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Humanity in Action BiH mourns the death of its former Board Member General Jovan Divjak



2016 Sarajevo Fellows with Jovan Divjak at the Old Jewish Cemetery in Sarajevo

Jovan Divjak, a former Humanity in Action BiH Board Member, passed away on Thursday, April 08, 2021 in Sarajevo, at the age of 84.

General Jovan Divjak was a part of the Humanity in Action Bosnia and Herzegovina, since its founding in 2011 until 2018. Apart from his dedicated service in the HIA BiH Governing Board, general Divjak was a reoccurring speaker in the HIA Summer Fellowship programs, as well as in the Humanity in Action International Conference held in Sarajevo in 2012, which inter alia included site visits to the memorial site Srebrenica-Potočari, and the frontlines of the Sarajevo siege.

Jovan Divjak at the Old Jewish Cemetery during a site visit

General Jovan Divjak was born in 1937 in Belgrade. From 1956 to 1959 he attended the Military Academy in Belgrade. He proceeded with developing a professional military career in Belgrade, Sarajevo and Mostar, where he furthered his education. Since 1966, he has lived and worked in Sarajevo. He served as a general and a military instructor in the Bosnian army from 1992-1997.

In 1994, general Divjak contributed to establishing the “Education Builds Bosnia and Herzegovina” Foundation, which aims to help children whose families were victims of war, by providing them scholarships to advance their education prospects. He served as the organization’s executive director ever since. He was an active participant in many international conferences, seminars and discussions and has written many articles for national and international media. He co-authored a book with journalist Florence La Bruyere (France) Sarajevo, My Love in French and in Italian. He also wrote Expecting Truth and Justice – Vienna Diary.

Jovan Divjak with Konstanty Gebert in Sarajevo

General Divjak won many international and national awards, including the French Legion of Honor, Order of Lafayette, “Sixth of April” Award of Sarajevo, the International League of Humanists Plaque, and the Plaque of the Sarajevo Canton. In 2006, the Worldwide Council of the Universal Ambassador Peace Circle in Geneva awarded him the title of Universal Peace Ambassador.

Divjak was immensely respected by his fellow Sarajevans, and often referred to as “Uncle Jovo”. Since his passing has been announced in the media, many international and local officials, and countless citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, have paid their respects, expressed their sincere sympathies, and said their final goodbye to general Divjak, whom they all regarded as a person of utmost integrity and honor, and to whom they are grateful for being one of the key defenders of besieged Sarajevo during the 1992-1995 Bosnian War.