Srebrenica genocide survivor receives honorary doctorate

26th May 2017
Srebrenica genocide survivor receives honorary doctorate

Bill Rammell, Vice Chancellor, University of Bedfordshire and Human Rights advocate and Srebrenica genocide survivor Nedžad Avdić (Photo: Kevin Lines/ University of Bedfordshire)

Nadine Osman

A committed humanitarian and Srebrenica genocide survivor has been conferred an honorary doctorate of philosophy from the University of Bedfordshire for his outstanding commitment to Human Rights on April 24.

Nedžad Avdić, a Bosnian Muslim, was just 17-years-old when he and his family fled their home in July 1995 after it was attacked and made the perilous journey to the “safe area” of Srebrenica. However, when Srebrenica fell and the town was besieged by the Bosnian Serb army, he fled again, with his father and uncle.

Avdić, was taken captive by the Bosnian Serb forces and forced to face a firing squad. The teenager was shot in the stomach, arm and left foot, but the bullet missed his vital organs. After lying among the dead bodies, he waited for a chance to escape through the woods to safety.

One of just a handful of men to survive the mass executions, Avdić has devoted his life to speaking out on the need to tackle hatred and bring communities together to prevent similar atrocities from happening in the future.

Avdić dedicated his award, “for all those who fight for justice in a dignified way. It is easy to lose hope, but this Doctorate gives me back that hope and a new strength to keep going forward. I know that I must never stop telling the world that hatred cannot bring anything good.”

Bill Rammell, Vice Chancellor, University of Bedfordshire, said: “Nedžad is an inspiration to us all. In spite of all he’s been through Nedžad continues to reject hatred and campaigns tirelessly so that others will never have to suffer as he has.”

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