Professor Jasmin Hasić was recently appointed Head of the Department for International Relations and EU Studies at the International Burch University. In addition to his academic career at the IBU, he works as Executive Director of Humanity in Action B&H, where he has been active since 2009.
Jasmin Hasić is a completely (un)ordinary guy from the Grbavica neighborhood in Sarajevo, who left his place as a boy because of the war. After leaving Sarajevo, he spent his childhood in cold Sweden. Later he moved to Poland with his family, to live in the suburbs of the notorious city of Oświęci, better known as Auschwitz.
"Life in Poland did not suit my parents. We decided to return to B&H. But, as it usually happens, during that period we could not return to our apartment in Sarajevo because refugees lived in it. That's why my mother decided that her birth city Bihać was perfect for our return. The judicial process of returning our apartment lasted for nine years, and in the meantime, I enrolled in high school in Slovenia, and then my international academic travels actually started."
... Bihać, Maribor, Sarajevo, Brno, Budapest, Rome, Brussels ...
"My primary choice of studies was the Law Faculty in Sarajevo. However, in the very first year of my studies, I received a scholarship to continue my education in the Czech Republic. I did not want to interrupt my studies in Sarajevo, so I decided to complete my studies in Brno and Sarajevo in parallel. After earning my undergraduate degrees, I moved to Budapest to pursue a postgraduate degree at the CEU. At the same time, I enrolled in a master's program in Sarajevo. Thereafter, I worked with the Center for Security Studies in Sarajevo, which was followed by a scholarship to pursue my Ph.D. studies in Rome and Brussels. Since, I’ve returned to where it all started, Sarajevo."
It is difficult to be a reformer in a society in which everything works well
"Everybody asks me why, after all, I did not stay abroad. It is difficult for people to understand how challenging it is to be an individual in well-regulated societies. Extremely functional societies can even be antihumanistic. In such societies, man becomes a part of the machine. Because of this, it was pointless to waste time trying to be potentially celebrated as another researcher writing about B&H. For me, it was much more logical to go back to my homeland and explore what can be done here specifically, to do, rather than only to research."
Between the non-governmental sector and the University
"I am someone who believes in normative changes, I want to live in a country like B&H, which is mystically beautiful, but we all miss is a social system in which we all become policemen and ask others to respect the order. Nonetheless, it takes a lot of work and time to become a society in which everyone will do what is best because personal interests are always in the forefront, and there is little awareness of collective needs and their benefits for the society, including the individual, as a whole," Hasić emphasizes.
"We need a combination of internal desire and external motivation. I often hear the "EU and negotiations" in the same sentence, but in fact, we must understand that there is no negotiation, that it is a process of purely adapting to some other norms, rules, and laws. We must be aware that we are not some "high tech" nation that will substantially change the EU, but that we will only be in step with the market needs of other countries before us. But it is again a matter of compromise and politics. For example, when joining the EU, in 1981, Greece falsified certain statistics to enter the community, while many countries such as Finland, Austria, and Sweden, which were then more developed than Greece, did not even plan to enter the EU. Hence, the EU structure and policy of enlargement is continuously developing and adapting to candidate countries. Time will show how much the integration process in the EU was in our hands, and how much it is part of a wider process that we could not control."
IBU as knowledge base
During his doctoral study in Brussels, Hasić had the opportunity to work as a teaching assistant. He started teaching as a professor at the IBU in October last year.
"The International Burch University was my choice because I was given the opportunity to remain active in the NGO sector in addition to my academic work. On the other hand, through my academic and pedagogical work with students, I try to introduce some new methods and a new approach to learning, which is not just ex-cathedra. My approach is practical, based on my experience in different sectors, and that's what students in Bosnia and Herzegovina are missing."
Hasić says he did not know what to expect and how much energy he needed to invest in achieving his goal. In the interview, he points out: "From what I could see in the previous period, students are primarily coming to consume knowledge. True to their will, many of them come to University only for a degree, but I still think most come to learn something. On the other hand, I come from a different academic milieu and I do not like passivity from students. My goal is to turn students into "active knowledge producers." Currently, I work with students to publish a book that will deal with the topic of the enlargement of the European Union. It is time to introduce the practice of contributing knowledge during their studies themselves, too."