Balkan Trust for Democracy organized a successful working breakfast for Thomas O. Melia of USAID on March 8 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). It was a unique opportunity to gather 15 representatives of BTD grantees, GMF Marshall Memorial Fellows, and TILN alumni to share with a high USAID officer their views and concerns with respect to BiH society, the state of civil society sector, the regional cooperation and the path of the Euroatlantic integration of the Western Balkans in general. Civil society representatives and longstanding BTD partners included Vesna Bajsanski Agic, executive director at the Mozaik Foundation, Darko Brkan, president of the Citizens’ Association “Why not”, Lejla Ibranovic, executive director of Transparency International BiH, Jan Kulenović, executive director of the Youth Information Agency OIA, Mirna Buljugic, country director of BIRN BiH, Jasna Jasarevic, executive director of Tuzla Community Foundation, Vladimir Maric, Balkan MMF alumnus, Anja Petrovic, TILN alumna, Lana Prlic, TILN alumna, Zoran Puljić, director of the Foundation MOZAIK, Igor Stojanovic, development director of the Centers for Civic Initiatives, and Garret Tankosic Kelly, principal of the SEE Change Net.
Thomas Melia visited Sarajevo on his first Balkan tour as newly appointed USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia. Besides Sarajevo, he will be visiting Kosovo and Macedonia. Mr. Melia saluted GMF and BTD for the continuous efforts and visible results of the work done in the Western Balkans. He underlined the important role of civil society in BiH in challenging the government and engaging citizens, most notably youth, by monitoring and creating transparency to progress in democracy development.
Tom Melia previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor at the Department of State responsible for Europe and Eurasia. He worked as Executive Director of Democracy International, Deputy Executive Director at Freedom House, and Director of Research at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University.