Snežana Kresoja's Story
Snežana Kresoja is a WPSP delegate from Serbia who participated in the WPSP Institute "Peacebuilding and Development" at Bryn Mawr College.
Kresoja is a Political Advisor to the president of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina (Republic of Serbia). Snezana’s professional endeavors are aimed at building the capacities of citizens/institutions to overcome obstacles to democratization, good governance, and the rule of law in multi-ethnic communities. Her areas of professional interests are: processes of democratic transition and institutional consolidation as the cardinal stone of political, economic, social post-communist transformation, and issues of facing/dealing with the past as well as identity issues – to understand and accept of European values and standards as a basic concept of strengthening and building up multidimensional European identity patterns.
Being a woman in Serbia in the 1990s meant that Kresoja had "no support." She could not get an official job, even though she was part of the 6% of women who had a university degree. From 1989 to 2008, instead of having an official job, Kresoja was involved in different civil society activities instead. For almost 20 years she was excluded from the system.
As a civil society activist, Kresoja did not benefit from any kind of protection or support. One highly positioned representative of the regime of the1990s told her: “You do not have strong political party behind you. You do not have an influential family, influential friends or an influential lover. The only way for you to survive is to become my lover.” There was about a 50 year age difference between them.
In the face of degradation and humiliation, Kresoja has been busy striving for new knowledge, facing life’s ups and downs, but staying optimistic and believing in change in her near and regional surroundings. She have been hoping that her endeavors will bring some changes and make Servia a better place for the future generations. In 2006, she launched Centre for Politics and Euro-Atlantic Partnership with a group of people who believed in “daring to be free” and “daring to think.” The goals of the partnership are promoting active and responsible participation of citizens in public life and reminding the next generations that there are numerous ways to become involved, and that every one of us is sometimes considered as “the other” on the other side of the border.
In 2008, being appointed as the political advisor to the president of the Assembly of the AP of Vojvodina, a high position as the credible analyst of political processes, opened a new professional chapter for Kresoja. She states that it was a strange feeling to enter the institution without any political party membership card, but the Assembly was where she felt she was supposed to be.
Meeting and talking with a group of brave and highly-spirited women during WPSP Bryn Mawr Institute, Kresoja realized that she dared to cross real and, more importantly, symbolic borders.