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Ajla Grozdanic
Ajla Grozdanic

Ajla Grozdanic

United Nations Development Programme

New York, NY USA

"The thing I’ve learned [as a refugee] is that people are the same...we all come from different parts of the world, but we all go through the same feelings, we all want the same things for our children, we all want the same things for ourselves, and we all want peace in the world."

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Ajla's work combines: Journalism, Non-Profit Organizations, and Accomplishing Goals

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Day In The Life

Goodwill Ambassador Relations Manager

I work with celebrities to get them involved as advocates for social and environmental causes.


Day In The Life Of A Goodwill Ambassador Relations Manager For The United Nations

My Day to Day

I combine my skills in story telling and journalism with my passion for service to leverage the social influence of celebrities to bring awareness to causes and effect more change. My job involves a lot of research and recruiting efforts. I also develop new strategies to get our ambassadors more invested in the causes they represent. I serve as the main point of contact between celebrities, our organization, and various partners.

Skills & Education

Advice for getting started

This pushed me to rise above my "otherness" and not be defined by my accent. This is who I am and I made a point to make that an asset.

Here's the path I took:

  • High School

  • Bachelor's Degree

    International Relations and Affairs

    Miami University-Oxford

  • Bachelor's Degree

    German Language and Literature

    Miami University-Oxford

  • Bachelor's Degree

    Spanish Language and Literature

    Miami University-Oxford

  • Graduate Degree


    New York University

Life & Career Milestones

My path in life took a while to figure out

  • 1.

    She was born and raised in Sarajevo, Bosnia—was 12 years old when the Bosnian War broke out.

  • 2.

    While visiting her grandparents in another town, the border to her country was shut down and she ended up getting separated from her parents for two years without any contact.

  • 3.

    Eventually, her family was forced to flee the country and they were brought as refugees to Germany with the help of the United Nations.

  • 4.

    For three years, they lived in Germany in cramped wooden barracks alongside a dozen other families—says she looks back on this time with positivity because her family was safe and together.

  • 5.

    Placed in a school that was not designed to prepare her for college—she successfully petitioned her teachers and was sent to another school so she could go to college.

  • 6.

    Her family was among the first Bosnian refugees to be resettled in the U.S.—says her experiences fleeing Bosnia as a child inspired her to either become a journalist or work for the United Nations.

  • 7.

    After getting her master’s degree, she worked as a journalist for a while, but decided to switch course and started working in communications for a refugee resettlement organization.

  • 8.

    She now works for the United Nations Development Programme mobilizing celebrities to advocate for social and environmental causes—says she still can’t believe she achieved her childhood dream.

Defining Moments

How I responded to discouragement


    Messages from Teachers:

    Because you have an accent, people are going to think you are dumb, so you will have to try harder than everyone else.

  • How I responded:

    This pushed me to rise above my "otherness" and not be defined by my accent. This is who I am and I made a point to make that an asset.

Experiences and challenges that shaped me

Click to expand

  • My family was forced to leave Bosnia during the war and we spent several years living as refugees in Germany until we immigrated to the U.S. I barely spoke the language and the culture was so different from what I was used to.

  • I experienced the Bosnian War first hand. Was separated from my parents for two years and lived for a long time as a refugee.