Zeljko Jovanovic is director of the Roma Initiatives Office.
Before joining the Open Society Foundations in 2006, Jovanovic worked for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). From February 2005 to August 2006, he was an officer in the OSCE Mission to Serbia, working with the government of Serbia on EU-funded municipal projects for Roma and the introduction of Roma teacher’s assistants and Roma municipal coordinators. Before that, from April 2003 to May 2004, he served in the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights as manager of the regional project “Roma Use Your Ballot Wisely!” From 2000 to 2003, Jovanovic worked with Catholic Relief Services on local Roma initiatives and project-management training for Roma organizations.
Of Roma ethnic background, Jovanovic comes from a family that, through determination and a belief in education, moved from extreme poverty to the middle class. He has an academic background in law and has completed the Harvard University Executive Education program on Strategic Management for Leaders of Non-Governmental Organizations. In secondary school and during his university studies, Jovanovic was involved in protests against the Milosevic regime. During this period, he also volunteered as journalist for a Roma radio magazine broadcasted on B92, the only independent broadcaster in Serbia at the time, and was an activist for a Roma political party.