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Young Serbian shouts for students in Sweden

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Young Serbian shouts for students in Sweden
Dejan Bojanic is passionate about education. Photo: Private
07:21 CET+01:00
For this week's My Swedish Career we meet Dejan Bojanic, an international youth coordinator working for Save the Children in Stockholm. With a beating heart for education, he's moved from Serbia to Sweden to create a global youth network.

Aged just 24, Dejan Bojanic can already boast meeting inspirational figures including Malala Yousafzai and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.  

But despite a worldwide network gleaned from working on international youth education projects, he's chosen to settle in Stockholm this year, with a post at global charity Save The Children.

Sweden has recently seen school results tumble and Bojanic believes he can make a difference.

Dejan Bojanic and Ban Ki-moon
Dejan Bojanic together with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Photo: Private

“I always knew Sweden to be at the forefront of great things, take equality for instance, and I came with the assumption that Sweden has a high level of respecting human rights…I'm interested to dig deep into what went wrong with education,” he tells The Local.

After just three months in Sweden, Bojanic is already identifying some key features of the Swedish education that he believes can be improved.

“What stands out is that the learner is never a part of the decision-making process in the educational system – not in school and not on a regional, nor a national, level.”

Unlike in many other countries, the Swedish education system lacks a student senate or an organized student body that voices its needs.

By introducing high school and university representatives who propose, debate or vote on their education alongside other decision makers, Bojanic believes education in Sweden can be shaped to better fit the needs of its students.

“I'm glad Sweden recognizes that there's room for improvement and invests in that – by supporting a movement with non-governmental organizations and by bringing people from abroad who can give new perspectives,” he says.

Bojanic is on a one year contract with Save the Children and is also working on a new project aimed at forming a global network of youth-led organizations linked to the charity from all around the world.

He has previously been part of other international education initiatives, including being selected to be part of a global youth advisory group working with the United Nations.

While still living in Serbia, Bojanic was among fifteen young people given the chance to address education campaigner Malala Yousafzai at the UN's headquarters.

Malala Yousafzai at UN Youth Assembly 2013
Dejan Bojanic (far left) at the UN headquarters with  Malala Yousafzai in 2013. Photo: Private

He describes the experience of meeting the recent Nobel Peace Prize recipient as “impressive and super memorable” and said that she had “strong, interesting points about the right to education”.

Bojanic remains humble about his own qualities, saying “I'm not an extremely inspirational leader”.

But he hopes he has the right approach for his mission, including a passion for exchanging views with people from different cultures.

“If you come with a good attitude, acceptance, and readiness to learn, then nothing is super surprising but it gets you thinking – and it makes you Wikipedia things!"

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