by Eddie Čustović
I was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and as a boy endured traumatic experiences during the civil war that took place from 1992 through 1995. My family lived as refugees in difficult circumstances in Switzerland before we finally settled in Australia, the place I now call home.
Australia has given me everything: a stable lifestyle, social security, amazing educational opportunities and, most importantly, a safe environment for my family. I am an academic and industry project coordinator at La Trobe University, in Melbourne, Australia. I serve on many global leadership boards and councils and am an entrepreneur. I also spend much of my time volunteering and helping others—which is my passion. Last year I decided to try to help the youth of my birth country by organizing an IEEE event for them in Sarajevo [above].
Although it has been 20 years since the Dayton peace agreement was signed—which ended the civil war—and despite being the heart of Europe, Bosnia and Herzegovina still faces economic, social, and political challenges. The country has been attempting to move forward economically, but it’s constantly caught in the middle of ethnic division that slows down and sometimes completely eliminates positive change, especially for the country’s youth. They face a number of challenges including an indifferent attitude by the government and industry toward their needs.