Our organization

BFPE today employs 13 highly dedicated professionals, who are engaged in programs; administration and financial management; and logistics. Our interns - two of them at this moment - are also part of the team.

  • Sonja Licht

    President

  • Jelena Volić Hellbusch

    CIM expert

  • Valentina Đureta

    Alumni Program Coordinator

  • Marko Savković

    Program Director

  • Aleksandra Ćurčić

    Head of Accounting

  • Nebojša Miljanović

    Logistics Coordinator

  • Slađana Dugonjić del Castillo

    Financial Consultant

  • Vladimir Kolar

    Administrative and Financial Assistant

  • Đorđe Popović

    Program Coordinator

  • Bogdan Urošević

    Program Coordinator

  • Damjan Malbašić

    Program Coordinator

  • Ivanka Mihailović

    Program Assistant

  • Marko Sibinović

    Logistics Asistant

Sonja Licht

President

Sonja Licht is the President of the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence in Belgrade, Serbia.

She is currently Chair of the Executive Committee of the International Centre for Democratic Transition (ICDT), and a member of the Advisory Boards of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) and the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). She is also a member of the Executive Board of the Jefferson Institute in both Washington D.C. and Belgrade. In Serbia, she was Chair of the BOD of Politika Newspapers and a member of the Executive Board of the Women’s Fund Reconstruction. She was also a board member of the Council of the European Cultural Foundation.

From 1991 to 2003 she was the first Executive Director and then President of the Fund for an Open Society (Soros Foundation) in Yugoslavia (later Serbia), a major donor of a vigorous civil society. Between 1991 and 1995 Sonja Licht was the co-chair of the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly, a broad coalition of various civic organisations and movements from all European and North American countries. She was part of the Yugoslav dissident movement from the late sixties, and in the mid-eighties she founded numerous local and international non-governmental organisations, including a number of women’s organizations.

In 2007 she became a member of the newly established Foreign Affairs Council of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as joining the Council for EU Integration of the Government of the Republic of Serbia.

Sonja Licht is a laureate of numerous international peace and human rights awards. In 2008 she received the Star of Italian Solidarity and the French Legion of Honour. Weekly magazine “Vreme” proclaimed her Person of the Year 2007.

Sonja Licht was a Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow of the Robert Bosch Academy in 2015.

Jelena Volić Hellbusch

CIM expert

Jelena Volić-Hellbusch is BFPE’s CIM expert, tasked with conceptualizing new directions for the organization’s development.

Previously, from 2002 to 2015, she taught German language and literature, first at the “Union” University in Belgrade, and then at the University of Kragujevac. While at the University “Union”, Jelena participated in the development of several interdisciplinary programs, among which the Studies of European Culture count as most important.

From 1996 to 2002, Jelena was directly involved in the processes of political transformation of Serbia, establishing and leading the Belgrade office of Friedrich Ebert, as well as the Heinrich Boll Foundation.

Jelena holds a PhD in World Literature, which she received at the Free University of Berlin (Freie Universität), Master’s degree from the University of Münster (Westphälische Wilchelms-University) and the Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade. She received professional training in study programs in Florence and Groningen.

Her academic career began at the aforementioned University of Munster, and continued at the Free University of Berlin where she worked as a teaching assistant and lector.

Jelena is the Secretary General of the Forum Serbia Germany, partner organization of BFPE.

Finally, she is an accomplished writer, with novels founded in an unique interpretation and sensibility for the Balkans.

Valentina Đureta

Alumni Program Coordinator

Valentina Đureta holds a degree in Albanian language and literature obtained at the Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade. She completed her master studies at the Faculty for Economics, Finance and Administration (FEFA), Singidunum University, where she defended her master thesis written on policies of the EU and the issue of waste management in Serbia.

Valentina has been working in the BFPE since December 2004, developing and implementing programs and projects where special emphasis is placed on protection of the environment and sustainable use of energy. Most recently, such projects were concerned with sustainable use of biomass in Serbia; or the work of the Green Parliamentary Group.

As the coordinator of our alumni program, Valentina is in charge of BFPE’s oldest educational program – the Annual Seminar – and takes care of the activities initiated for our alumni network.

Marko Savković

Program Director

Marko Savkovic works as Program Director at the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence (BFPE), where he is tasked with providing the overall guidance in regard to organization’s activities.

He is in charge of the program of the Belgrade Security Forum, while he was directing the Regional Academy for Democracy from 2013-2015.

Previously, Marko worked for seven years as a researcher in the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCSP), specializing in the fields of defense reform, civil-military relations and Euro-Atlantic integration. While working in BCSP, he co-authored the first “Dictionary of European Security” published in BHS languages, followed by a pioneering study in Serbia’s and Western Balkans’ civilian capacities for peace operations.

Marko holds a PhD from the Belgrade Faculty of Political Science, with thesis written on privatization of peace-building efforts worldwide. From 2011 to 2014, he was a guest lecturer at the Centre for Security Cooperation – RACVIAC.

His work and thoughts have been published extensively in academic journals (Journal of Regional SecurityAnalyticalVojno delo) as well as various magazines and portals (European Voice, Pescanik.net). He regularly writes for Novi magazin weekly and Danas daily newspapers.

Marko is a member of the working group dedicated to chapter 31 of Serbia’s European integration process, within the National Convent on the EU. He is an alumni of the Belgrade Open School and Die Zeit foundation’s Bucerius Summer School on Global Governance.

Aleksandra Ćurčić

Head of Accounting

Aleksandra Ćurčić, Chief of Accounting has been working at BFPE since its foundation.

She has gained considerable experience in management of material and financial affairs in government institutions and non-governmental organizations in the last 34 years.

At the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence she is tasked with organizing, coordinating and controlling the financial aspects of our work – accounting; preparation and development of official financial statements in accordance with the relevant domestic law.

Nebojša Miljanović

Logistics Coordinator

Nebojša Miljanović has been with the BFPE since its foundation.

A highly skilled and versatile individual with 25 years of experience in different aspects of logistics, Nebojša provides invaluable support both to BFPE’s program and financial department.

Previously, he worked for the Fund for Open Society (Soros Foundation) in Yugoslavia (and then Serbia); as well as Yugoslav Airlines (JAT) and the “Moma Stanojlović” Military Institute in Batajnica.

Nebojša’s original educational background is in economics.

Slađana Dugonjić del Castillo

Financial Consultant

Sladjana Dugonjic Del Castillo has been BFPE’s Financial Consultant since 2006.

Mrs. Dugonjic Del Castillo is responsible for the financial management of the organization as well as for assisting in the procurement process and for overseeing all procurement activities. She is a regular member of the project team responsible for preparing, realizing and reporting all the organization project activities.

Mrs. Dugonjic Del Castillo has been working for over 20 years in the civil society sector, as a Financial Programme Assistant from 1995 until 2000 (‘Film Publik Art’ and INGO ‘Cordaid’), as a Financial Manager from 2000 to 2003 (INGO ‘Cordaid’), as a Regional Programme Manager for the Balkans from 2003 until 2006 (INGO ‘Pax Christi Nederland’) and as a Financial and Legal Consultant for international projects since 2006 (different INGOs/NGOs).

During her 20-year long career Mrs. Dugonjic Del Castillo has been working on numerous projects funded by different local and international private and public donors (USAID, EU, UN, OSCE, GIZ, OSI, SIDA, BTD, Olof Palme International Center, EFB, Visegrad Fund, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Rockefeller Brother Fund, Foundation Robert Bosch, CARITAS, Serbian Ministries, Embassies in Serbia, etc.).

Vladimir Kolar

Administrative and Financial Assistant

Vladimir Kolar started to work at BFPE in 2009 first as an intern, then as a logistics assistant.

He has been engaged in numerous BFPE activities, with concrete assignments in implementation and reporting.

Currently, he is BFPE’s administrative and program assistant, as well as Ms. Licht’s personal assistant (PA). Also, he is the Belgrade Security Forum logistics coordinator.

Đorđe Popović

Program Coordinator

Born in Belgrade in 1978, Djordje Popovic graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of Belgrade and he finished his master studies of peace and security policy at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy in Hamburg.

He was engaged in Serbian civil society for a long time, especially in Belgrade Centre for Security Policy where he spent seven years as a researcher and education coordinator. Before he joined BFPE Djordje worked in the Government Office for Cooperation with Civil Society as an Adviser.

He was a guest researcher at the UK Defense Academy and Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI). He is a member of the Forum for international relations of the European Movement in Serbia. Djordje was a participant of numerous conferences and he is an author of many publications and articles in the area of national, regional and Euro-Atlantic security.

Djordje fluently speaks English and German language.

At BFPE, Djordje is primarily tasked with coordinating the Regional Academy for Democracy and the Belgrade Dialogues.

Bogdan Urošević

Program Coordinator

Bogdan Urosevic works as a Program Coordinator at the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence, where he is responsible for coordinating the conceptualization and the implementation of organization’s gender program.

He is responsible for managing the Women’s Leadership Academy and following the work of Women Parliamentary Network. Urosevic worked as a Project Assistant in the BFPE prior to his current posting. During that time, he was charged with assisting on various BFPE programs, including the gender program, environmental program and programs devoted to raising the institutional capacities in the political system of Serbia.

During 2015, Mr Urosevic was engaged as teaching assistant at University of Belgrade, Faculty of Political Sciences, on the course “Public Administration”. Previously, he completed a 6-month internship program at the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCSP).

Urosevic is the author of multiple awarded and published articles, essays and studies. He is currently a pursuing PhD in Politics at the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Belgrade.

Damjan Malbašić

Program Coordinator

Damjan Malbašić holds a degree in Communicology, obtained at the Faculty of Media and Communications (FMK), Singidunum University in 2010; while he received his masters degree in Geopolitics at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University in Prague (2013).

Damjan has been working at the BFPE since May 2014, engaged in the Belgrade Security Forum (BSF), as well as many activities concerned with the region (of Western Balkans), foreign policy and international development. As of 2016, he is coordinating fundraising activities of the BSF.

Ivanka Mihailović

Program Assistant

Ivanka Mihailović holds a degree in International Affairs obtained at the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Belgrade.

She started to work in Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence in February 2016 as an intern, supporting several of BFPE activities.

Her interests are in the fields of international relations, EU integration, as well as security and human rights issues.

Marko Sibinović

Logistics Asistant

Marko Sibinovic is a senior year student at the College for Hotel Management, Belgrade.

He has been involved in civil sector for many years, first as an activist of TOC (Timok Youth Center) and then as assistant coordinator of regional Youth Office. As an active participant of various international seminars, such as SYLP (Serbia Youth Leadership Program), and especially, leader of a project supported by Balkan Community Initiatives Fund (BCIF – Trag foundation today), Marko gained valuable experience and knowledge on how to organize and manage a successful program, from first steps in planning to those in realization.

At BFPE, Marko works as Assistant in logistics dept. since June 2015 and contributes to all of BFPE programs.