Jovan Divjak, born in 1937 in Belgrade, declares himself a Bosnian, although this category does not exist under his country’s constitution. Since 1966 Divjak lives in Sarajevo. He is the executive director of the NGO Education Builds Bosnia-Herzegovina, established in 1994 with the mission ’children of war victims – our permanent concern’. Divjak completed his military studies in 1959 and served as a professional in the former Yugoslav People’s Army until 1984, mostly in the military education sector.
From April 1992 to March 1997, he held a high-ranking post in the Army of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Since his retirement in 1997, Divjak has devoted himself entirely to helping children and families of war victims as well as disabled and talented children in Bosnia. He has been a prominent NGO activist working towards the development of civil society, with a particular focus on issues of education, rights of the child and human rights. He has attended and spoken at numerous international conferences and workshops in Bosnia as well as in Spain, the US, Belgium, France, Italy and Croatia. Jovan Divjak is co-author of The Wars in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina 1991-1995. A book of conversations with Jovan Divjak entitled Sarajevo, mon amour was published in France (2004) and Italy (2007). The many international and domestic awards he has received include: the French Legion of Honour (2001), the City of Sarajevo 6th April Award (2005), the International League of Humanists’ Humanist of the Year Award (1999), the Takunda Award as Personality of the Year in the Balkans in the area of tolerance and co-existence, Bergamo, Italy (2007).