SIT Balkans Staff

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.

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.

Katarina Subasic, MA, ISPJ Course Instructor

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.

Kornelija Szabo, Photojournalism Instructor

Kornelija was born in 1984 in Belgrade. She graduated at the Faculty of Media and Communications, Singidunum University, majoring in the fields of communications, media theory and critical thinking.

From 2007 to 2010 she worked for “Blic” daily newspaper as the photo editor for online editions.

Kornelija was the recipient of the 2010 International Media Training Centre (USIS-USIA) Grant for Professional Development Year Program in the United States in the fields of journalism and mass communication.

Since 2011 she works at the Faculty of Media and Communications in Belgrade.

Collaborating on a large number of cultural, media, academic and activist initiatives in Serbia.

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.

Aleksandar 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.

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.

Milica 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 and 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.