Coming from Serbia but living in Belgium, and spending a long time in Great Britain, I am, and have been, constantly exposed to cultural differences. This has placed me in a unique and privileged position, helping me to not only deepen my own understanding of different cultures but to assist others in developing their understanding.
In my contact with other cultures, I have witnessed disorientation, and even shock, when people are unable to recognise, and indeed appreciate, that that there is a single Truth which embraces all our individual approaches. Sadly, this attitude tends to create unavoidable tensions and challenges between people. It is as if they are all looking at Truth from different angles, but failing to realise that there is only one Truth. However, I have found that when we widen our perspective, we are able to move forward in collaboration with people from other cultures.
I have worked more than thirty years in the field of human relations and am deeply grateful for all that I have learned. I have always tried to bring people together by preserving and celebrating diversity whilst at the same time focusing on what we share in common. This brings richness to relationships and a beautiful quality of co-operation.
In the1990s I organized an exciting series of lectures, inviting foreign speakers to Serbia. It was a successful lecture programme and helped us all to increase our level of understanding and expand beyond cultural boundaries. It also provided us with the opportunity to learn from each other and to celebrate both what we shared in common and how we approached life differently. I think this is key factor in helping people to move forward in the recognition of their common humanity.
My work to date has, I believe, been rewarding to others, as well to as myself. I now wish to take it further and actively seek new openings where I can facilitate this sort of intercultural dialogue. I am happy to work in a flexible, open and focussed way to achieve this end.
In 1998 I married a Flemish man, and in 1999 I moved to Belgium to be with him. Marrying into another culture and integrating with a family from a different tradition helped me to enrich my understanding and to appreciate viewpoints other than my own.
Both my husband and myself were deeply grateful for the opportunity to deepen our understanding of another culture. Such was our belief and commitment to the work of intercultural understanding, we decided to make a start by educating ourselves ~ my husband learned Serbian and I learned Dutch. We viewed this as our own small contribution to the spirit of the work of mutual understanding and the building of bridges. From this point we went on to develop a course teaching the Serbian language to Dutch speaking people. This entailed a great deal of work, but we enjoyed it immensely. Drawing upon my husband’s skills as a computer programmer, we created a CD-Rom, in Serbian, featuring a dictionary in excess of ten thousand words and more than sixty lectures.
We are confident that the course has been helpful to people (and will be available for all time). However, like any initial enterprise, we are aware that it needs to be further refined. We have improvements in mind and plan to add further lectures.
Many years ago I taught the Serbian language to an Officer in the Belgium military forces (the ‘Blue Helms’). At that time they were engaged on a mission in the territory of ex-Yugoslavia. I also worked for Belgian companies who had established business in Serbia, for example, Knauf. I was privileged to be invited to contribute to various conferences in Belgium, including a meeting of the European religious leaders who discussed religious questions in the ex-Yu. I also attended ‘The Balkan balance sheet’ congress in Brussels. This was an important meeting bringing together the political leaders from ex-YU countries and the EU authorities. I should say that my contribution to these conferences started ostensibly in a small way, as interpreter, but evolved considerably as new contacts and friendships were made. And so it was that the role of interpreter developed into that of inter-cultural communicator. I relished this work and would welcome further opportunities in the field.
In 2008, when the Eurovision song context was hosted in Belgrade I appeared several times on the Belgium Radio Donna, which was broadcast on the leading Flemish TV ‘Eén’. In those programs I presented Serbian culture for a Belgian audience and musicians who travelled to Serbia to sing. I also collaborated in making the short film ‘Tata’ by the Belgian film director Nicolaas Rahoens. This entailed giving language advice to the famous Belgian actor Luc De Vos who played a Serb.
As you have read, I enjoy bringing people of different nationalities together and have a wealth of experience to offer. I am available to coach or teach companies and individuals who have contacts with Serbia. Professionally I am educated as a consultant with an MA focused upon Serbian cultural heritage, incorporating Orthodox theology (an integral part of Serbian culture).
I would be pleased to have an informal chat about your specific requirements. Do please feel free to contact me.