Ordinary Heroes exposes young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina (and across the region) to stories of inter-ethnic rescue during the 92-95 Bosnian war. The program consists of four short documentaries, each of which recounts a different story of inter-ethnic rescue, a photo exhibition about inter-ethnic rescue, and an interactive educational curriculum. Stories of inter-ethnic rescue counter divisive nationalist narratives being passed to young people across Bosnia and Herzegovina. Countering this narrative is especially important because, due to the institutionalized segregation, many young people run in ethnically homogenous circles and rely on community, family, and biased media narratives to form an opinion of ‘the other. Online, this results in insulation where young people are only exposed to one narrative telling them that the other is bad. Ordinary Heroes exposes young people to content they would not otherwise be exposed to. This content not only neutralizes hate speech in the moment, but also motivates young people to reexamine and more critically view the narratives bouncing around their respective bubbles.
Leslie holds a BSc in Biology from Baylor University and an MA in International Studies from the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel of School of International Studies. In addition to her position as Co-founder and Vice President of the Post-Conflict Research Center, she is also the Co-founder and Associate Editor of Balkan Diskurs. She has worked in Kenya, Bangladesh, and the Balkans on various peacebuilding and development projects and led the development and design of PCRC’s award-winning Ordinary Heroes Peacebuilding Program, which was personally recognized by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon after receiving 1st place for the 2014-2015 Intercultural Innovation Award given by the UN Alliance of Civilizations and the BMW Group.
Mirko is an award-winning feature and documentary director, with an extensive photography background both in fashion (worked with iconic photographer Donna Trope) and photojournalistic assignments in post-conflict areas, as the Balkan. Mirko graduated with a BA Honours in Photography from the University of East London and worked for few years in advertising before setting up his own production company Pinch Media together with writer/producer Enrico Tessarin. Some of Pinch Media mentors and associates include Allan Niblo from Vertigo Films, BAFTA-winner Noel Clarke's Unstoppable Entertainment and documentary legend Nick Broomfield. In 2014 he directed and shot the series Ordinary Heroes, winning the first prize from the UN Intercultural Innovation Award given by Ban Ki-moon.
Myles Wallingford studied journalism and political science at the University of Colorado at Boulder where he organized the annual Conference on World Affairs. His multidisciplinary background includes work with social enterprises, business development organizations, political advocacy groups, local government, and various news publications.
After finishing high school in Kladanj, Safet moved to Sarajevo to pursue a degree in Law at the University of Sarajevo. During his studies he worked for a local NGO as a journalist and researcher, focusing on BiH’s Euro-Atlantic integration and ongoing peace restoration. Subsequently, he worked as a local fixer and translator for numerous researchers, journalists, and newspapers, including The Boston Daily, Financial Times, Allgemeine Zeitung. Since the establishment of PCRC in 2011, Safet has been the organization's general manager. Safet's primary professional interest is empowering the youth of BiH to become agents of positive change.
Samantha holds a BA in International Studies and Religious Studies from Northwestern University and an MA in Human Rights from University College London, where her studies focused on the economic, social and cultural rights of ethnic and religious minorities. Before coming to Sarajevo, Samantha held positions in development, communications, and community engagement for NGOs in London and Chicago. Her primary professional interests lie in using effective storytelling to build interpersonal and intergroup empathy to elicit social change
Tatjana has 10 years of experience in the fields of intercultural dialogue, reconciliation and youth activism and holds a Law degree from the University of East Sarajevo. Her active engagement in the civil society sector was focused around youth health and reproductive rights and she was the youngest Trainer of Peer Education in BiH. In addition to her position with PCRC, Tatjana is also an Associate Editor for Balkan Diskurs – a regional multimedia platform aimed at promoting inclusion and intercultural dialogue by sharing diverse content and giving youth the skills necessary to become future media makers.
Velma is a researcher, journalist, peacebuilding expert and human rights defender from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition to her position as Founder and President of the Post-Conflict Research Center, she is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Balkan Diskurs, and Project Manager of the War Art Reporting and Memory (WARM) Foundation, Sarajevo Branch. As a researcher and producer she has worked on numerous publications and films about the 1992-1995 Bosnian war, including Uspomene 677, In the Land of Blood and Honey by Angelina Jolie, and I Came to Testify and War Redefined from the PBS series Women, War & Peace.
About organization:PCRC is dedicated to restoring a culture of peace and preventing violent conflict in the Western Balkans by creating, implementing and supporting unconventional and innovative approaches to peace education, post-conflict research, human rights and transitional justice. One of PCRC’s ongoing projects is Balkan Diskurs, an independent multimedia platform that provides young citizen journalists, activists and academics in the Western Balkans with a space- free from censorship- to publish their opinions, analyses and impressions of relevant issues in the region.