Jelena is a professor of Spanish language & journalist from Belgrade Serbia. She truly believes that life is too short for bad people, bad thoughts and bad coffee. She keeps trying to make the world a better place by writing about true values, inspiring people and their activities. Jelena is an eternal optimist and an energy wizard.
Scientist and also Deputy Director of the Petnica Science Center, Nikola Bozic (38) left the audience speechless with his TEDx Zemun talk about the latest discoveries that will soon shape our future. From electric cars and cyborgs to DNA editing, extra-solar planets, and distant life forms, for instance, he put reality and imagination together. Although the world is struggling with numerous issues regarding the use of energy sources, climate change, and the misuse of modern technology, Nikola hopes we will be smart enough to use all scientific knowledge in the centuries ahead for making the Earth a planet to be proud of. Precisely for these reasons, he believes, science and education should never be seen just as expenses for the government budget, but crucial investments in the future.
His parents thought his photography was just a childish phase, until they saw that the number of people on Instagram supporting his work was rapidly growing. Still, they did not think it would go further than being just a hobby. The only person who realised it was becoming a long term passion was his granny, who bought him the first serious camera he ever owned. He started learning, practising, and improving more and more until he applied to the International Photo Contest in Luxembourg and – won.
Imagine life with no steps. No running. No dancing. Imagine shouting words that nobody hears or eyes that look but are not being looked at. This feeling of resentment and weakness, as well as striving to help, has made Bogdan Stevanovic (28) – also known as Blogdan – sit in a wheelchair and spend eight days as a disabled person in the middle of Florence trying to experience all the obstacles disabled people face on an everyday basis. This project was part of his Master’s Thesis, and he talked more about it at this year’s TEDx Zemun event, held in Belgrade. After the project was over, the city of Florence took the first steps to make more places accessible to people in wheelchairs, but Bogdan says the rest of Europe needs to wake up, too. Instead of feeling sorry, this is what he did.
She fell in love with taekwondo when she was only 4, and hasn’t stopped training since. The youngest Olympic champion on the Serbian Olympic team, still a high school student, Tijana Bogdanovic (18) says she is slowly coming to terms with her success. A very modest and down-to-earth girl, Tijana can not imagine bringing home the silver medal without the support of her team, family, and friends. As she notes, each and every one of them contributed in a way, making her become wiser and more mature. The path to silver was anything but easy, still every time she was on the edge of giving up, she would remember the words of her coach: "If you give up once, then it becomes a habit, so don’t you ever give up."
So far, he has managed to cooperate with the Peace Nobel prize winner, Malala Yousafzai, he has had dinner with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and has found a place as a Board member of the European Youth Forum. Dejan Bojanic, only 25 years old, does have a story to tell: from 900 candidates he was selected to be one of 15 associates of the UN Secretary, and the prestigious Forbes magazine has recognized him as one of the most influential young people in Europe under the age of 30. Today, he works for an organization that puts enormous effort into coping with the crisis of refugee children. In an interview with YT magazine he talks about the highlights of his unique professional journey.
Marko Bubalo (32), the Serbian pilot who was honoured to fly the whole Serbian Olympic team back home, says he will never forget that day. Although there was a delay due to technical issues, that didn’t affect the great atmosphere in both the flight deck and the airplane. The mood was cheerful and loud, and the passengers were singing most of the time. A pilot’s job, however, can be far away from milk and honey. Still, apart from huge responsibilities and frequent stressful moments, Marko would never change what he does, and he says: "While you are probably tucked in your bed, I might just happen to be passing above you, and that is a feeling no other job can replace."
Cassandra Lin (19) was only 11 when she started the TGIF (Turn Grease Into Fuel) project. Many other people were trying to raise awareness about global warming with similar projects, but with poor results or none at all – and she did it! With a group of classmates she put together as a community service team, she visited the Energy Solution Expo at the University of Rhode Island – the step that changed everything. They found out that biodiesel can be produced from waste cooking oil. Today, a total of 480 families in three different countries heating their homes this way. Cassandra says she and her team are not going to stop there.
Huffington Post has named him as one of the nine young tech innovators who are changing the world. After his invention called Eyeboard was presented to the public, he became internationally recognized. He started his first company at the age of 14, teaching himself software programming and digital electronics. Today, the owner of Intelsath, Luis Cruz (23), is developing new products, learning more about how to invest smartly in the future, but most of all – he spreads knowledge all around his home country, Honduras, giving inspiration to young people to learn, advance, and succeed.
Milica Radovic (28), the co-founder of one of the biggest IT events in the Balkans and the holder of a TEDx license, dropped the idea of working in an office and set off on an unusual journey to Africa. Aiming not to be a typical tourist, she made a decision to explore, travel, and help. A chance encounter with 12 charming local kids made her stay in Kenya much longer than she planned. And so, instead of posing for social networks and taking photos, she decided to use her blog to raise money for charity and make the future a bit brighter for some kids who need help desperately. This is a story about bananas, storytelling, playing games, a mud house, new uniforms, and a little bit of magic she brought to Rusinga Island.
On their recent tour through Serbia, members of the Ugandan Drum Beat dancing troupe were keen to share their thoughts about what life is like in Uganda nowadays. Telling a story about a homeland that is facing many issues, Brenda, Christine, and Zura pointed out that there are still many joys and beauties in Uganda that people don’t know much about. After spending just one night with them our contributor Jelena Zoric discovered a unique philosophy of life among Ugandans – they don’t stress out about problems, and while trying to solve them they laugh at them. They dance to celebrate life, using the beat that is in their blood, inherited from their ancestors. And most of all - they share love as much as they can in many diverse forms.