OSLO – Croatian student Duško Kostic, the winner of the Student Peace Prize 2011, will be honored with a ceremony on 18 February in Trondheim, Norway. According to the Chairperson of the European Students Union, Bert Vandenkendelaere: “Kostic and his work highlight two important issues. The first is that education is crucial for groups who are trying to overcome discrimination and social exclusion. The second is the extraordinary role that students can play in changing their societies.”
The Student Peace Prize committee already decided to award the prize to Kostic, by the end of 2010. According to the jury report: “He tries to build bridges and understanding between different ethnic groups in a country that was formerly devastated by war.”
Kostic’s fights against the prejudices against the Roma and has worked to get a larger percentage of Roma children to complete their primary education and enter higher studies. He visits Roma families to tell them about the importance of education and encourages parents to send their children to school. Duško is also engaged in speaking about the Roma people’s culture and tradition to school administrations so that the schools can become an arena for peaceful co-existence. By being an active student himself, he tries to be a role model for his community.
For more than a decade the Student Peace Prize has been a way to support students all over the world who are doing important work to promote peace and human rights. The Prize originates from the International Student Festival in Trondheim(ISFiT) and was first awarded in 1999. To this day, six students and student organizations from Burma, East Timor, Zimbabwe, Colombia and Western Sahara have received the prize. The Prize is awarded on behalf of all students in Norway, while the selection itself is made by an independent Peace Prize committee