Marina Riđić

“ The only limit to your impact is your imaginatio and commitment” Tony Robbins Making a positive impact, being heard and visible in the hectic 21st century is a big challenge for everyone, especially for journalists whose business core is storytelling and communication. After spending a year as a Humphrey fellow at the Arizona State University, my stories and my voice were heard for the first time in my life outside of my country. The global Humphrey alumni network provided me with an opportunity to become one of the advocates for positive changes in my society. Some of the issues I have tackled working as a journalist were related to economic issues, discrimination, reconciliation and human rights. These stories live on with the help of other fellows from all around the world. Together, as leaders, we have built a new platform for sharing and exchanging our ideas.

Humphrey fellows at Arizona State University, 2017.

One of the things I am proud of is being invited to participate in the initiative called Klima bez dima in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) to advocate a healthy lifestyle and better solutions in preventing and protecting people from passive smoke. I believe adopting and enforcing legislation aimed to protect citizens from second-hand smoke will make a huge positive difference to population’s health.

It might seem that this issue is not one of the priorities in the country where more than 5 people leave BiH every hour due to the highest youth unemployment rate in the world, where the pollution during the winter in the capital is higher than anywhere else, where people are divided into three ethno-nationalistic groups without any political willingness to improve transparency, democracy, economy and the rule of law.

Mascot, named Nepuško,  was the first voice of the smoke-free environment in Bosnia

So why am I interested in this issue? According to the World Bank, every year more 9,000 people die in BiH due to tobacco-related diseases. If no action is taken, 180,000 people will die prematurely of tobacco-related diseases in BiH in the next two decades. Looking at these numbers, maybe someone might understand why I am passionate about this topic. The issue of controlling tobacco smoke is especially significant for protecting the children in Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to the World Bank data, 85% of the children have been exposed to second-hand smoke on a daily basis.

Marina during TV show at Aljazeera Balkans

As a TV Anchor, Reporter and Activist, I have faced the challenge of standing out from the crowd and making memorable stories with a concrete impact. Giving the voice to the voiceless is rooted in all Aljazeera Media Network content. Giving the voice to individuals, ideas, issues or even institutions has become my mission as well. Being involved in the Klima bez dima initiative, I see children, pregnant women and ill people as the voiceless. Tobacco industry sets and changes the rules.
I believe being a Humphrey fellow and being part of the global Alumni leadership network can help us set the new rules. Each voice included in the Humphrey Alumni network brings power to the single source. My fellow Humphrey friends have helped me gain visibility and become a better leader in my own society. This is the reason I want to help this network grow and thus help this world become a better place for everyone.

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