My name is Maja Pašović, and I come from the beautiful city of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I reside in the Washington, D.C. metro area. And if you happen to wonder where Bosnia is, it’s situated in South-East Europe, or as many travel writers like to say, it’s located “right in the heart of Europe.” Other than being famous for the most delicious coffee in the world (which has to be eaten with a rose or walnut lokum on the side, to complement the taste of the coffee), Bosnia is the only place in the whole of Europe which actually has a rainforest! Not to mention that more than half the country is covered by magnificently beautiful mountains.
With respect to my professional background, I have two years of experience working on projects aimed at improving the status and rights of persons with disabilities, as Research Assistant at universities and non-profits. My latest post was with the UNICEF Office in Bosnia, where I assisted with the development of the first Situational Analysis on the Rights of Children with Disabilities, with a primary focus on improved inclusive education practices, health care, social protection, and employment of youth with disabilities. In Canada, I contributed to an extensive research on the Canadian immigration policies towards persons with disabilities in the first half of the 20th centurty. The research itself was turned into a book, “Disabled Upon Arrival” (by Jay Dolmage), to be published in early 2018.
Perhaps my love of tradition comes from the fact that I was born and raised in the city of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, where tradition—whether it is in the way one approaches art, music, or literature—retains high respect and value. Having grown up in this meeting-place of different traditions, both of Western and Eastern origins, has shown me the significance of cherishing the diversity of linguistic, literary, cultural, and artistic pillars in a society. And regardless of Bosnia’s unpleasant history, life there has taught me that humanity cannot and should not be driven by the sword, but by the simple and unprecedented power of the pen. Unlike the sword, the pen holds an ability to reform human minds, and change the world for the better. And even though many stories throughout history have proven to be misleading, I strive to show that stories—when written with the right intention—can oftentimes provide consolation and the belonging that we are so desperately in need of.
After receiving my BA degree in English Language and Literature, I decided to take my education further, specializing in Education and Translation Studies, and Literary and Cultural Studies. The latter interest has led me to become involved with several non-governmental organizations that work towards building a sustainable future for the Bosnian-Herzegovinian youth. In addition to writing, I also explore open spaces (mostly on my bike!) and indulge myself in landscape and animal photography.