Dr. Sasha Toperich
Dr. Sasha Toperich was born in Sarajevo, (Bosnia and Herzegovina), where he began playing the piano at age five. After winning first prize at the Yugoslavian National Piano Competition at age 14, he performed throughout the country and recorded extensively music for Sarajevo Radio and Television. Dr. Toperich received his Master Artist Degree from the Jerusalem Rubin Academy, where he studied with Prof. Dr. Irena Berkovich, and his doctorate at the Music Academy in Lovran, Croatia, where he studied with Prof. Marina Ambokadze under the mentorship of Ivo Pogorelich. Dr. Toperich did post-doctoral research at Stanford University, where he was a Kimball Fellow and Visiting Scholar under Prof. Jonathan Berger. Dr. Toperich performed throughout the world to critical acclaim, and with conductors such as Zubin Mehta, Kazushi Ono, and others. His 1997 concert in Washington D.C. was broadcast nationwide on NPR (National Public Radio) and earned him a nomination for "Best Debut Artist". He has performed in Austria, Belgium, Brazil, China, Croatia, Germany, Egypt, France, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, The Netherlands, and throughout the United States. Dutch VPRO TV made a film "Toperich performs at Christofori in Amsterdam" after his successful debut at Concergebouw Hall. In 2007, Dr. Toperich performed at the Zankel Auditorium at Carnegie Hall.
In 1997, Dr. Toperich became President of the UNESCOÕs ChildrenÕs Foundation. His concerts for UNESCO raised money for medical aid for Bosnian children, victims of war. In 1998, he was named "UNESCO Artist for Peace". Dr. ToperichÕs piano recital at the United Nations headquarters in New York officially launched the "International Decade of Culture of Peace" proclaimed by the U.N. In 2000, he performed a charity concert at the Sarajevo National Theater, organized under the high patronage of The Honorable Ejup Ganic, then-President of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, resulting in the establishment of a fund that continues to support the education of young musicians in this country. In 2004, Dr. Toperich performed a concert in Monrovia, Liberia, organized by The Honorable Jacques Paul Klein, the UN Secretary-GeneralÕs Special Representative in Liberia and His Excellency Charles Gyude Bryant, then-interim President of Liberia. The concert raised funds for the Law School at Monrovia University and was broadcast live throughout the African continent. In 2012, with his friend and UNESCO Artist for Peace violinist Eijin Nimura, he co-organized and performed a charity concert at Kioi Hall in Tokyo, in support of orphans in Fukushima after the nuclear tragedy. Dr. Toperich also visited Fukushima.
From 2001 to 2003, Dr. Toperich served as an Advisor to the Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations. From 2003-2007, he served as the Presidential Envoy of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United States. From 2009-2010, he served as a Counselor at the Permanent Mission of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations. From 2011 Ð 2014, he served as an Advisor to member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina His Excellency Bakir Izetbegovic.
Civil Society, Think-Thank, Academia
Dr. Toperich is the President of the America Ð Bosnia Foundation, an organization supporting the development of political, cultural, and educational ties between the U.S.- and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Dr. Toperich co-chaired a "Women In Leadership" conference held in Sarajevo in November 2013 with representatives of 13 Mediterranean countries, and the United States, as part of the CTR-SAIS Mediterranean Basin Initiative.
He co-chaired a major international conference titled "The Western Balkans: Progress, Stagnation, or Regression," held in Sarajevo in June 2011, where political, academic, media and civil society leaders discussed ways to move the region forward toward the EU and NATO integrations. The Honorable Philip Gordon, then the U. S. Assistant Secretary of State was a keynote speaker and The Honorable Joseph R. Biden, the Vice President of the United States applauded the initiative organized by CTR-SAIS and the America Ð Bosnia Foundation.
In 2004, Dr. Toperich served as the Project Manager of the "European Youth Peace Summit" held in Sarajevo, bringing together over 500 youth organization leaders from around Europe to support the EU integration.
Dr. Toperich is the Co-Chairman of the World Youth Leadership Network (WYLN), with headquarters in Japan. The organization has established several computer centers in Africa to support youth education, and has organized a Peace Concert with Tibetan and Chinese artists in Dharamsala India, among others. In association with Laughing Buddha Music, Inc., WYLN launched the "Visas for Life" project, an educational/historic/diplomatic story of a Japanese diplomat, Chiune Sugihara, who saved over 6000 Jews in Europe during WWII by issuing transit visas through Japan, while serving as Japanese Consul in Kaunas, Lithuania.
Dr. Toperich is the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the "Mediterranean Development Initiative" (MDI) based in Tunis, Tunisia, an organization working closely with the Center for Transatlantic Relations SAIS (CTR-SAIS) within the framework of the Mediterranean Basin Initiative.
Dr. Toperich is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations SAIS at The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington D.C. In the capacity, he is the CTR-SAIS coordinator of the Transatlantic Economic Forum held annually at CTR-SAIS, and the coordinator of the Mediterranean Basin Initiative aimed at assisting further development of the transatlantic relationship with the countries of the broader Mediterranean and supporting stronger cooperation within the region itself.
With Andy Mullins, Dr. Toperich was co-editor of the CTR-SAIS "A New Paradigm: Perspectives on the Changing Mediterranean", a Brookings Institution publication. Dr. Toperich, along with the Right Honourable Lord Clive Soley, co-chaired the book launch at the House of Lords at the UK Parliament in London in 2013.
Dr. Toperich is a co-author of two articles: "The Regulatory Environment in the Financial System in Bosnia and Herzegovina", and the "A New Paradigm for the Mediterranean Ð EU Ð U.S. Ð North Africa Ð Southeast Europe" published in Unfinished Business: The Western Balkans and the International Community, a Brookings Institution publication in 2012.
Dr. Toperich writes extensively about Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and the larger Mediterranean in his blog at the Huffington Post. He lives in Washington D.C.
Articles By Dr. Sasha Toperich
Terrorism in Libya: Causes and Effects
Libya has a population of only 6 million people in an area larger than that of France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland combined. In addition, it has Africa’s largest oil reserves.
Instead of applying Libya’s huge wealth for development programs, Gaddafi exploited it for his own misguided adventures, supporting terrorist group from the Philippines, to Ireland, to essentially all of Africa where he spent lavishly to stage coups and support leaders close to him, and to fuel his ambitions of becoming Africa’s King of Kings. His reckless acts included the bombing of a night club in Germany frequented by American soldiers, the bombing of a US Pan Am 103 as well as a UTA flight over Niger, a conspiracy to assassinate the King of Saudi Arabia, war with Egypt, and an ill-fated invasion of neighboring Chad.
Peshmerga: Pride of All Humanity – But We Need To Help More
The temperature is over 120 degrees and I am in a car with Peshmerga General Ato Zebari, visiting several Peshmerga posts at the front lines of the war against ISIS. One of these posts was located no further than a quarter mile from ISIS positions. There, we were greeted by the major-colonel in charge, who was of Shabak ethnicity. The morale is high, and the Peshmerga soldiers are determined to defeat ISIS. One truck, severely damaged by a recent ISIS mortar attack, was being pulled aside as our motorcade passed by. “They are trying suicide missions and launching mortar attacks.
Algeria’s Major Reform of Intelligence Department
ISIS and other terrorist groups’ infiltration into Algeria are a daily occurrence. So are the frequent contraband smuggling gasoline and other commodities to Morocco, Mali, Tunisia, and Libya. The strong military and intelligence apparatus is repelling threats successfully.
Halabja Genocide Commemorated in Washington D.C.
It is thanks to brave men and women of Peshmerga forces, backed by the U.S. and its allies air strikes, that ISIS attacks are repelled daily and that even bigger tragedy didn’t occur. We should continue to grow our support and partnership with the people of Kurdistan region, and help them rebound and re-energize from daunting problems they are facing. This is an obligation of us all, that we can make sure all innocent lives lost in the past decades were not lost in vain.
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Defense Industry – America’s Partner in Combating Terrorism
In recent decades, the United States has learned the difficulty of “nation-building” processes, and compared to Afghanistan or Iraq, the Balkans are viewed as a success story. With the possibility to further enhance military cooperation and commerce, Bosnia and Herzegovina may be given yet another boost, to be exactly that: a success story.
“The Peshmerga Did Not Seek Fame”
ISIS recent car bomb attack in front of the U.S. Consulate killing three and wounded several, is a bold reminder more training and arming of the security forces is needed. The proposed legislation in the U.S. Congress drafted by Congressmen Ed Royce (R-CA) and Eliot Engel (D-NY) authorizing the U.S. to directly arm the Peshmerga forces and issue end-user certificates through the KRG – if the Congress enacts it – is a step in the right direction.
Libya: Tougher UN Sanctions a Welcome Move, Yet More to Be Done to Curb Muslim Brotherhood
By Sasha Toperich, Senior Fellow, Center for Transatlantic Relations, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies Article first appeared at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sasha-toperich/libya-tougher-un-sanction_b_5726084.html Since July 13, Tripoli has been subjected to vicious attack by Muslim Brotherhood-supported militias from the city of Misrata in what they called Operation Libya Dawn (OLD). The attack centered mainly on Tripoli […]
Kurdistan: The U.S. Should Arm the Peshmerga Directly
The Kurds and the Kurdistan Regional Government have been a strong U.S. ally and friend since long before ISIL emerged. The Kurdish Peshmerga is a leading force in fighting ISIL and holds a thousand-mile border with the terrorist group. Fighting such a brutal enemy, which disregards the rules of military engagement and commits atrocity after atrocity, with outdated AK47 rifles is unacceptable. They need heavy arms.
UN Mediation In Libya: Thumbs Up But No Applause Yet
Libyans and others wonder why such a huge international coalition was assembled with U.S. leadership to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria after some Western correspondents were brutally slaughtered there, while calls for another coalition to fight the spread of ISIS to North Africa were all but blocked. Even efforts to bolster the Libyan Army in its eight-month bloody fight against Ansar Al Sharia, a group declared as terrorist by the U.S. government and group responsible for the assassination of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens on September 11, 2012 in Benghazi. The Libyan Army’s fight in that city has left parts of the city in shambles, forcing hundreds of families to flee.