Svetlana Kijevcanin of Serbia
Svetlana Kijevcanin currently manages the bachelor of education in community youth work studies for the Swedish NGO Forum Syd Balkans Programme, where she also teaches a course in leadership, youth and development work. After the graduation of her first cohort of students in 2007, she is working to establish similar programs in other universities across the Balkan region.
Kijevcanin was born and still resides in Belgrade, Serbia, part of the former Yugoslavia. As Yugoslavia began its disintegration, Kijevcanin embarked on peace activities with both local and international NGOs, including CARE International and the United Methodist Committee on Relief. She co-founded Group MOST (“Bridge”): Association for Cooperation and Mediation in 1992 and implemented various creative and innovative programs in peace education. During the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, including during the NATO bombing of Serbia and Montenegro in 1999, Kijevcanin continued her peace work, conducting hundreds of trainings, primarily with youth, refugees, psychologists, teachers and NGO activists throughout the Balkans. She has used a variety of media, including a television series on conflict, documentary films on peace studies and print media in the form of drawing books for youth, to explore the potential for conflict transformation and to connect people across national and ethnic lines. Kijevcanin is actively involved in the use of theater-in-education methodology for building tolerance and understanding among youth; her theater troupe recently performed their piece, “The Love Affair of the Sun and the Moon,” at the International Festival of Theater in Education in Mostar, Bosnia and in the province of Vojvodina.
In 2007, Kijevcanin received a full scholarship to participate in a 10-month, long-distance course at the East Side Institute for Group and Short-Term Psychotherapy in New York, where she will enhance her psychological studies and strengthen the application to her work in education and grassroots activism. Her presentation of her work in reconciliation utilizing theater-in-education methodology at the fourth “Performing the World” Conference coincided with the recent publication of her article, “Reflections on Activism,” in 20 Pieces of Encouragement for Awakening and Change: Peacebuilding in the Region of the Former Yugoslavia, a publication of the Centre for Nonviolent Action. Kijevcanin is married with two children and considers herself a genuine networker and activist because “activism is my only authentic response to the situation in which we are living.”
Kijevcanin was a Woman PeaceMaker in 2006.