Senija Karamehic (1949)

the teacher who saved the lives of those persecuted and spoke out against ethnic segregation in schools

Senija Karamehić was born in 1949 in Derventa, Bosnia and Herzegovina. She graduated in Education from the Faculty of Philosophy in Sarajevo and worked as an educator. She has been living in Vareš since 2012.

During the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while being fully aware of the risks she ran, she demonstrated her civil courage and opposed violence by saving the lives of other persecuted ethnic groups, hiding them and taking care of them in his own home.

Even after the war, she remained true to her choice to safeguard life at all costs. In 2002, she declared on TV: "I would behave in the same way now if, God forbid, someone persecuted someone else unjustly".

She resigned in 2000 from her position as principal of the elementary school in Vareš
, after local authorities and the High Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina systematically pressured her to approve the division of children into groups based on ethnicity of their parents. Karamehić refused to abide by this rule, and when she found out that the division would have been made even without her consent, she decided to leave the institution.

She is the only principal of an elementary or secondary school in Bosnia and Herzegovina to have openly and decisively stood up against segregation in the school system, resigning from her position. She did not want to contribute to an educational footprint that more than 60 schools introduced in 2000: today, many schools still implement ethnic-based segregation of pupils.

For her courage, Senija Karamehić received the Duško Kondor Civil Courage Award.

This biography is taken from the archive of Duško Kondor Award for Civil Courage. We would like to thank Svetlana Broz for providing the material to the editorial staff.

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