BiHDC 2021

Vivid Visions: A Decade of Diaspora Development

May 21-22, 2021



Our theme this year, Vivid Visions: A Decade of Diaspora Development, looks toward the future of what the 20’s will bring for the Bosnian and Herzegovinian diaspora. This year, we are in search of your ideas and lessons from the past while proposing specific plans for the future.

We are not asking for submissions for this year’s conference but we are asking you to bring your thinking caps. So bring your expertise, from figuring out how to apply for school funding to …running your nonprofit …to starting your own HVAC company, we want to hear your ideas.

We want to collaborate with YOU this year to create goals for the next decade for the diaspora. We are stronger together and we can’t make positive changes unless we all do our part and step forward.

Here are some of the questions that will guide our conference day on May 22nd.

How do you envision our community in the next decade?

Think about what it means to be a part of a community. How do we feel included or excluded? Where do we see our family and friends in the next decade? What will our community futures look like? 

What goals have you set for the next decade with regards to your work?

How do you define your goals? Are you goals specific to the diaspora or Bosnia and Herzegovina as well? Once you achieve these goals what do you expect? 

BiH Diasporic Conference

What goals have you set in regards to communication within the next decade?

How do your communication goals take inconsideration multilingualism? How do your communication goals take into consideration accessibility for people who are blind or deaf/hard of hearing? Are your goals digitally accessible?

What have you learned over the last decade that will inform your goals?

Take a look back at your work, what were your wins and your losses? How did you evaluate your wins and losses? Where did you win that you weren’t expecting and where did you lose that you weren’t expecting? 

Who will you work with over the next decade to accomplish these goals?

How do you envision our community in the next decade?
What goals have you set for the next decade with regards to your work?
What goals have you set in regards to communication within the next decade?

What resources do you need for these goals?

What kind of resources will you need to achieve these goals and build capacity? Will you need volunteers, interns, financial support, mentorship etc.?

What inspired you to achieve what you have at this point?

Was it an event? A class? Or just pure necessity that inspired you to get to where you are? What keeps you inspired to keep going? 

What challenges do you think you will face?

What roadblocks are you expecting? Are these roadbloacks financial, community support, educational? How are you addressing burnout and capacity growth?

May 21, 2021

Join us at 8pm EST/5pm PST for our traditional Networking Event.

During this time you’ll get a chance to meet the other attendees and network a bit to get more comfortable.

May 22, 2021 

Then spend your Saturday with us by logging on at 2pm EST/ 11am PST for the full day of conference programming.

2:00 – 2:30 Welcome

2:30 – 3:15 KEYNOTE : ReStart

Presenter: Emina Zahirovic-Pintaric

3:30-4:30 Workshops 

Intergenerational Healing for Thriving Futures: A workshop on emotional wellness and healing trauma

  • Selma Bacevac, MA, LMHC – Balkan Mama Therapy
  • Tea Sefer – Breathe with Tea

A New Decade of Evolving BiH Business in the Diaspora

  • Armin Vlajcic and Lamija Silajdzic – Codecta
  • Arijana Ramic – Bosnian Business Directory

Fundraising for the Future in the BiH Diaspora

  • Azra Jakupovic – Project 1948 and Most Mira 
  • Senita Slipac – Bosana Foundation 
  • Additional experts include: Brad Mazon from War Childhood Museum

BiH Diaspora Voting in Homeland Elections

  • Aida Ibričević, Ph.D. and Senada Zatagić, Ph.D.
  • Additional experts include representatives from JABIH: Asja Omeralovic and from Bosnian American Institute: Adem Mirza

5:00-5:45 KEYNOTE: Bosnia and Herzegovina Futures Foundation 

Presenters: Eddie Custovic and Vernisa Rejhan-Icindic

5:45-6:00 Closing and Wrap up


Students $10.00

Early Bird Registration $30.00 (until 5/3)

Regular Registration $40.00 (until 5/17)

Late Registration $50.00 (after 5/17)

If you are in need of financial assistance please visit this link.



Edhem ‘Eddie’ Custovic

Bosnia and Herzegovina Futures Foundation

Edhem ‘Eddie’ Custovic Ph.D., by day is an engineering academic & researcher at La Trobe University, Australia and the founder/director of the La Trobe Innovation & Entrepreneurship Foundry (LIEF). He is a business owner, entrepreneur, thought leader, mentor, philanthropist and a global citizen. Eddie was born in Bosnia & Herzegovina and lived for extended periods in Switzerland and Germany before migrating to Australia. His multicultural background, multilingualism and ‘borderless’ approach to work enable me to take a politically and culturally sensitive perspective on life, volunteer roles, and professional career. In 2015, with the culmination of first-hand experiences and passion to help those in need, he founded the Bosnia & Herzegovina Futures Foundation. The foundation’s vision is to break down ethnic division in his homeland through a simple approach of empowering youth through education, technology access and leadership development. Custovic is widely credited for bringing in a new levels of energy, ideas and pathways to mobilise the intellectual capacity of BH diaspora. The result of his work is evident in the dozens of projects and initiatives that he has led on 4 continents. He has worked on cutting edge R&D projects securing significant funding and support globally in a variety of sectors including; defence, communications, power, food & agriculture, automotive, health, sports technology and civil/construction. In 2014, Custovic along with his team, was recognised for the innovative work in developing the first fully digital HF OTH radar system ‘TIGER’ radar and the project was awarded the Engineers Australia (State & National) Engineering Excellence Award 2014 – Research/Development and Innovation. Custovic is highly regarded for his drive and leadership that have led him to become one of the youngest senior leaders and board members within the IEEE, the world’s largest professional organisation. Custovic currently served as the Chair of the Industry Engagement Committee where he engaged with C-level executives and Fortune 500 organisations on a regular basis. In 2015, Custovic was recognised for his outstanding leadership and received the IEEE Young Professionals Achievement Award. He is considered by youth as the go to person for mentoring, career development, industry experience and life coaching. As a result, he was recognised by the University leadership and awarded the Vice Chancellor’s Award for “Supporting Student Employability” in 2015 and was named employability champion by the University in 2018. He is a tireless ambassador for STEM education and this is evident through his continued work to bridge the gap between primary/secondary/university education and industry. Custovic was the Engineering Project Coordinator for the Learn, Access, Experience Professions (LEAP) program which was funded by the Australian Federal Government to accelerate the participation of regional, low SES and minority participation in STEM higher education. Under his leadership the program excelled, reaching more than 10,000 students in over 200 state schools. He wholeheartedly has a deep commitment to making positive change for the world. For Custovic, the intersection between scientific innovation and human empowerment is where we can really “disrupt the future”. His life motivation is to use the powers of engineering, education, networking, entrepreneurial mindset and the spirit of positive change to empower individuals and grow local economies while delivering the scientific advancements of our finest minds for the benefit of future generations. Custovic is an active contributor to Online & Print Media globally, TV & Radio.

Vernisa Rejhan-Ićindić

Bosnia and Herzegovina Futures Foundation

Vernisa Rejhan-Ićindić is a leader navigating in the business and philanthropy landscape between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Sweden.

With a professional background within lean and agile management in both private and public sector in Sweden working with operational excellence, Vernisa has for the last five years worked in several leading roles within the IT company Softhouse that operates both in Sweden and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Vernisa was also chair of Swedish Chamber of Commerce in B&H for a mandate and advisor within the Swedish Institute Innovation Leaders program in Balkans. Currently Vernisa holds the strategic position of Talent and Performance Manager for Softhouse Consulting Group.

She is a proud board member of BH Futures Foundation with a passion to help shape future leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Emina Zahirović-Pintarić

Emina Zahirović-Pintarić, Managing Director, has 10 years of diverse legal experience in private, non-profit and governmental sectors. She worked as an associate for international, regional and national law firms such Descartes Solicitors in the UK, top-tier law firm Wolf Theiss from Austria and BDK Attorneys at Law from Serbia. Also, she worked as a consultant for such international organizations as Transparency International BiH, International Financial Corporation (IFC), World Bank Group on regulatory reform on a local level, USAID Regional Economic Growth (REG) Project on the establishment of National Trade Facilitation Committee in the process of accession of BiH to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and International Telecommunications Union (ITU). As a LEADER alumnus, her leadership potential was recognized and she progressed within the organization quickly, transforming Restart into a woman-led organization.



Dr. Senada Zatagić

Dr. Senada Zatagić graduated from the Law Faculty in Sarajevo, where she also attained her master’s degree while working in practice as well. She holds a Ph.D. in international relations from Selçuk University (Turkey), and her dissertation concerned the analysis of legal impacts of the European Human Rights Court’s decisions concerning discrimination in the enjoyment of the right to be elected in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She is a researcher and lecturer focused on international law, human rights, transitional justice, and migrations. She currently works as a lecturer at the MEF University Law Faculty in Istanbul and a consultant for IOM Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Dr. Aida Ibričević

Dr. Aida Ibričević is an independent social science researcher and consultant based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, affiliated as a Global Fellow with the Migration Center at the Peace Research Institute (PRIO) in Oslo, Norway and as a Research Fellow with the Center for Diaspora Studies, Sarajevo School of Science and Technology. She contributes to the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC) in Bonn, Germany project Trajectories of reintegration: The impacts of forced displacement, migration and return on social change as a Senior Research Associate and delivers consulting services for IOM’s Labor Migration Project and UNDP’s Diaspora for Development project in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She also provides review services for a number of peer-reviewed, international academic journals. Her research focuses on migration and diaspora studies, with a particular interest in how emotions relate to politics and the connections between citizenship, home, and belonging. Aida Ibričević has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Middlebury College, United States, and an Economics Master of Arts from Central European University (CEU), Hungary. Her doctoral degree is in Political Science from Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey, which she completed with a dissertation entitled Searching for Home and Belonging: A Qualitative Study to Understand the “Emotional Citizenship” of Diaspora Returning to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Selma Bacevac

Balkan Mama Therapy 

​Selma is a licensed psychotherapist who has worked in the mental health field for over ten years. She holds post-graduate training in infant and child mental health, maternal mental health, complex intergenerational trauma, and attachment-related problems. Selma specializes in helping Balkan mothers heal intergenerational wounds to parent their children with a safe and secure relationship in mind. Through her work, she has created a meaningful movement of Balkan mothers who are healing and changing how they parent their children. You can find Selma on Instagram at @balkanmamatherapy.

Tea Sefer

Breathe with Tea

Tea is a refugee and genocide survivor, from the former Yugoslavia, who has worked in the reproductive rights, health, and justice movements for 14 years. As associate director of policy at Advocates for Youth, they lead an international portfolio focused on the sexual and reproductive freedom, rights, and health for young people (aged 14-24) in the United States and in countries impacted by US foreign aid and policy. Before coming to Advocates, Tea worked on legislative and administrative advocacy on the local, state, and national level for abortion access, sexual health education, LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination in K-12 schools, transgender youth inclusion in sports, and genocide education. Tea believes in creating sustainable and accountable organizing communities and founded Breathe with Tea, a trauma-informed coaching program for social justice advocates and changemakers looking to develop self- and community-care practices for the long-term fight for healing, justice, and joy in our communities. Tea is also one of the founders of BiHDC.

Arijana Ramic

Bosnian Business Directory

Arijana Ramic is a standup comedian and writer based out of Seattle, Washington. She is also the founder of the Bosnian Business Directory, which aims to support Bosnian businesses, non-profits, and creatives all in one place.
You can find the Bosnian Business Directory at:

Lamija Silajdzic


Lamija Silajdzic has experience as an Engagement Manager at Codecta working to coordinate all the activities required to bring Codecta’s products to market. Lamija has ample experience managing and leading cross functional teams throughout the product lifecycle. Prior to Codecta, Lamija was the Corporate Strategist at a coding boot camp, responsible for expanding the offices nationwide and eventually internationally.

Armin Vlajcic


Armin Vlajcic serves as the Chief Operating Officer at Codecta. The role includes managing and coordinating all business activities with the business development team and outside investment. Prior to Codecta, Armin was the Executive Director of Management Development Consulting in Kuwait. Armin has an extensive background in Corporate Finance, Strategic Analysis, HR Management and Marketing throughout his career.

Azra Jakupovic

Most Mira & Project 1948

Originally from the Kozarac region in northwestern Bosnia, Azra brings a strong international and diverse background academically and professionally, with a B.A in Political Science/International Studies from Loyola University Chicago, and a M.A. in International Affairs from the New School University. Having been an intern at the United Nations, and a consultant for nonprofits, she currently serves as the Senior Officer for Individual Giving at UNICEF Canada. Azra has been very active in the Bosnian American diaspora, as a participant and organizer for the BiH Diasporic Conference (BiHDC). She is also a Board Trustee and Project Leader for Most Mira, a Bosnian/UK-based NGO focused on peacebuilding in northwestern Bosnia and also serves as the Chair of the Board for Project 1948, a U.S. based NGO whose mission focuses on achieving sustainable development by empowering youth and civil society in BiH to use their voice to hold institutions and governments accountable at the United Nations. While always considering Bosnia her first home, Azra has also lived in Rome, New York, Toronto and is currently based in Chicago.

Senita Slipac

Bosana Foundation

Senita Slipac is a dynamic and results-oriented international professional with sixteen years of experience in not for profit and business sector. Senita co-founded OREA Bazaar, first multivendor e-commerce startup in Bosnia and Herzegovina and also Bosana Foundation, a nonprofit organization that empowers youth in Bosnia and Herzegovina by providing them access to higher education and professional development opportunities. She is passionate about creating and mobilizing communities and individuals towards projects that serve societies at large for collective good. Senita received her Bachelors in international studies at University of CA in Santa Barbara and her Masters in conflict resolution at Seton Hall University in New Jersey.