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SIAE Awards 2006
Maribor Adult Education Centre

SIAE awards for learning and knowledge promotion 2009

Awards to individuals for outstanding achievements in lifelong learning 

Faila Pašić Bišić from Jesenice

business secretary, volunteer, Ambassador of the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion
Proposed by: The Up (Hope) Charity, Jesenice



‘Ignorance is a source of many prejudices and fears. I would like to see intercultural dialogue become part of the primary school curriculum so that young people become acquainted at that stage with people of different backgrounds. Ignorance, fear of the unknown, generalisation (stereotyping) are the source of all evil among people.'

Faila Pašić Bišić was born in Jesenice, into a Muslim family that had emigrated from Bosnia. She received little support from her teachers at school, but nevertheless managed to continue her education. She completed studies at Jesenice Secondary Business School and went on to graduate from Koper Business College. After graduating she was classed by the Employment Service as ‘difficult to employ' on account of her wearing the Muslim headscarf. At that time it was not even possible to get a driving licence wearing the scarf, but she refused to let circumstances force her into anonymity. Filing a citizen's initiative, she won the right for Muslim women to gain a driving licence, and her attendance at various courses and seminars (language, computers, public relations, principles and methods of global learning), gave her new knowledge that made her more self-confident as well as more competitive on the labour market. She is now employed as a business secretary.

Throughout this time, she employed values as a Muslim to undertake voluntary work, in particular with the Up charity organisation in Jesenice. She has taken part in seminars and conferences, becoming well known domestically and abroad. She works with schools, organising interactive workshops on the topic of human rights, the elimination of discrimination and the promotion of equal opportunities. Between 2005-2009 she took her workshops, using global learning methods, to over 100 schools across Slovenia.

She has deepened her knowledge of Arabic language, literature and culture through independent study. Her favourite sports activity is skating and she trains on a regular basis. Her knowledge of languages enables her to take part successfully in international projects, particularly those with a humanitarian focus. However, Faila is not simply a humanitarian. activist; she is a dedicated mother and wife, sensitive also to the pressures on children who have been the victims of the violence of war. Her voluntary work earned her the titles of ‘Volunteer of the Year' and ‘Dobrotnica (Humanitarian) of the Year 2007', and a nomination for ‘Slovenian Woman of the Year'. For her brave contribution to overcoming prejudices against Islam, she was chosen as one of the ‘faces' of the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All in 2007. This year she is Ambassador of the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion.


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