Who We Are

  1. Beka Vučo

    Founder and President


    Born and raised in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, Beka’s life has been dedicated to culture, democracy, human rights and international understanding. After graduating from Belgrade University's Faculty of Philosophy and the University of Arts, she worked for over fifteen years as the Producing and Managing Director of the prestigious avant-garde Theatre Atelje 212 and BITEF festival in Belgrade. As a Fulbright scholar (1979-81), Beka completed her master’s degree in performing arts and business management at UCLA. After moving to the U.S. in 1987, Beka was affiliated with various regional and off-Broadway performing arts organizations that worked closely with Eastern Europe and Russia, including Theatre International Exchange Service (TIES), at that time, an Open Society Foundation's grantee. In 1991, at the time when George Soros was opening his foundations in Eastern Europe, Beka joined Open Society Foundations as the Regional Director and helped establish offices in the Western Balkans. She was affiliated with OSF for three decades. Much of her work at OSF focused on support for democratization, culture, equality and human rights. Beka is also an accomplished photographer with published works in magazines, books, solo and group exhibits in New York and Washington, DC and Europe. Her interest in photography is inherited from her father, Nikola Vučo, whose own photography was part of the creative output of the surrealist movement of the 20th century Paris. Beka’s ongoing portfolio My Balkans gives a personal view of the turbulent history of the region since 1991. Presently, she holds the position of the Chair of the No Borders Orchestra Board, a Berlin/Belgrade based classical music orchestra with musicians who come from all the countries from the former Yugoslavia with a mission of sharing friendship, peace and reconciliation through music. In 2020 Beka founded and is the President of a New York based non-for-profit organization My Balkans Inc. to promote and help various activities in the field of culture, arts and education to organizations and individuals in South Eastern Europe and the Balkans, who are fighting for freedom of expression, social openness, artistic excellence, educational advancement and societies that promote justice and equality.

  2. Edin Rudić

    Director and Secretary


    Edin Rudić is the Executive Creative Director for MKDA New York, an acclaimed corporate interior design firm. He joined MKDA in 2006 and has been integral to the creative direction of this national company. Working on large-scale corporate projects with clients such as Snapchat, Kind, Friedman LLP and Cambridge University Press, he has played a major role in helping MKDA achieve its current status as one of the nation’s preeminent design firms, prominently recognized on the list of 100 Interior Design Giants. In his role he has helped reposition some of the most premiere office properties in New York City, working with major city property owners such as Vornado Realty Trust, Boston Properties, Equity Office, Normandy Real Estate Partners, Silverstein Properties and Thor Equities. Edin was born and raised in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. Known as the “European Jerusalem,” Sarajevo is where East meets West, a place where the Jewish, Catholic, Christian Orthodox and Muslim religions coexisted and thrived in harmony for centuries and where empires from Roman to Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian have left a trail of cultural wealth. The war in Bosnia broke out in 1992 and Sarajevo fell under a military siege. In the midst of the horror of living in the torched city, Edin entered the Sarajevo Academy of Fine Arts. In February 1994, with the help of American journalists John Falk and Sebastian Junger, he escaped the siege and moved as a refugee to Bologna, Italy. His first art show named "On the Edge" was exhibited at Libreria Feltrinelli International. Later that year, he relocated to New York City and was admitted to The School of Visual Arts, where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts. During that time, Edin volunteered for the Lawyer's Committee for Human Rights, working closely with its spokeswoman, actress Sigorney Weaver, to extend the 1-year Political Asylum deadline. In 1997, he was called to testify before the United States Senate on this issue. In 2002, Edin earned a Masters in Science, Interior Design at Pratt Institute. After working for one of the most prestigious NYC residential designers, Jeffrey Billguber, he was recruited to serve as a designer and art director on two home makeover TV shows, Katie Brown and Surprise by Design on the A&E and Discovery channels. Since 2003, Edin’s focus has shifted to large-scale corporate interiors. His interior design work has frequently been recognized in leading publications, including Interior Design, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Committed to his passion for fine arts, Edin continues to exhibit his paintings and sculptures.

  3. Peter Matjašič

    Director and Tresurer


    Peter Matjašič is a senior program officer at Open Society Initiative for Europe, part of Open Society Foundations based in Barcelona with seven years of grant making experience. Peter leads the work on empowering citizens to hold power to account through whistleblowing as a tool of democratic practice and exercising their right to protest, whilst protected when doing so. Previously, he led the work on reclaiming family values and OSIFE's engagement around European Elections 2014; he also liaised with national foundations of OSF in the Western Balkans to foster mutual exchange and learning within the network. Born in Slovenia’s oldest town Ptuj, built by the Romans, during what was then the Federal Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia, situated at the crossroads of cultural influences between the Germanic, Slavic and Romanic worlds. Such a setting shaped Peter’s worldview and the rich history, diverse languages and dialects, as well as the complex politics of this particular corner of the world always fascinated him. This led Peter to study International Relations at the University of Ljubljana; inspired him to learn eight foreign languages; and get actively involved in civil society organizations, from the cultural sector to the youth political one. Prior to joining OSF, Peter had been active in the field of youth work for 12 years, starting with the Young European Federalists and finishing as president of the European Youth Forum (2011- 2014) advocating for the rights of young people and their organizations. In recent years, he dedicates his free time to playing tennis and co-organizing international LGBTI+ friendly tennis tournament to promote diversity and inclusion through sports both in the Balkans and in Barcelona. Next to tennis and languages, his main passions are Europe, human rights, gender justice, and citizen's empowerment.

  4. Bojana Cvejić

    Director


    Bojana Cvejić (Belgrade, 1975) is a performance theorist working in dance and philosophy. A graduate (BA, MA) from the University of Arts, Belgrade, Bojana followed two tracks in her twenties. She staged five music-theater productions in alternative venues in Belgrade from Cinema Rex (1996), Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice for BEMUS festival (2005) at the Museum of Yugoslavia, and lastly, Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni with an international cast of singers and Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra with Premil Petrović as conductor for BITEF (2008) in a large site-specific setting (Sajam, Belgrade fair). From 2001 until 2017, Bojana is the co-founding member of TkH (Walking Theory) editorial collective in Belgrade, with whom she realizes many research and performance projects, including TkH Walking Theory Journal for Performing Arts Theory which she co-edited a few volumes of. As a member of TkH and independently, Bojana took part in numerous regional collaborations with partner organizations on the independent scenes of Zagreb and Ljubljana, such as Maska, Frakcija and BADco. With Ana Vujanović and Marta Popivoda, Bojana investigated “Performance and the Public” at Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers 2010-12, Paris, resulting in the book Public Sphere by Performance (co-written with Vujanović, Berlin, bbooks, 2012). Her forthcoming book is Toward a Transindividual Self, co-written with Vujanović (Berlin, Archive books). From 2000-2003, Bojana shared her time between Belgrade and Brussels, where she wrote for and performed in experimental theater with the Dutch theater director Jan Ritsema, produced by Kaaitheater (Brussels). With TODAYulysses (2001) and Pipelines, a construction (2002), Cvejić and Ritsema toured many cities in Europe (from Portugal to Norway, from Germany to Croatia etc.) and performed at prestigious festivals such as Wiener Festwochen. Since 2001, Bojana teaches at P.A.R.T.S., contemporary dance school of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, with whom she published book-cum-DVD A Choreographer’s Score (Brussels, Mercator 2011-2013). In 2013, Bojana co-curated the exhibition Danse-Guerre at Musée de la danse, Rennes. She has made two videos “… in a non-wimpy way” (with Steve Paxton) and “Yvonne Rainer’s WAR”, presented at Musée de la Danse (Rennes), Culturgest Lisbon and Red Cat in Los Angeles. In 2014, she devised a choreography and lecture program Spatial Confessions at Tate Modern. After completing her PhD at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (London, 2013), Bojana published Choreographing Problems (Palgrave, 2015). Since 2017, she is Professor of Dance and Dance Theory at Oslo National Academy of Arts KhiO and lives between Brussels and Oslo.

  5. Uliks Fehmiu

    Director


    Uliks Fehmiu studied acting at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts at the University of Arts in Belgrade. He has performed extensively in stage productions in Belgrade and New York and appeared in numerous films. He is one of the founders of West End Productions which is involved in film, theater, and TV production in Europe. Fehmiu played the leading role in REDEMPTION STREET directed by Miroslav Terzić for which he won the Heart of Sarajevo award for Best Actor at the 18th Sarajevo Film Festival. For the movie OUR EVERYDAY LIFE directed by Ines Tanovic, he won the best actor award at the International Vilnius Film Festival. His most recent work includes SUCCESS the first HBO original series in Adria region directed by academy award winning director Danis Tanovic. He has also produced several critically acclaimed films, Oleg Novkovic’s WHITE WHITE WORLD which premiered in Official Competition at the Locarno Film Festival in 2010 and STITCHES directed by Miroslav Terzic which premiered at Berlinale Panorama Selection in 2019. He currently lives in New York.

Our Team

  1. Julijana Vučo

    Executive Director


    Julijana Vučo, italianist, university professor. She is the author of numerous scientific and professional papers and monographs on applied and educational linguistics. She is one of the founders of institutionalized Italian language teaching in Serbia and Montenegro. She is an expert of the Ministry of Education and Science of Serbia on foreign language issues, as well as the author of bilingual teaching in Serbia. She was a member of the Education Council of the Republic of Serbia in two convocations. She is a member of the Board for Education of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, domestic and international scientific associations. A visiting professor at universities around the world, especially in Italy and the region. Professor Vučo participated in numerous national and international scientific projects. She is active as a literary translator. Julijana was born and raised in Belgrade, a city she identifies with, especially its' traditional international spirit. She considers Italy as a part of her broadened cultural space. Julijana loves reading, listening to opera, following rowing, walking and spending quality time with her children and grandchildren.

  2. Tanja Djordjevic

    Grants and Administration Manager


    Tanja Djordjevic is a Senior Program Administrative Specialist at Open Society Initiative for Europe, part of Open Society Foundations based in Barcelona since its inception in 2013.  Tanja is in charge of a wide range of finance administrative tasks linked to the office's core business such as financial transactions, budgeting, grants administration, contracts and events organization, and supporting overall operations. In her role Tanja collaborates closely with other offices across the OSF network and helps in setting up and implementing global procedures. Tanja was born and raised in Belgrade, a metropolis she loves dearly and close to her heart. After graduating in Spanish Philology from the University of Belgrade she ventured to Spain and lived in Madrid for a while before she returned to her home country. As it often happens, love was the reason she moved back to Spain, this time to the enchanting city of Barcelona.   Tanja has more than 18 years of experience in international companies and organizations. Prior to joining OSF Tanja worked at the United Nations as Programme Assistant where she was in charge of grant administration and administrative support of the program. She is fluent in Spanish, English, and Catalan. Serbian is her mother tongue. In her free time she loves spending time with her dog Lui, exploring nearby beaches and reading up on spirituality.

  3. Žarko Cvejić

    Translator


    Žarko Cvejić is a musicologist, professor, and vice-dean for international cooperation at the Faculty of Media and Communication in Belgrade, where he teaches bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral courses in European and American classical and popular music history, cultural and media studies. He holds a B.A. and M.St. degree from the University of Oxford (UK, 2004) and an M.A. and Ph.D. degree from Cornell University (USA, 2011). Apart from his doctoral dissertation, so far he has published a book-length academic monograph in Serbian and English, two essay collections in English, as well as a large number of academic articles and books chapters, mostly in English. In addition to writing and teaching, he also works as a translator of academic literature from Serbo-Croatian to English and vice versa, in musicology, art and performance theory, and other related fields in the humanities.

Imagining My Balkans

Dr Aleksandra Jovićević is full professor at the Department of History Anthropology Religions Art Performance (Dipartimento di Storia Antropologia Religioni Arte Spettacolo) at the University of Rome, "La Sapienza" and a visiting professor at the Belgrade University of Art. Dr Jovićević is a President of the Advisory Board of Dragan Klaić’s Foundation for Exceptional Scholars, established by Beka Vučo and Milena Dragicevic-Sesic.