Northwestern Events Calendar


Political, Public Health, and Psychosocial Impacts of COVID-19 in the Former Yugoslavia

When: Wednesday, August 26, 2020
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Central

Where: Online
Webcast Link

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: FREE

Contact: Global Learning Office   (847) 467-6400

Group: Northwestern Buffett Global Learning Office

Co-Sponsor: Buffett Institute for Global Affairs

Category: Academic, Multicultural & Diversity, Global & Civic Engagement


Please join four key faculty members from the GLO/GHS summer study abroad program, Comparative Public Health: Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, to discuss how regional politics and culture have shaped responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts in the Western Balkans. Relatively small countries with proportionately small epidemics compared to the U.S.—recent figures on Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH, population 3.5 million) suggest only a few thousand cases, and Serbia (7 million) has been reporting case numbers approaching 15,000—Serbia and BiH nevertheless face the kinds political and institutional challenges, upended daily routines and economies, and exacerbated inequalities now felt acutely all over the world.

How has the pandemic played out differently in Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and why? What social inequalities have been thrown into relief or exacerbated by the pandemic, and in particular how are key vulnerable groups such as Roma and refugees impacted? How have regional health systems fared, and what challenges are these systems likely to face in months ahead? What does the pandemic reveal about politics and governance in the region, and what roles have public health experts played? How do recent historical experiences of upheaval and collective trauma, from the collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s to today, shape resilience and mental health in the face of the new global crisis? Finally, from the vantage point a region long entangled with U.S. culture and foreign policy, what do our panelists make of America’s increasingly disastrous COVID-19 trajectory?

Wednesday, August 26
12:00 PM CDT
RSVP for Zoom Link:


Speaker Bios:

Ivan Djordjević is an anthropologist and research associate at Institute of Ethnography, Belgrade, Serbia. He holds a PhD in anthropology from University of Belgrade and his recent work is mainly focused on health issues related to disadvantaged Roma communities in Serbia and neighboring countries. In 2018 and 2019 he was a contributor and co-coordinator of Northwestern Global Learning Office Program: "Comparative Public Health: Serbia and Bosnia-Hercegovina". During Spring Quarter 2020 he served as the first Radulovacki Visiting Scholar in Global Health Studies program at Northwestern, teaching a course titled "Health care under socialism and postsocialism".

Nemanja Džuverović is an Associate Professor in Peace Studies at the University of Belgrade. His research areas include the inequality-conflict nexus, welfare in post-conflict environments, and the political economy of liberal peacebuilding and international statebuilding in the Balkans. Nemanja is a co-coordinator of the Comparative Public Health: Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina summer study abroad program. In academic 2019-20 he was Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Northwestern University and he was teaching the course Peacebuilding, Conflict, and Public Health as part of Global Health Studies program.

Marija Šarić is the Director of the psychosocial support services organization Wings of Hope for over a decade, Marija (Maja) Šarić has been working in Bosnian civil society to support vulnerable and war-impacted families since the early 1990s. She has degrees in economics, sociology, philosophy, peace studies, and psychotraumatology, and has worked in numerous consulting and advising roles for NGOs, government ministries, and international organizations throughout her career.

Bojana Matejić earned her MD as well as a PhD in social medicine from the University of Belgrade and serves as a full-time professor at Belgrade’s School of Medicine. Her research interests include women’s health, primary health care policy, and preventative approaches in public health. Dr. Matejić serves as a primary instructor for the public health unit in Belgrade.


Moderator Bio:

Peter Locke is a cultural and medical anthropologist focused on bringing ethnographic evidence to the comparative study of global health and humanitarian intervention in post-conflict societies. His field research, writing, and teaching all explore and critique the intersection of humanitarian work and reigning modes of evidence production in contexts of contentious local politics and lingering histories of conflict and mass violence. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Instruction and Co-Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Global Health Studies program at Northwestern. Peter serves as the Program Director for the Comparative Public Health: Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina summer study abroad program.


About #GLOVicariously Webinar Series: 

Amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing anti-racism protests, global engagement across difference and development of intercultural skills are critically needed to build a more just and peaceful world. As the Global Learning Office, we know that travel restrictions and social distancing guidelines have halted student mobility and study abroad programming, but want to continue fostering global learning opportunities for students throughout this summer 2020 through our virtual webinar series, #GLOVicariously. #GLOVicariously webinars will feature speakers involved in GLO programs who have expertise on a variety of critical global issues. Students will gain a greater understanding of these topics and more while learning more about the cultural contexts and systems in which they unfold. This webinar series is intended primarily for students, but is open to anyone who wishes to attend.

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