Mostar Stories

Uroš and Antonija When Uros (Serbia, UWC Mostar ‘14) and Antonija (Croatia, UWC Mostar ‘13) decided to kiss in front of an old woman who disapproved of their hand-holding to show her what peace looked like, they had no idea the image would go viral.

Uroš and Antonija

Uroš and Antonija

"The bravest kiss ever" was the title of the world famous photograph of a young girl and a boy who kissed wrapped in a Croatian and a Serbian flag.

The story of two UWC Mostar students, Uroš and Antonija, started during a flag parade in 2013. When asked why she was walking next to a Serb, the Croatian girl responded by kissing him. The rest is history.

In the words of the author of the famous photograph: "This might not seem like much, just a couple expressing their love, but for us, here in Mostar it is a symbol of a new generation who is not willing to continue the war which exists in the minds of people."

The photograph became a symbol of reconciliation, unity and love, and made it to the headlines all over the world. Under the title "Even against overwhelming odds," the Huffington Post selected it as one of 21 top photos in the world that prove 2013 was a year of triumph, no matter how small.

Su MyatNoe Su is the first student from Myanmar at UWC Mostar, and the first Aung San Suu Kyi Endowed Scholar. And she must be one of the first Burmese people to live in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Su MyatNoe

Su MyatNoe

As the November 8 election in Burma was coming nearer, everyone was getting excited for a dramatic change through the election. Some Burmese citizens from abroad went back home to vote their precious ballots from their hearts. But for me, I was here studying in UWC Mostar and I felt a bit sad as I missed the chance to get involved in such a great event. And I was also excited so much as four candidates -- including my father -- are running for the parliamentary seats from opposition party in my hometown region. Actually, we all were already worried about losing in my hometown because of the fragile crisis between Buddhists and Muslims. The military government has used this religious crisis as a weapon and indirectly persuaded people not to vote for the opposition party. Most of the military officer families live in my town and their votes were for the ruling party. And the sadness happened.

We lost all seats as the opposition party in my town. However, the good news was that the opposition party won in a landslide, except a few regions, to form a democratic government. At that time, my joyful tears came down over my cheek and I felt eternally happy. But still I felt sorry for the candidates and people of my town. By that time, I realized that we younger people have to try more and educate those people who are still misunderstanding between different religious, races and nationalities, to help form a cosmopolitan atmosphere and to get rid of injustice. And being here I realized here that we, students from UWC, have been proving how all students can live peacefully together as an excellent example for my country.

Stasia Rudak Stasia (Belarus, UWC Mostar ‘10) graduated from Dartmouth College in 2014, returning to Mostar to teach Math and Theory of Knowledge. She is originally from Belarus, and mostly doesn’t mind being confused with students.

Stasia Rudak

Stasia Rudak

Before I started teaching I had many doubts about what this job entailed. At times, I imagined teaching to be the value added to the textbook; and, in strict economic terms, the value added needed to be maximized. Within that definition, a teacher was a perfect machine, incapable of mistakes. Because I lacked supernatural abilities to know everything and be ready for every question, not to mention my lack of experience as a backdrop for comparison, this idea of teaching caused me much grief in my first year. Whenever, in my opinion, I could not maximize the value, I felt I did a mistake by choosing teaching as my career.

As I got to know my students more last year I came up with another idea of teaching – a memory from when I was a girl, who lived and studied in a foreign country and appreciated my teachers also being my friends. Then I defined being a teacher differently: a teacher is a human being, who understands the struggles of students, because she has her ups and downs, too.

I don’t think many other schools shape the job of a teacher in the same way as the UWC. This school was a great place to study, and now it is a great place to work.