BFPE today employs 13 highly dedicated professionals, who are tasked with implementing programs; administration and financial management; and logistics.
Jelena Volić Hellbusch
Head of Accounting
Slađana Dugonjić del Castillo
Administrative and Financial Assistant
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
Jelena Volić-Hellbusch is BFPE’s expert associate, 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.
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.
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 Security, Analytical, Vojno 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.
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 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
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.).
Mrs. Dugonjic Del Castillo holds a Bachelor degree in Law and a Masters degree in organizational sciences, obtained at the Faculty of Organizational Sciences of the University of Belgrade (2017). The title of her thesis was “Project Financing of Civil Society in the Function of Economic Development”.
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.
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.
Svetlana Stefanović is a Program Coordinator at the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence responsible for conceptualization, coordination and implementation of gender programs.
She has over ten years of professional experience in managing long-term and complex projects, as well as extensive experience in managing grand and complex events, e.g. forums, conferences, debates, etc. She has proven experience in leading different teams, as well as in training, preparation and evaluation of different projects. Svetlana is recognised specialist in development and set up of mentoring programmes and she has over 10 years of mentorship and capacity building work of youth with the special focus on young women.
She is one of the original team members that founded the Belgrade Security Forum BSF success story in 2011 and since 2015 she is the BSF Executive Director. She is responsible for overall organization and realization of the BSF and she leads a team fourteen people strong.
From 2003 to 2018 she was volunteer, activist on different projects in the European Movement in Serbia, then worked as an Office Manager and Project and Event Manager.
She is member and Executive Secretary of the Women’s Government. She is Member of the Program Board of the Women’s Leadership Academy.
She graduated in International Relations from the Faculty of Political Sciences, University in Belgrade.
Ivanka Mihailović works as a Program Coordinator at the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence, where she is in charge of coordination and implementation of the program for political education.
She started to work in Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence in February 2016 as an intern, supporting several of BFPE activities. After that, she worked as a Program Assistant on the projects related to political education, gender equality and involvement of citizens in decision-making processes both at the local and national levels. Also, from 2016 Ivanka is Member of the Belgrade Security Forum (BSF) organization team.
Ivanka Mihailović holds a degree in International Affairs obtained at the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Belgrade.
Marko Sibinovic has graduated from 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.
Stefan Vladisavljev holds program assistant position from September of 2017. Prior to that, from January to July 2017 he was an intern at BFPE. During internship period he was engaged in various projects of BFPE with main focus on organization of Belgrade Security forum.
Since 2017 Stefan is part of the team behind Belgrade Security Forum. He is in charge of communication with Belgrade Security Forum speakers and moderators. As a part of the program team, Stefan is engaged in Belgrade Security Forum program planning, speaker selection and analytical writing. Also, Stefan was part of Belgrade Security Forum volunteer team in 2015 and 2016.
During his engagement in BFPE, so far, Stefan participated in the organization of several conferences, he dealt with the topic of dual education, resilience and he is mostly engaged in projects that are dealing with the topics of international relations, foreign policy and international security, with special focus on cooperation between actors in international relations, especially between Serbia and China. He wrote and published several articles that dealt with those topics.
Stefan obtained his BA in International Relations from the Faculty of Political Science, University of Belgrade. He is currently pursuing masters’ degree in International Security Studies at the same Faculty.
Lidija Radulović is a Program Assistant in the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence, with responsibilities on various projects.
She began her engagement in BFPE as an intern in January 2017.
Since 2013 she is a member of the legal team of the Autonomous Women’s Center, and in 2016 she completed her internship program at the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy.
She is currently attending postgraduate studies in International Law at the University of Belgrade Faculty of Law.
Management board of the BFPE
- President of the Management Board, Vigor Majić
Director, Research Station «Petnica»
- Ambasador István Gyarmati
President, International Center for Democratic Transition, Budapest
- Professor Marijana Pajvančić
Faculty of Law, University of Novi Sad
- Professor Jovan Teokarević
Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Belgrade
- Osman Balić
Director, YUROM Center, Niš
- Maja Piščević
Senior Fellow, East West Institute
- Bojan Predojević
Director, Profine Belgrade