Nihad Alihodzic: How I came from Vlasenica to the Nobel Peace Prize

April 2, 2017 9:00 PM

Nihad ALihodzic2The fate of people are often incredible and there are many of those people who delight us with their life paths, especially when we are talking about people who left everything in the wind of the war in BiH in order to save themselves.

One of them is 44-year-old Nihad Alihodzic from Vlasenica, who achieved a great success in previous years. Although he passed a difficult road from the war-torn Vlasenica to the current life, this man became an inspiration to many people after he won the Nobel Peace Prize, and soon became the owner of the Legion of Honor Medal.

“In March 1992, I managed to leave Vlasenica, on probably one of the last days when the road through Pale was passable. Upon my arrival to Vlasenica, I went through more or less same scenario as in Sarajevo, and I left my hometown in April 1992, the day after the JNA issued an ultimatum to local Muslims,” said Nihad Alihodzic for

This brave man from Vlasenica replaced his relatively easy pre-war life for difficult refugee life in Tuzla, where he became a member of the Army of BiH. However, after the signing of the Dayton Agreement, his life took another course.

Nihad’s life changed because he decided to learn English after the war in BiH and he found a job in the US base Demi in Kladanj.

This soon led to his second job in the International Police (IPTF), where, together with his wife Tatjana whom he met in the meantime, he decided to look for happiness outside the borders of BiH.

“Shortly after the birth of my son Arijan, rumors about the closure of the UN mission in BiH started and I was afraid for my job. However, I quickly found options to continue my career, but fate wanted me not to choose any of them, but I went on testing for UN ICTY with my wife, and I got a job offer at the ICTY in The Hague,” said Nihad, who left his homeland and went in search for a better life in 2002.

Nihad gained extensive experience while working in the war crimes court in The Hague, but bad work experience drove him to further progress, which led him to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and that brought him worldwide fame.

“In September 2013, Syria happened. Shortly before that, the incident that triggered the entire diplomatic machinery took place in connection with Syrian chemical weapons,” said Nihad, and reminded on the use of nerve agent sarin in a suburb of Damascus in August 2013.

Then Nihad with his team of OPCW managed to allow signing of the Agreement between Russia and the United States on the elimination of chemical weapons from Syria, and it was accepted by the Syrian regime very soon.

The success of Nihad’s team culminated back in 2013 when the whole the OPCW received the Nobel Peace Prize for activities in Syria, and Nihad was one of the first employees from this organization who spoke to the media about this topic.

“Personally, I am very happy to receive this big award, especially because I am coming from a relatively small country. I am grateful to my family, my wife Tatjana and everyone who stood by me for all these years,” said Nihad, and reminded everyone that there is no limit and that any citizen of BiH can achieve success if there is enough desire and if they focus on their job.



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