First Serbian Youth Heroes Selected with NIS Support

December 24, 2015

The aim of the competition is to bring true young heroes out of anonymity, present them to the public, and promote them so that they could be an inspiration, pride and role models for entire generations. From a few hundred applications, the expert jury picked 18 young heroes to bear the title of Youth Hero from next January. Most winners have been selected in the area of education and science – six in total – and first place among secondary students went to Stefan Velja, a young inventor who has developed a patent intended to break up blood clots in the organism. Jovana Kondić, recipient of the Gold Tesla Medal and the Gold Archimedes Medal for innovation, and Aleksa Konstantinov, recipient of the gold medal from the 2015 International Mathematics Olympiad in Thailand, will also be honoured. Among the university students and graduates, the winners in the area of education and science are the young robot scientist Kosta Jovanović, who develops simulation models of advanced humanoid robots, twenty-nine-year-old Jasmin Nurković, with a PhD in Medical Science and an impressive 43 publications in medical journals, and Nikola Tepavac, the inventor of the VALDI 1 robot for demining of explosive devices, and MARVIN 1 and MARVIN 2 voice-controlled humanoid robots. The founder of the Citizens Association for Helping the Homeless, Lazar Erić, is the winner in the area of entrepreneurship. Ivan Petrović, one of the youngest entrepreneurs in the domain of technology in Serbia, whose startup WorkPlus has clients from over 50 countries after one year of operation, and Ivan Brkljač, the founder of the Arbo Project, an organization concerned with socially responsible fashion, are also among the awardees. First place in social activism went to Mirko Kaldaraš, who has a BA in chemistry and is an activist in education support projects for Roma students. The award winners also include Aleksa Živković, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Citizens Association Leka and the founder and volunteer worker in the projects The Young for the Elderly, Solidarity Clothing, and Little Shanghai, as well as Arsen Arsenović, the first parakayaker in Serbia and an advocate of the development of sport for disabled people. Gala Čaki, winner of many awards and the holder of scholarships from foundations and associations in America, India, Finland, Egypt, and Qatar, distinguished herself in the area of culture and the arts. Award winners also include Jovana Bobić, founder of the art festival Š.U.N.D (K.I.T.S.C.H) – What Art Offers to Society, and Tijana Kozarčić, a young and successful harpist. First place in the area of Creative Industries went to Milan Inić for his work that has attracted much attention and the communication with young people through his YouTube channel Yasserstain. Second place went to Rade Joksimović, young software developer who started his own business at age 19. Winner of the third place is Tamara Jakovljević, author of the documentary series My Hero, which has put on screen over 45 hero stories about various virtues. The special Youth Heroes prize was awarded by the jury to the university student Jovan Simić, who organized the sale of his sports jersey collection and the action Sports Bazaar, gathering famous athletes and public figures, and collecting 300,000 euros for successful medical treatment of the young Nađa Novaković. The expert jury included Nenad Borovčanin, State Secretary for Youth Issues at the Ministry of Youth and Sports in the Government of the Republic of Serbia, Snežana Lakićević, NIS Manager for collaboration with universities, Irena Petrović, Deputy Director of Marketing at Ringier Axel Springer Media AG, and Ivan Petrović, Executive Director of the Exit Foundation. The fifth jury member was selected separately for each of the award areas and categories. The jury also included Miša Lukić, Chairman of the Publicis Group EB, Tijana Pavkovljević Bugarski, Director of the Matica Srpska Gallery, Dr Igor Stamenković of the Novi Sad University, Zoja Kukić, editor of the portal and SEE ICT manager, and Nemanja Milenković, leader of the project of the City of Novi Sad’s candidacy for the European Youth Capital 2018 and the European Capital of Culture 2021.