Alumnus Earns MA in Human Rights and Democracy in South East Europe

From his home in Sarajevo, Lazar Bojanic, ’17, dashed off a quick email in November 2020 to retiring Political Science Professor Dr. John Langton with the following comment:

“I managed to get a 9 (10 being the highest grade). It was a turbulent and, at times, difficult year, but I have managed to, finally, be a proper student and finish everything on time. I hope that you are doing well and that you are staying safe in these difficult and uncertain times.”

Bojanic had just earned an MA in Human Rights and Democracy in South East Europe from a joint program through the University of Sarajevo and University of Bologna.

The heartfelt note illustrates a lot about what is most important at Westminster but what often is not discussed with the outside world about the small liberal arts college ― students and faculty frequently share long-lasting friendships after they pass through the Columns.

“Because I am not a material person, I am not ever likely to be proud of material things,” Bojanic explains. “I am most proud of the relationships I forged with others, that are still withstanding the test of time and distance.”

It seems fitting, then, that after earning his degree in Political Science from Westminster, the native of the region of Pale, Sarajevo, worked in a variety of off-beat but culturally significant positions, including as a custodian in a mountain house, where he also organized social and educational events, seminars, a nature school for children, and mountain tours.

All the while, Bojanic took his responsibilities to the next level.

“I informed people on issues such as deforestation due to man-made fires by planting thousands of trees,” he says of the tours.

Bojanic also takes his previous involvement with Cure (Girls) Foundation in Sarajevo seriously. In March 2020, he helped organize the foundation’s International Women’s Day protests. He also served as an intern during the summer of 2020 for the Right to the City citizen association in Belgrade, Serbia.

In addition, Bojanic worked with Prosvjeta, a Serbian educational and cultural society, where he organized children’s festivals and other cultural events, including poetry nights and art exhibitions.

And while Bojanic says that he cannot claim to have found his purpose in college, he adds that Westminster was significant to him.

“It was instrumental in shaping my preferences towards knowledge from many perspectives, different ideas, and when dealing with different people and cultures,” he explains.

Bojanic recalls that his favorite memories of Westminster include spending time with close friends and playing the piano for a procession at the Church of St. Mary, the Virgin, Aldermanbury, part of America’s National Churchill Museum.

“The acoustics were marvelous to hear,” he reminisces.

Today, when Bojanic is not looking for job in a non-governmental or international organization, he enjoys seeking peace of mind through hiking and, like many during the pandemic, watching Netflix.

He adds that the College is never far from his thoughts.

“Westminster holds a dear place in my heart, and I will always look fondly to my time there,” Bojanic reflects. “I experienced members of the staff and faculty treating me as family when times were rough, and due to its small size, you feel like a part of a community.”

He emphasizes that faculty members such Langton, who was his favorite, surpass assigned expectations when dealing with the students.

“He went above and beyond his payroll to help me finish my college degree, both personally and education wise,” Bojanic says. “These things are unlikely to happen in a big university.”

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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.