Civic Courage Award

The Center for Bosnian Studies’ Civic Courage Award is intended to recognize individuals who exhibit courageous commitment to the civic values of respect, equality, and pluralism that represent the best traditions of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Recipients are presented with the award at a formal ceremony and reception hosted by the Center for Bosnian Studies.

Recipients of the Civic Courage Award

Elvedin Pašić, 2021

A survivor of the genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Elvedin Pašić was the first witness to testify in 2012 at the war crimes trial of the military commander Ratko Mladić by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. His harrowing testimony was instrumental in convicting Mladić of extermination, forcible deportation, and murder. (Mladić was also found guilty of numerous other crimes against humanity, including genocide.) As a witness, Mr. Pašić has provided evidence that continues to stand as a bulwark against genocide and genocide denial. As a U.S. citizen, he has earned the gratitude and respect of his adopted community, to which he has contributed personally and professionally.

Nusreta Sivac, 2020

Working as a judge from 1978 until the outbreak of war Bosnia in 1992, Nusreta Sivac became an inmate at the Bosnian Serb-run Omarska camp in Prijedor where she and other women at the camp were raped, beaten, and tortured. After the camp's closure, she became an activist for victims of rape and is credited with helping in the recognition of wartime rape as a war crime under international law. Ms. Sivac helped prepare indictments for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, where she has also testified. Her story is featured in the Emmy-award winning documentary Calling the Ghosts: A Story about Rape, War, and Women. She is a member of the Women's Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Hasan Nuhanović, 2019

A survivor of the 1995 genocide in Srebrenica, Bosnia- Herzegovina, Hasan Nuhanović has worked tirelessly for twenty-three years to bring truth to the world and justice to Srebrenica’s victims. Through civil, criminal, and international courts as well as through his writing, Mr. Nuhanović continues “to ensure that Bosnia is able to move on and face the future, while acknowledging its tragic past” (Holocaust Memorial Day Trust). He is the author of Under the UN Flag: The International Community and the Srebrenica Genocide (DES, 2007) and The Last Refuge: A True Story of War, Survival and Life Under Siege in Srebrenica (Peter Owen Publishers, 2019).

Refik Hodzić, 2016

Refik Hodzić is an Award-Winning documentarist and Director of Communications for the International Center for Transitional Justice. A native of Prijedor, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hodžić has held positions in media and communication, including in Bosnian-language radio and international news outlets, as well as with the United Nations, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and the International Center for Transitional Justice. In 2004, Hodžić co-founded XY Films, an independent film and television production company producing documentary films dealing with the legacy of war crimes committed during the 1990s. Over the years, the main focus of Hodžić’s journalism, film-making and outreach work has been on transitional justice issues related to the former Yugoslavia. His work has drawn global attention to issues of human rights and social justice in countries around the world.

Kemal and Vesna Kurspahić, 2015

As wartime editor-in-chief of the Bosnian newspaper Oslobodjenje, Kemal Kurspahić led a multi-ethnic staff in publishing the paper every day throughout the 3 1⁄2-year siege of Sarajevo. Working from an old bomb shelter, Kurspahić was dedicated to maintaining high professional standards and ethnic and religious tolerance in the midst of terror. He has written four books including As Long as Sarajevo Exists and Prime Time Crime, and has received some of the highest honors in international journalism.

Vesna and Kemal Kurspahić met while students at Belgrade University. She is the curator of a photo exhibit on the life and culture of Bosnia-Herzegovina called Documenting Hometown and Family History in Stari Majdan, Bosnia.