SIT alum nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
By: Tristan Roberts, OurWorld Staff

Marijana Senjak's organization supports women in war zones

An alumna of SIT's CONTACT (Conflict Transformation Across Cultures) program, Marijana Senjak, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Senjak's nomination was one of 1,000 nominations of women made in a project to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first awarding of the prize to a woman, and to recognize the involvement of women working for peace.

Senjak was nominiated by the Swiss parliamentarian and member of the Council of Europe, Ruth-Gaby Vermont Mangold. The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to 80 men, 20 organizations and only 13 women, an "injustice" that the "1,000 Women" project aims to correct.

Women from all continents and from all social groups and classes have been nominated -- women from villages, teachers, artists and politicians, all of them fully engaged in creating a future without violence.

Senjak, who attended CONTACT's Summer Peacebuilding Institute in 2002 and 2003 to earn a graduate certificate in psycho-social foundations in peacebuilding, is the program director for Medica Zenica, a non-governmental organization based in Bosnia-Herzegovina that provides medical and pyschological support to women and children war victims. Senjak has worked there since 1993.

Medica Zenica was founded in the midst of war in 1992 in Bosnia, as a multi-ethnic therapy center. Women and their children suffering from wartime traumas were given short and medium-term medical and psychological care by specially trained female Bosnian gynaecologist, pyschologists, and other medical professionals.

A psychologist and psychotherapist, Senjak is also the founder of the Center for Psychological Help in the War, Zenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina. In addition to her graduate certificate from SIT, she completed postgraduate studies in psychological sciences at University of Zagreb and postgraduate studies in trauma psychology at University of Sarajevo affiliated with Ludwig Maximillian University, Munich, Germany. She undertook postgraduate studies in post-trauma therapy at Medical School at the University of Sarajevo affiliated with WHO.

Senjak completed postgraduate studies at the International Trauma Studies Program at New York University, where she was trained in transactional analysis and in feministic psychodrama. In 2001 she conduct 30 workshops on psycho-social conflict resolution with women and youth returnees in the Bosnia-Herzegovina Federation and the Republic of Srpska.

Senjak was a lecturer on witnesses, their needs and role at International Criminal Tribunal on Yugoslavia in The Hague in March 2004 and at International Criminal Court in The Hague in January 2005. She and the Women’s Therapy Centre Medica Zenica advocated successfully for status of civil victims of war for the women and girl survivors of war rape in Bosnia and Herzegovina; this status was adopted by Bosnian law in February 2005.