International experiences have marked Samir Beharić’s life. First, undertaking his undergraduate education in four different countries, to his Humanity in Action Fellowship in Copenhagen, and today completing a Master’s program at the University of Vienna and the University of Leipzig, Samir continues to push himself out of his comfort zone and imagine the world through competing perspectives.
“Studying abroad was my great passion that has broadened my horizons and offered me a much-needed perspective on issues discussed within my home country and internationally.”
“It is the ability of young people to think extremely critically about the people in power, educational institutions and the political system we operate within. To exploit this potential, we need a critical educational system, creative methods of knowledge-transfer and inspiring teachers who can bring a student to think outside of the box.”
For Samir, “building international alliances is a prerequisite to tackling some of the biggest threats faced by our global society.” Through Humanity in Action, Samir has built these alliances while examining his home country of Bosnia and Herzegovina through critical lenses. Growing up in an education system that segregated students based on their ethnicity and religion from a young age, Samir felt pressed to, “stand up against nationalistic tendencies in Bosnian politics.” His childhood influenced him to seek out other opportunities advocating for equality.
Hearing about the Humanity in Action Fellowship from a Greek Humanity in Action Fellow, Samir hoped it’d be “a great platform to foster generational goals,” for Bosnia. Once he began the fellowship, he realized it was so much more. Today, he is proud to have become part of a “transatlantic pool of inspiring young leaders who will one day become pillars of their own societies.”
“Building international alliances is a prerequisite to tackling some of the biggest threats faced by our global society.”
During Samir’s Fellowship, he decided to explore societal responses to Islam, women wearing the hijab and integration of Muslim minorities into Danish society. He was shocked that many immigrant communities who had fled war, prosecution or economic hardship themselves, would have such negative feelings towards Muslim migrants. Samir quickly realized that to change these perceptions, he would need to reach out to people in his and other global communities, educating and exposing them to other cultures in order to give them and their societies the best possibility to thrive.
Samir is passionate about keeping Bosnian schools desegregated and ensuring that students have the right information for opportunities to study abroad and take part in programs as he did. Working with the Humanity in Action network, Samir has fine-tuned his research and activism, constantly learning about social issues often not discussed in his homeland. His activism within the network has taken him to the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe in Washington, D.C., where he is currently serving as the Lantos Congressional Fellow.
The Lantos Congressional Fellowship Program provides young scholars and future leaders the opportunity to work in the U.S. Congress and gain a greater understanding of the role of human rights in the United States legislative process. Being introduced to the proactive young people of the Humanity in Action network has pushed Samir to continue to reach out of his comfort zone and exposed him to the most diverse group of people Samir could have ever imagined meeting. Humanity in Action has given him a wider perspective crucial for comprehending today’s world.