Since its foundation the Political Youth Network has been the meeting point for politically active young people from the region. Every one of them made significant contribution and shaped the network in her or his own way. Apart from her outstanding professional and political experience, Jovana is one of the founders of the Political Youth Network! Let’s meet her!
Dear Jovana, please introduce yourself and share with us your educational and professional background.
I was born in 1988 in Belgrade, which was at that time Yugoslavia. As every young person born and raised in the nineties in ex-Yugoslav countries, my upbringing time was very challenging. I had the opportunity to visit very often my aunt in the United Kingdom, which opened my eyes, from the very early stage of my life, about political implications in everyday life of the regular person, differences in societies and values in life.
At the time I was eleven years old, the NATO bombing of my country has occurred. That was the time when I had to stay with my mother at her work in the hospital because my father was also fully occupied with his job. That is when I saw for the first time how generous, valuable and important the job of my mother was and that time I have decided to become a doctor as well.
After that very valuable, but also very hard experience, I have the impression that the majority of my characteristics as a person have developed then. I have finished elementary and high school in Belgrade, in the times which started to look very promising for my country, Serbia. The decision to go to medical school was very easy, since the urge to help people was, as time passed by, even bigger. Now I am in the last year of residency in Dermatology, in the Clinical Centre of Serbia.
But next to medicine, I have always felt that I would not have been complete, if I had not contributed my society in another sense.
In my fourteen years-long political career, I have served on various positions in my party- starting from youth, and beyond, but also had the opportunity to be elected in several important positions at the European level. On this path, I have learned a lot, meet so many different people and got so many valuable experiences for life.
Look back at the start of your political activism. What was your motivation? What was the reason behind your decision to be actively engaged in politics?
Truly believing that we deserve more than we had with the government of nineties, I was at the age of twelve in the streets of Belgrade during the 2000 revolution, trying to give my support and opinion in this way. Living in very turbulent times, politics was all around us even before I had a legal opportunity to become a part of it. My wish to give a personal contribution, to change things in my society and beyond were the reasons I entered the political party on the day I was eighteen. My attitude is that one single person can make a significant change if he truly believes in it, and is persistent enough.
What are the most valuable lessons you learned through political activism? What skills and knowledge it helped you to acquire?
When you have an honest and thorough approach in everything you do, you can easily conclude that in politics you always have a lot to learn. Even when you have a huge experience and think that you know everything about a certain topic, you will come across new information and facts. Politics helped me acquire many skills, including public speaking, opportunity to adapt my thoughts for the situation I was in, widen my horizons and understand different processes in everyday life and communication with people. I can honestly say that the person who has passed the school of political activism is surely ready for any other task in life.
Please, share with us one memory, anecdote or story from your political experience you cherish the most.
A such long political career which I have behind myself is full of many important moments witch I will be happy to remember all my life. The opportunity to speak and spend time with some of the most important politicians in Europe and the world is always very valuable and nice to get back to. While traveling for political purposes I have visited many interesting and hidden places, tried different food, saw different customs and met wonderful people from all over the world. I can freely say that the biggest success for me is the fact that I can call so many people, living all over the world, my friends. As a politician who is also very locally oriented, I always enjoyed seeing the progress and happiness of my neighbors, after some good measures that we implemented and where I have contributed in.
It is always very difficult to choose one specific moment, because every single is valuable, even the ones which were hard. Now when I reflect, every single moment was important and made me work even harder on myself to become better, not only for my loved ones, but for the whole world.
How would you describe your experience with the Political Youth Network’s activities? What does regional cooperation mean to you?
I am very honored to have participated in the work of Political Youth Network from the beginning and to be one of the founders who signed the declaration of the establishment of this platform. Even though I had a huge regional experience even before, but with the young politicians of the same ideology, this project was needed to learn and understand each other even more. When we have opportunity to share arguments and different points of views in a friendly atmosphere, we can reach more respect and understanding for each other, our countries and our differences.
Even as someone who had the opportunity to lead different European organizations, I have always liked to get back to the importance of our regional cooperation. Not only that my first international moves I made in the region, but also in my following work I became aware of the fact how big strength and knowledge you can obtain from regional cooperation. My biggest value is that today from Vardar to Triglav there is no place where I do not have some important friend with whom I can have a coffee and reflect on all our common successes, achieved goals but also, misunderstandings which, in the end, make us bigger and even closer.
Nowadays we are faced with global challenges which require much solidarity and responsibility. What is your desired vision of the world after the crisis ends? What message do you have for young politically active people in the region?
When you have the luck to live in the Balkans, the crisis is not a new thing. I truly believe that from this worldwide catastrophe we are all facing, our Balkan will get out with a few possible consequences. I am always optimistic and try to see the benefits of this process. For the beginning, as a member of a health care system, I am sure that this will made us think and invest more in health care worldwide. I am also quite positive that health care providers, doctors, nurses and the other people working in the front-line now, will remain to be perceived with gratitude for the hard work and sacrifice they are doing every single day, not only in the pandemic months.
This is the right time for each of us to reflect on our lives, wishes, and needs, and to go out of this crisis with a new perspective on what and how valuable life is. I would like to see that after this world becomes more and shows more solidarity and understanding for others. I truly hope that we will value more time we spend and the actions we do for our family, friends and those who need help than the amount of money we earn and spend on unneeded things.
From the bottom of my heart, I wish everyone a lot of health, positive attitude, mental strength and a good reflection on emotions, values and needs.