Aleksandra Piletic Inspires Change in Serbia After AU
After graduating cum laude with a degree in philosophy from the honors program at American University, Aleksandra Piletic, CAS ’10, has continued to excel, now by creating extraordinary change in Serbia, her home-country. Following graduation, she returned to Belgrade to work for the United Nations as a consultant advancing youth politics and development. Currently, she is stationed at the UN Population Fund and provides youth in Priboj, a small town in southwestern Serbia, with the skills necessary to become effective leaders in their communities. In this role, Piletic coordinates seminars and activities focused on skills for organizing communities.
In addition, Piletic has been instrumental in fighting prejudice against people in Serbia living with HIV/AIDS. She partnered with the non-profit organization, JAZAS, and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to produce a manual that offers a summary of laws and regulations protecting people in Serbia living with HIV/AIDS against discrimination. The manual also provides information about institutions and officials that can assist when individuals living with HIV/AIDS face inequality. According to Piletic, this experience has been bittersweet: “Writing the manual was a very rewarding, though somewhat disheartening, experience, because I learned the extent to which people living with HIV/AIDS struggle with discrimination in Serbia today.”
Piletic was originally drawn to American because of its international focus, diversity, and tolerant spirit. She also valued that the university encouraged students to learn as much outside of the classroom as inside— whether on campus, in D.C., or, for Piletic, studying abroad in Rome. Piletic made the most of these opportunities with the help of the Maria Mihajlov Ivusic Scholarship. The endowed scholarship, established generously by Maria Mihajlov Ivusic, CAS/MA ’69, and her husband, Christopher Ivusic, is awarded annually to undergraduate students from the former Yugoslavia. Piletic shares, “I received the Maria Mihajlov Ivusic Scholarship at a time when I most needed it. Being an undergraduate international student in the U.S. was very daunting, so I was extremely fortunate to have received this scholarship.”
After receiving such meaningful assistance herself, Piletic is now demonstrating her enthusiasm about giving back to her community in Serbia. Her dedication enables her to touch lives of others, who may one day return her good deeds by working to promote equality in their communities.