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The Celebration of the Jubilee of “Before I Die“ in Ada Ciganlija

The Association “Živojin Mišić“ marked the fifth anniversary of the project “Before I Die“ on Saturday, June 15th, 2019.

“Before I Die“ is a wall located in Belgrade. It was built in the summer in 2015 and aims at encouraging people to think and write what it is they consider to be really important to them so as to be a step closer to the fulfillment of their wishes.

This initiative was started by Candy Chang in 2011 on the wall of an abandoned house in New Orleans after she had lost her beloved.

There are more than 70 walls in the world such as these and Belgrade is one of the cities which has supported this initiative. Last week we marked the fifth, jubilee year since the erection of this wall in Ada Ciganlija.

On this occasion we have organized a panel discussion on the topic “How to achieve your life goals“. We had the opportunity to share our different experience concerning life success, aims, wishes and future goals and how to reach them.

Our panelists were Marina Ćosić, a young actress, who graduated from the Faculty of Dramatic Arts, taught by professor Srđan Karanović. Her first role was in a hit TV detective series “Ubice moga oca“ where she played the role of Milica Despotović; in the film “Zona Zamfirova 2“ she played the role of Kalina and in the series “Senke nad Balkanom“ she played the role of exceedingly beautiful Kosa. She also became famous by the role of Sofija in the soap opera “Istine i laži“.

Maša Stojaković, a student at the Faculty of Law in Belgrade. Maša was born with disability but she has always achieved her goals successfully! She showed her reciting and acting abilities in secondary school where she did acting. She had her first role in the play “The Defence of Socrates“. Last year, at Christmas, in the TV broadcast by Vesna Dedić, she shared her life story as well.

Vanja Paunović, a former student of “Četrnaesta gimnazija”, at the department of linguistics, is now one of the best students of the Faculty of Computing. She is a young advocate of science and the winner of numerous hackathons, of which the last one was Fon Hackathon in 2018. She is an example of how a young person by his hard work can achieve great success even when he starts from scratch and changes his occupation.

The panel discussion was led by Dijana Kocić, BA in management at FON, who writes her own travel blog, is engaged in creating materials and motivating people to fulfill their dreams.

Our panelists had the opportunity to introduce themselves to the audience and to show them the key to their success, where to look for motivation when they need it and their short-term and long-term aims.

Marina Ćosić, regardless of how much she is successful today, told us that it did not always seem so and we believe that it is something by which the vast majority of the young can identify themselves. Beside her commitment to a lot of work, she believes that there is a lucky star under which we all were born and that energy creates energy. And that everyone should find the direction of their lucky star.

She said to all who listened to her in Ada that if we wanted to achieve something, we had to undertake constantly the steps leading to the original goal. As she says, every success is estimated and noticed at the end of the day, we cannot deceive success, it is cosmic justice.

If we asked Vanja what his secret was, he would tell us that the organisation is the key. He writes his daily, weekly and monthly tasks in always filled in appointment books, calendars...

That it is not terrible to change your occupation completely because if you work hard on your wishes, nothing is impossible. His life changed as well. He was a student at the department of linguistics and now he is one of the most successful students at the Faculty of Computing, an advocate of science. Recently he has been very often on TV and has been talking about numerous competions he wins and if you asked him if he had ever imagined that something like that could happen, he would say no.

His biggest success in life is currently the competitions he has won, which gave him motivation and then he became aware of having found himself, which he wished to all the present in the audience – to find themselves even when they think that they have been completely lost.

The whole discussion was real and talked about successes and falls through life, which have happened to all with whom we keep in touch. It also talked about how one should continue to believe and be hardworking even when it is the hardest because there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

Maša's story is somewhat different. As a girl born with disability, Maša had far more difficulties in life than her peers and she needed much more strength to fight against all obstacles waiting for her. She says that she has been led through life by spite. Spite, persistence and work on oneself because if we do not help ourselves, no one else will help us. She believes that we are the best friends to ourselves but that the support of parents and closest friends is also very important in one's life.

She was the strongest motivation for all of us that day and showed us that life despite obstacles can be good!

Maša's message for the end of the panel was that we always do what we want and that we do not pay attention to what other people say because other people will always talk and happiness is in us ourselves.

Once again we thank dear Dijana, Marina, Maša and Vanja, the best educators of Serbia who have given us support, the Foundation 1% and the audience who made our jubilee nicer by their presence at the celebration.

We are hoping that the inspirational stories of these brilliant, young people have been an incentive and a head start to those who lacked this and that they encourage just a little our fellow-townsmen to think.