Dragana Đukic, Suza association of families of the missing and dead, Serbia

On leadership:

“For me, good leadership is if we reach results together as a team. It takes a lot of dedication, patience and perseverance to achieve at least some success. I don’t think there is success if we still have large lists of missing persons. Our problems are very complex, the problem of missing persons and their families is very painful both for us families as for the people who work on the issue. The passage of time is taking its toll; it is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain new information, and the politicization of the problem is intertwined at all levels. Leadership is listening the needs and ideas of the people around us and the opportunity to redirect them to something useful and good for achieving the mission.”

On achievements:

“As the topic itself is very difficult, every slight step in solving the problem is a joint success. When the members unite to the extent that they see the Association as their second home, and when we all understand each other and consider ourselves one big family. The tragedies we have experienced bring us closer and give us the ability to understand each other, and to understand that we are not alone in our grief: there are difficult destinies for all people, regardless of ethnicity.

Our burden is easier to bear if we are together, if we organize and do everything in our power to draw attention to the problem, to reach the goal.  Our task is supporting families psychologically so that they do not to lose hope and can persevere in their fight for the truth. Breaking the painful uncertainty of at least one family is a great success.”

On challenges:

“In addition to everyday problems, there are situations we cannot influence, which forces us to be flexible and to adapt to new situations. For example, last year and this year were marked by a pandemic that is still not subsiding. The process of resolving the issue of missing persons is taking too long, and is now further slowed by restrictions on movement, assembly and other measures to protect against Covid-19.”

Advice for female leaders:

“The fact that we are considered to be gentler and more vulnerable as women does not mean that our voice is not heard. Our voices will be heard if we speak clearly enough and are supported by facts. We must remain persistent in the fight for truth, whatever it may be.“