Lack of competent personnel directly responsible for protection of animals and nature is highly pronounced not only in Serbia, but also in the Western Balkans. Luckily, there are young experts – lawyers, biologists, economists, geographers, teachers and activists – who are successful in their fields and ready to apply their knowledge and skills in order to protect nature and improve animal welfare.

In order to provide nature and animals with allies and provide the experts with the additional knowledge they need, we have created a Leadership Training Programme within the  ORCA Academy.

The Leadership Training Programme (LTP) brings together experts of different profiles with the aim of empowering them through an intensive program to actively and independently contribute to animal welfare and nature protection in our country. Communication and leadership skills, public advocacy techniques, writing research papers and collaborating with the media are just some of the key topics of this program. With the help of a mentor, each student during the six-month training period prepares professional research papers and public advocacy campaigns that link his/her vocation and interests to animal welfare and environmental protection.

Meet the students of the first generation of the Leadership Training Programme within ORCA Academy for 2019/2020:

Milica Lukić

Milica Lukić is working as Junior researcher at the University of Belgrade, Faculty of Geography and as Associate at the Regional Center for Talented Youth in Belgrade. As a Junior researcher, she is engaged in research of spatial and urban planning, environmental protection, waste management, bioclimatology and geoecology. As an Associate at the Regional Center for Talented Youth she is in charge of working with talented youth in the field of geography and spatial planning.

As LTP Fellow, she would like to improve knowledge in the field of animal welfare concepts in Serbia and the world, but also to improve the skills needed in public advocacy, communication with different stakeholders and leadership skills.

On two occasions, during her graduate and postgraduate studies, she has been awarded the “Dositej“ scholarship by the Ministry of Youth and Sport – Foundation for Young talents of the Republic of Serbia. She actively works in academia for two years. She is a member of the Serbian Spatial Planners Association and the Serbian Geographical Society. The topic of her research paper is The green infrastructure in landscape planning of urban ambiance.

Irena Hribšek

Irena Hribšek finished her Master of Science degree equivalent in biology at the Faculty of Biology at the University of Belgrade. She is finalizing her PhD studies at the Faculty of Biology in Belgrade on the topic of conservation biology of the endangered species – Griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) in Serbia.

Irena actively works in nature conservation sector for 10 years and is skilled in project coordination, field research and bird conservation, as well as raising awareness activities. She is the director of the Birds of Prey Protection Foundation and coordinator of the Rescue Centre for Birds at the Institute for Biological Research „Siniša Stanković “ at the University of Belgrade. Irena is engaged in field research of population dynamics and conservation of Griffon vultures, ringing, wing-tagging and monitoring of their population in Serbia. 

Irena Hribšek participated as a lecturer on international and national conferences and scientific congresses in Bulgaria, Greece, Portugal, and Serbia. As LTP Fellow, she would like to increase her knowledge in communication, advocacy, project management, and fundraising. The topic of her research paper is Analysis of quality and comprehensiveness of the impact assessment studies covering impact of wind turbines on endangered species in Serbia.

Zorana Todorović

Zorana Todorović has been doing research on animal emotion, evolutionary continuity between humans and non-human animals, ethical discussions of the moral status of animals and legal issues regarding protection of animal well-being. 

Zorana Todorović works as a freelance translator from English to Serbian and vice versa in the field of Humanities, and is a full member of the Association of Literary Translators of Serbia.

Her work experience includes working in the education sector and the civil society.

As LTP Fellow, she would like to upgrade knowledge and improve her practical skills that are crucial for implementing animal welfare projects.

The topic of her research paper is Legal status of animals in legislation of The Republic of Serbia.

Neda Savić

Neda Savić got a PhD in Law at the University of Niš, Faculty of Law in 2019, having defended the thesis An Ecofeminist Aspect of Green Criminology. She spent the last semester of the doctoral studies at the Faculty of Law, NOVA University of Lisbon, as an Erasmus+ scholarship holder. Her areas of specialty are environmental crimes, gender studies, and legal protection of animals.

She got a Bachelor degree in Law (2013) and a Master degree in Law (2014), with the thesis Private Prisons. She is the author of numerous papers published in the country and abroad, and a holder of many awards, recognitions, and scholarships.

As LTP fellow, she would like to further advance her research skills, but also to gain and develop advocacy skills, to learn project management and strategic planning skills, as well to master the communication and analytical skills. The topic of her research paper is The criminal law aspects of connections between animal abuse and violence against women.

Tatjana Graorinov

Tatjana Graorinov has been actively involved as a volunteer in the preparation and implementation of numerous trainings and events on the topic of nature protection, conservation of biodiversity, animal welfare and sustainable development for more than five years in the civil society sector.

She attended several courses in various areas of environmental protection and sustainable development, including the Summer school at Johann Gutenberg University in Mainz in Germany on the topic of Global Change – Technological, Social and Environmental Transition on the Move. Tatjana is currently finishing a Masters degree in environmental policy at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade. 

As LTP Fellow, she would like to perfect the art of creating and conveying the desired message, learn more about various advocacy techniques and methods, as well as how to write a successful project proposal. The topic of her research paper is The high standards of animal welfare on the farms.

Vladan Dimitrijević

Vladan Dimitrijević is an entrepreneur, co-owner and the manager of Kampanja Marketing Agency, and also one of the founders and the president of the Ecological Society of Sokobanja.  The Ecological Society of Sokobanja works on the education of the youth in ecology (from pre-school to high-school level); has active volunteer patrols that guard ecologically sensitive points in the area; advocates proclamation of new protected areas; works on improving waste management in rural areas; helps weak and wounded wild animals.

As LTP Fellow, Vladan would like to learn more about environment protection, animal welfare, management of nature-protected areas and fundraising strategies. 

Vladan, as a successful entrepreneur and skilled manager has substantial experience in project management and team leading. He is also a nature-lover, and has a history of field-volunteering for both non-governmental (such as ORCA and Bird Protection and Study Society of Serbia) and governmental organizations (such as Institute for nature conservation of Serbia). The topic of his research paper is Sustainable waste management – municipality level.

Branislav Dimitrov

Branislav Dimitrov’s professional interests are related to research and conservation of freshwater biodiversity. He has been working on a project funded by The Rufford Foundation, with the aim of research and conservation of mountain streams’ benthic macroinvertebrates. 

As LTP Fellow, he would like to improve his leadership and communication skills, as well as learn about technics of fundraising and project management in order to be able to apply his professional knowledge in nature conservation in activities which would have more practical and far-reaching effects.

Branislav Dimitrov is active member of NGOs Biological Society “Dr Sava Petrović” from Niš and Forum for Sustainable Development from Dimitrovgrad.

The topic of his research paper is Biodiversity monitoring and protected natural resources management in Serbia.

Milijana Čalenić

Milijana Čalenić has worked as a professor of Serbian language in high school of electrical engineering “Mihajlo Pupin” in Novi Sad. She is also preparing students for high school entrance exam in Education centre “Pitagora”. Milijana is a volunteering in “Renewable Energy Sources” program, as well as in Society for sustainable development “Dunav”. By participating in these projects she is helping to promote and implement programs in the field of sustainable development and energy efficiency. 

As LTP Fellow, she would like to acquire knowledge and skills that would benefit animals and nature conservation. She thinks that educating youth about welfare of animals is crucial for triggering change in how people treat animals. By completing this training she is hoping to acquire communication skills, as well as advocacy skills, so she can present her ideas and give her contribution to the world in which people live in harmony with animals and nature. The topic of her research paper is Animal welfare in teaching Serbian language and literature in middle schools.

Đorđe Nikolić

Djordje Nikolic is the founder and president of CSO “Kamp Ekipa” which works in the field of educational workshops for children and youth, as well as organizing outdoor activities for individuals, groups and companies in the. The organization’s emphasis is on working with children and youth in order to raise awareness about nature protection, preservation of forests and rivers, as well as the welfare of animals. He is engaged as a visiting lecturer in pre-school institutions where he works with children within a plan and program defined in the direction of developing love, knowledge and skills related to nature.

As a participant in the ORCA Academy, he would like to improve his advocacy skills, active participation in initiatives related to the field of ecology and education of children. He would also like to develop the ability to influence groups and individuals of importance in order to realize plans and goals that are clearly defined and that are all subordinate to the future, happier and more quality life of all living beings. The topic of his research paper is The role of outdoor classrooms in upbringing and educating children.

Anđela Filipovski

Andjela Filipovski is a data researcher in LeadGenius company and a master of informatics.

Through Faculty of Electrical Engineering she was enrolled in a Soft Skills Academy where she gained communication and presentation skills and learn about teamwork, time planning, project management, conflict resolution, etc.

Andjela’s area of interest have always been related to animals and nature. She applied to Leadership training programme in order to find a way to put her competences in informatics to good use by actively contributing to animal welfare and nature conservation.

Her wish as LTP fellow is to gain knowledge related to process of creation and adoption of legislation, competences of institutions in area of animal welfare and nature conservation, as well as project writing and fundraising skills.

The topic of her research paper is voluntarism in area of animal welfare and nature conservation.

Jelena Savić

Jelena Savić hold a Masters degree in philosophy which she studied at the Central European University in Budapest. She is currently finishing another Masters degree, this time in environmental policy at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade

She worked in Open Society Foundation in Belgrade on education policies for Roma and currently, with support of the Central European University, she is conducting a research study on links between Roma and environmental activism in Serbia.

Jelena is an activist in area of feminism and Roma rights for many years and she collaborated with various civil society organisations. She is particularly interested in practical side of environmental ethics and she wishes to continue researching intersectional and interdisciplinary perspectives of the links between violence to people and environmental abuse, especially animal abuse.

As a LTP fellow she wishes to learn about public policies, legislation and institutional mechanisms of animal welfare and nature protection. The topic of her research paper is Role of animals in lives of Romani people in Serbia.