Basketball Hall-of-Famer Vlade Divac visited UWC-USA as a guest speaker of the school’s Bartos Institute for the Constructive Engagement of Conflict, one of the school’s signature programs.
Divac reflected on his personal journey as the country he grew up in became embroiled in a war that pitted neighbors against each other and deepened ethnic divisions. Vlade’s story is important for all students considering paths to peace and the role of personal responsibility in making a difference for our communities. Students from active conflict zones like Ukraine, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, and Ethiopia attended the presentation to learn about Vlade’s commitment to dialogue, reflection and giving back.
“We should all do our part to make this world a better place,” Divac said to the students. “What’s happening now in the world – I don’t like it at all, I’m sure all people feel the same way. It’s hard to see when innocent people suffer, and usually that’s what happens during war.”
The Bartos Institute, an intellectual, educational, and experiential community committed to developing personal character, ethical leadership, and constructive approaches to conflict, seeks to provide role models from a wide variety of callings for students to learn from.
Naomi Swinton, the director of the Bartos Institute, was deeply appreciative of Vlade’s visit and message. “His journey and story as an athlete and a citizen of the world demonstrate that there are different paths toward a life dedicated to justice and peace,” she said. “We want our students to see that there are many ways that our lives can promote and act on values central to the UWC mission, and that over time, profound changes can and do occur to transform conflicts at the personal level and beyond.