “Four Faces of Omarska,” a research, production, and performance group that questions the memorial production strategies through the medium of social sculpture. Currently, Nenad is pursuing an MA in politics and conflict studies at the Faculty of Media and Communications (FMK) in Belgrade. 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.

Mirjana Kosic, MA, Academic Assistant

Mirjana Kosic received her MA 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." Prior to that, Mirjana graduated from the Faculty of Humanities in Banja Luka, at the Department for English Language and Literature.

Since 2009, Mirjana has been giving lectures to SIT students in Belgrade focused on the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Dayton Peace Agreement, and the role of the international community in post-war reconstruction and state building. Mirjana has been engaged as academic assistant of the SIT Balkans program since 2012. She coordinates and leads the visits to Banja Luka as part of the Bosnia-Herzegovina semester excursion.

Mirjana is the 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. Her interest and work in the area of conflict transformation stems from her professional engagement with several international organizations and institutions in Bosnia-Herzegovina. She is also Insight on Conflict's local correspondent for the Western Balkans.

Mirjana is fluent in English and Italian. In her free time, she translates for various outlets (including TED) and publications.

Alek SkundricAleksandar Skundric, Program Assistant

Aleksandar Skundric was born in Belgrade, Serbia. Since 2004, he has worked on numerous projects and has attended various trainings with many human rights and minority rights organizations from Serbia and abroad. In 2007 he did a fellowship program in New York with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). In 2010 he was a member of a team that worked on the preparation of a scientific research project proposal titled “Gender Equality and Culture of the Citizens Status: Historical and Theoretical Foundations in Serbia” for the Faculty of Political Science, Belgrade.

Aleksandar has been engaged as program assistant with the SIT Balkans program since 2013. He is a resource for local knowledge as well as a support for students during the semester. He also manages the SIT Balkans library along with other academic resources and accompanies students on excursions.

VukovicMilica Vukovic, MA, Language Instructor

Milica holds an MA in comparative literature from University College London along with an MA and a BA in Serbian language and literature with general literature from the Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade.

Prior to joining the SIT program, she taught Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian/Montenegrin as a second and foreign language to adults and children in London and Bedford, UK.

Her academic interests include second language acquisition, bilingualism, and code-switching.

Jelena Nikolic, MA, Homestay Coordinator

Jelena Nikolic holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and media and a master’s degree in conflict studies, both from the 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.

Katarina Subasic, MA, ISPJ Course Instructor

Katarina Subasic

Katarina Subasic is a reporter and editor covering the Balkans for various local and international media since the late 1980s. She joined the Agence France-Presse (AFP) in 1998, covering the war in Kosovo through to the fall of Slobodan Milosevic, as well as politics throughout the Balkans and its post-conflict recovery and transition towards democracy. Among other historic events, Katarina reported Milosevic’s fall, arrest, and extradition to the Hague-based war crimes tribunal. She broke the news on his death in 2006. Her coverage also includes the assassination of Serbia’s first democratic prime minister, Zoran Djindjic, the breakup of Montenegro's union with Serbia, Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence, and the arrest of most-wanted war crime suspect Ratko Mladic in 2011.

In 1999, Katarina won a Freedom Forum Journalist-in-Residence Fellowship at New York University’s Journalism Department. There, she joined the Committee to Protect Journalists, helping to collect data on reporters in trouble with the Serbian authorities.

Katarina holds an MA from the Media and Communications Faculty of Singidunum University in Belgrade. Her thesis examined the accountability of journalists in conflicts from Nuremberg to Rwanda and ex-Yugoslavia. She recently published the article “Recalling Their Own War, Belgraders Embrace Syrian Refugees” in Business Insider.

Drew Adamek, ISPJ Course Instructor

Drew AdamekDrew is a writer and researcher with a background in public corruption investigative journalism, feature writing, and television production. Starting his career as an investigator for the Better Government Association in Chicago, Drew brought dozens of public corruption stories to the public eye. His investigative work was featured on CBS Evening News, 48 Hours, Primetime Live, and 20/20. As a freelance feature writer, Drew has had work appear in the Chicago Sun-Times, New York Times, Chicago magazine, The Public Humanist, and many others. Drew has served as a researcher or producer on over 200 television documentaries, including National Geographic’s Inside 9/11, Discovery Channel’s The Real NCIS, Court TV’s Body of Evidence, and The History Channel’s American Vesuvius. His most recent project was producing a six-part public radio series on economic inequality. Drew lives in Belgrade, Serbia.

Lejla MamutLejla Mamut, MA, Local Coordinator, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Lejla Mamut was born in Skopje, Macedonia, in 1981 and moved to Sarajevo in 2006. Currently, she is engaged as a conflict-related sexual violence coordinator at UN Women. Before joining the UN, she spent five years working as a human rights coordinator for the Swiss organization TRIAL: Track Impunity Always. Lejla Mamut’s experience includes extensive research on war casualties and other aspects of the 1992–1995 war and work with victims of war on different aspects of transitional justice. She holds an MA in democracy and human rights from the University of Sarajevo and University of Bologna (joint MA program). Her MA thesis, “Four Layers of Deficiency Concerning the Crime of Genocide: The Case of Bosnia-Herzegovina,” was selected as one of the top five theses in her class and was published in the two universities’ yearly journal.

Yll Buleshkaj, MA, 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 (joint MA program) in democratization and human rights in southeastern Europe and a BA 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.

Lecturers for this program include:

Vladimir Petrovic, PhD

Vladimir Petrovic

Vladimir Petrovic obtained his BA and MPhil in contemporary history from Belgrade Faculty of Philosophy and his MA and PhD from Central European University in Budapest.

He was an intern and analyst in the Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor's Office and in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), and he completed his postdoctoral researcher at the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies.

Dr. Petrovic lectures in the Legal Department of Central European University and is a researcher at the Institute for Contemporary History in Belgrade.

His current interest is at the intersection of history and law in the practice of historical expert witnessing, as well as in the history of human rights breaches in the former Yugoslavia.

Mr. Kurt Bassuener, MA

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 from 2005 to 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, The Christian Science Monitor, International Herald Tribune, The Wall Street Journal Europe, The St. Petersburg Times, The Irish Times, Jane’s Defense Weekly, and 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, PhD

Jelisaveta Blagojevic received her PhD 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 MPhil in gender and culture studies from Open University London and a BA in philosophy from the Faculty of Philosophy, Belgrade University.

Dr. Blagojevic teaches at the Faculty for Media and Communications (FMK), 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.

Her publications include Politike Nemislivog: Uvod u ne-fasisticki zivot (2014); Media/Power (editor), Faculty for Media and Communication, Belgrade (2013); “Kultura koja dolazi” (“Culture to Come”) (in Kultura, Drugi, Zene, 2010); Hieroglyphs of Jealousy, Research Center in Gender Studies, (2008); Zajednica onih koji nemaju zajednicu (Community without Community), (2008); Gender and Identity (editor), Theories in Gender Studies (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, PhD

Dasa Duhacek is a professor in the Political Science Department of Belgrade University. She received her BA in philosophy from the University of Belgrade. She holds an MA in women's studies and a PhD in political science, both from Rutgers University. Professor 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.

Professor 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; and 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.

Vladimir Pavicevic, PhD

Dr. Vladimir Pavicevic received his PhD from the Faculty of Political Sciences at the University of Belgrade in 2011.

He holds an MA from The University of Bonn (master's thesis: “Great compromise: Experiences from the process of constitutions of the United States of America and Europe”) and a BA from the Department for International Relations at the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Belgrade. From 2004 to 2011, Dr. Pavicevic pursued his postdoctoral education in Austria and the United States. He published several works in the fields of political theory, political philosophy, and European studies. Since 2011, he had led the research forum of the European Movement in Serbia.

His recent publications include Toward the European Union, Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities, Belgrade, 2007 (co-author); The European Union – Youth Guidebook, Belgrade Open School, Belgrade, 2006; Discussion about Europe, Belgrade Open School, Belgrade, 2006 (co-author); and Handbook of Globalisation, Belgrade Open School, Belgrade, 2003 (co-author).

Afrim Hoti, PhD

Dr. Hoti received his PhD at the Institute of Peace Research and Security Studies at Hamburg University.

He obtained his bachelor's degree at the Law Faculty of the University of Prishtina and his master’s degree in democracy and human rights from the University of Sarajevo and University of Bologna, supported by the European Commission. In 2003 he completed a comparative research study at Abo Akademi University (Finland) related to the world crisis, with the main focus on Kosovo and East Timor. Dr. Hoti has been on the academic staff at the University of Prishtina since 2004 as a lecturer at the Law Faculty and in the Department of Political Sciences. He has been a visiting lecturer at many foreign universities (Sapienza University of Rome, University of Lower Silesia, University of Maribor, etc.). He was a board member of the University of Prishtina (2000–2002), a member of its academic senate (2000–2002), and head of the Prishtina International Relations Office (2009–2010).

Dr. Hoti acted as the coordinator and director in the office of the prime minister of Kosovo (2003–2005). He is continuously involved in different EU and USAID projects in Kosovo dealing mainly with legal and political aspects of numerous institutions such as the Special Chamber of the Kosovo Supreme Court, different ministries, the Parliament of Kosovo, etc.

He published several articles in local and international journals, including “Kosovo – Quo Vadis” (2007) at the Hamburg University, “Human Rights and International Administration in Kosovo” at the Abo Academy University in Finland (2003), and “The Specifics of Power in Kosovo under International Administration” (2002), as well as two legal studies, "Labour Rights in Kosovo" and "Economic and Social Rights in Kosovo" (2010), supported by the government of Cantabria and the Madrid Chamber of Advocates.

Dermana Seta, MA

Dermana Seta is the head of the Research Department at the Center for Research and Education (Nahla). She is also the head of the Human Rights and Freedom of Faith Commission of the Islamic community in Bosnia-Herzegovina and a fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies, Sarajevo.

She has coauthored books, volumes, and articles involving the issues of religion, human rights, and women. She is the author of Why the headscarf? Muslim women of B&H speak about their life and work with hijab, 2011, CNS & CIPS.

Dermana Seta holds an MA in religious studies from the Centre for Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Studies, University of Sarajevo. She is a doctoral candidate in sociology (focusing on sociology of religion) at Faculty of Political Science at Sarajevo University.

Her recent publications include Bibliography on sociocultural position on women in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2011; Why the headscarf? Muslim women of B&H speak about their life and work with hijab, 2011; Fathers count — A research on the participation of fathers in their children's lives in FB&H, 2012.

Her research interests include women's studies, Islam and human rights, women and gender issues in Islam, Islamic feminism, Muslims in Europe, faith-based organizations, religion and politics, religion, religious studies, and gender studies.

The homestay experience was the cornerstone of the Balkans program. Every day after classes, I would come home to excited kids, a fresh meal, and a unique and intimate window into the life of my family. Aside from the wonderful relationships I built, the homestay also allowed me to merge my academic and personal life. On a typical day, I would exchange conversations with my Serbian host grandmother through an illustrated children's dictionary, broaching topics from politics to religion, cooking to house pets. These moments when my family and I struggled together in conversation gave me opportunities I would not have had on another program.

Jess Acosta, Colby College


You will live with a host family in Belgrade for seven weeks. If you will be undertaking an Independent Study Project in Belgrade, you may extend your homestay by four weeks. A homestay may be arranged in other ISP locations, as well.

During the homestay in Belgrade, you will live with local families and may meet your hosts’ extended families in other parts of Serbia. Some homestay families have always lived in Belgrade while others have relocated to the city from other parts of the former Yugoslavia. Living with a host family greatly contributes to your understanding of the realities and challenges facing the Balkans today and provides an excellent opportunity to improve your language skills.

Other accommodations during the program could include guest houses or small hotels.

Read about three alums who have returned to the Balkans to continue their work and studies.

Ben Somogyi (Carleton College), Fall 2010

A native of Buffalo, New York, Ben currently works as a senior policy aide for Council Member Lisa Bender on the Minneapolis City Council. His focus has been on advancing sustainable and smart land use policies and expanding transportation choices. Previously, Ben served as Congressman Keith Ellison's finance director, helping to elect progressives across Minnesota and the country to office. Read Ben’s ISP: Reminding, Retelling, and Re-Remembering: The Evolution of Staro Sajmište, Its Future, and the Marginalization of the Holocaust in Serbian Public Memory.

Julieta Cuéllar (University of Texas at Austin), Spring 2011

Julieta recently became global networks program manager at the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience (the Coalition). The Coalition is the only worldwide network dedicated to transforming places that preserve the past into dynamic spaces that promote civic action on today’s struggles for human rights and justice. In her new position, Julieta supports global exchange and learning as well as the development and implementation of global programs for Sites of Conscience around the world. Julieta credits the SIT program in the Balkans for introducing her to the complexity and importance of memorialization in post-conflict societies.

Michael Sweigart (George Washington University), Fall 2011

Mike has been working at National Democratic Institute’s (NDI) Washington, DC, headquarters to support programs in the Balkans and North Africa, with a focus on Kosovo and Morocco. He focuses particularly on a program funded by the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office that brings Albanian and Serb youth from Northern Kosovo together to advocate for policy change on community issues, from traffic safety to human rights. He draws on his studies with SIT in the Balkans on a regular basis when evaluating NDI’s work in the Balkans and when conceptualizing new program ideas.

Faith Bailey (Goucher College), Fall 2012

Faith is currently on a Fulbright Research Fellowship in Prishtina, Kosovo, studying the politics and pedogogies of youth exchange programs in Kosovo, as a direct continuation of her ISP. In academic year 2015–16, Faith will begin her MA in nationalism studies at the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, Hungary where she received a scholarship. Watch a video interview with Faith.

Amanda Lawnicki (Beloit College), Spring 2013

Amanda focused on Soviet and post-Soviet spaces, mainly on Ukraine, democracy, and post-conflict/post-communist memorialization throughout her undergraduate education. She received a post-graduation fellowship from the Weissberg Program in Human Rights at Beloit to return to Bosnia and work with the Center for Peacebuilding in Sanski Most, an NGO she encountered during her SIT semester in the Balkans. In academic year 2015–16, Amanda will begin a master’s program at Indiana University in Russian and East European studies, where she received a fellowship to study the Serbian/Bosnian/Croatian language and the Western Balkans as a region. In the future, she hopes to continue her work with NGOs that work on human rights and peacebuilding, and she hopes return to the region soon. The title of Amanda’s ISP was “Papa, should I tell you what I think of this exhibition, I would cry.” An Analysis of Visitor Impression Books at the Bosnian Historical Museum in Sarajevo.

    A diversity of students representing different colleges, universities, and majors study abroad on this program. Many of them have gone on to do amazing things that connect back to their experience abroad with SIT. Learn what some of them are now doing.

    Recent positions held by alumni of this program include:

    • Fulbright Scholar examining politics, pedagogies, and perspectives on Kosovo-Serbia exchange programming, Kosovo
    • Global Networks Program Manager, International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, New York, New York
    • Senior Program Assistant, National Democratic Institute, Washington, DC

    Program Dates: Fall 2016

    Program Arrival Date:  Sep 5, 2016

    Program Departure Date:    Dec 18, 2016

    The dates listed above are subject to change. Please note that travel to and from the program site may span a period of more than one day.

    Student applications to this program will be reviewed on a rolling basis between the opening date and the deadline.

    Application Deadline:   Jun 1, 2016


    SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to all students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding; this award can be applied to any SIT semester program. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.

    Tuition: $16,330

    The tuition fee covers the following program components:

    • Cost of all lecturers who provide instruction to students in:
      • The breakup of Yugoslavia
      • Serbia in the 1990s: international sanctions and the NATO bombing
      • Serbia after Milosevic
      • Bosnia-Herzegovina after Dayton
      • Kosovo: a look from Serbia and from Kosovo
      • Peace and conflict: theory and practice in the Balkans
    • Research Methods and Ethics and Human Subjects Review
    • Intensive language instruction in Serbian/Bosnian/Croatian
    • All educational excursions to locations such as Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina, including all related travel costs
    • Independent Study Project (including a stipend for accommodation and food)
    • Health insurance throughout the entire program period

    Room & Board: $4,545

    The room and board fee covers the following program components:

    • All accommodations during the entire program period. This includes during orientation, in the program base (Belgrade), on all excursions, during the Independent Study Project, and during the final evaluation period.
    • Homestay (seven weeks in Belgrade)
    • All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend, or through the homestay.

    Estimated Additional Costs:

    International Airfare to Program Launch Site

    International airline pricing can vary greatly due to the volatility of airline industry pricing, flight availability, and specific flexibility/restrictions on the type of ticket purchased. Students may choose to take advantage of frequent flyer or other airline awards available to them, which could significantly lower their travel costs.

    Visa Expenses: $ 250

    Immunizations: Varies

    Books & Supplies: $ 70

    International Phone: Each student must have a phone in each country. Cost varies according to personal preferences, phone plans, data plans, etc.

    Discretionary Expenses

    Personal expenses during the program vary based on individual spending habits and budgets. While all meals and accommodations are covered in the room and board fee, incidentals and personal transportation costs differ depending on the non-program-related interests and pursuits of each student. To learn more about personal budgeting, we recommend speaking with alumni who participated in a program in your region. See a full list of our alumni contacts. Please note that free time to pursue non-program-related activities is limited.

    Please Note: Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, SIT reserves the right to change its fees or additional expenses without notice.


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    SIT was founded as the School for International Training and has been known as SIT Study Abroad and SIT Graduate Institute since 2007. SIT is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. (NEASC) through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education

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