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Saša Toperić

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Saša Toperić, also written as Sasha Toperich (born 1972) is a concert pianist, diplomat, and human rights advocate.[1]

Concert Pianist[edit]

Toperich, born in Sarajevo, then in Yugoslavia but now in Bosnia and Herzegovina, began playing piano at the age of four. During his years of study, he won first prize at the piano students competition in Dubrovnik.

He moved to Jerusalem at the age of 21 in the early 1990s, where he did his formal training at the Rubin Academy of Music and Dance in Jerusalem receiving his M.A. in piano, studying under Meira Smailovic, Arbo Valdma, and Irina Berkovich.[2]

He earned his doctoral degree at the Music Academy in Lovran, Croatia, where he studied with Marina Ambokadze.[2]

His performances have been broadcast on radio and television programs in France, Austria, Israel, Brazil, the United States, Japan, China, South Korea, Belgium, The Netherlands and the countries of former Yugoslavia. Toperich has performed with conductors such as Zubin Mehta and Kuzushi Ono.[2]
His concert in Washington, D.C., in 1997 was broadcast nationwide on National Public Radio and earned him a nomination for Best Debut Artist. Known for a combination of sensitivity and technical skill, Toperich is one of the world's premier up-and-coming pianists.

In 2004, he became the first concert pianist to perform in Monrovia (Liberia), a concert organized by Jacques P. Klein, United Nations Special Representative in Liberia. This concert was broadcast live throughout the African continent.

Philanthropy and diplomacy[edit]

In 1997, he became President of the Children Foundation of UNESCO.

In 1998, he was awarded the title of UNESCO Artist for Peace. In 2001, he resigned his honorary title in protest of UNESCO's decision not to display the work of Tibetan artists on United Nations premises.[2]

Toperich was appointed the Presidential Envoy of Bosnia to the United States.[3]

He was the first high-ranking diplomat from Bosnia and Herzegovina to officially visit Baghdad after fall of Saddam. From 2009 -2010, Toperich served as a Consellor at the Permanent Mission of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations.

He founded the America-Bosnia Foundation (, which was established to foster stronger political, cultural and educational ties between the American and Bosnian people. The foundation organizes concerts, exhibitions, lectures, panels, and educational seminars in both Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the US. ABF's mission is also to strengthen democratic values in Bosnia and preserve its multiethnic and multicultural character.[4]

Toperich co-chaired a major international conference The Western Balkans: “Progress, Stagnation, or Regression” ( held in Sarajevo in June 2011 where political, academic, media and civil society elite discussed ways to move the region forward towards the EU and NATO integrations. Phil Gordon, Assistant Secretary of State was a keynote speaker and Joseph Biden, U.S. Vice President applauded the initiative.

He 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 association with Laughing Buddha Music Inc., Toperich launched “Visas for Life” project, an educational/historic/diplomatic story of a Japanese diplomat, Chiune Sugihara, who saved over 6000 Jews during World War II by issuing transit visas through Japan, when serving as a Japanese Consul in Kaunas, Lithuania.

Toperich also founded the World Youth Leadership Network (, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to unite the international youth community through good works and cultural exchange,[5] launching it at the UN Headquarters in New York City in April 2004. The WYLN has contributed and donated computers to schools and universities in Liberia, organised a fundraising concert in Monrovia for the Louis Arther Grimes School of Law, and set up an IT centre in Benin in collaboration with the Benin Education Fund and the World Bank to allow students to learn and gain new skills.[3]

Also in 2004, Toperich served as a project manager for the European Youth Peace Summit held in Sarajevo, bringing together over 500 youth leaders from all over Europe. Budimir Lončar, former Foreign Minister of Yugoslavia under Marshal Tito, and later, top advisor to Stjepan Mesic, President of Croatia, was European Youth Peace Summit Senior Advisor.

From 2011 – 2014, he served as an advisor to the member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bakir Izetbegovic.

Toperich speaks English, French, Portuguese, Serbo-Croatian, Hebrew and Russian.


He is a co-author of two papers in the book Unfinished Business: The Western Balkans and the International Community (Brookings Institution/CTR, 2012),[6] titled “The Regulatory Environment in the Financial System in Bosnia and Herzegovina and How to Improve It” and “A New Paradigm for the Mediterranean: EU-U.S.-North Africa-Southeast Europe.”

In the former article with Goran Nedic, he explored methods of implementing the Basel Committee recommendations for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Toperich, along with Andy Mullins, edited Brookings Institution/CTR, 2014 publication “A New Paradigm: Perspectives on the Changing Mediterranean”,[7] and the Brookings Institution/CTR 2015 publication, "Bosnia and Herzegovina and Its European Future". With Aylin Unver Noi, Toperich edited the Brookings Institution/CTR 2015 publication, "Challenges of Democracy in the European Union and its Neighbors".

Toperich is also a Featured Columnist at the[8]

The following articles from Toperich were published by The Huffington Post and the U.S.

  • Iran: My Journey to Isfahan, The City That Is 'Half of the World[9]
  • Property Rights Key to Reform, in Algeria and Across the MENA Region[10]
  • Libya: The Muslim Brotherhood's Last Stand?[11]
  • 2014 Doing Business in Algeria Conference Concludes in Washington[12]
  • Tunisia's Adenauer: The 'Old Man' Essebsi[13]
  • Algeria-Bosnia and Herzegovina: From Football to Business[14]
  • Muslim Brotherhood in Libya: Another ISIS branch?[15]
  • The Libyan Revolution's Hard Reset: A UN Solution to Unblock the Libyan Stalemate[16]
  • Political Inclusiveness: The Key Word for Arab Spring Nations[17]
  • Time for a Council of Europe in the Middle East and North Africa[18]
  • Algeria: A Young Nation Reinventing Itself[19]
  • Iran: The U.S. Should Not Miss Its Opportunity Again[20]
  • UN Mediation in Libya: Thumbs Up But No Applause Yet[21]
  • The Peshmerga Did Not Seek Fame[22]
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Defense Industry – America’s Partner in Combating Terrorism[23]
  • Tunisia’s Transition Between Hopes and Challenges[24]
  • A Much Needed New Economic Paradigm For Algeria[25]


  1. ^ "Emessay Notes". MSANA. October 2002. Retrieved June 13, 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Biographies]," (pdf). Retrieved June 13, 2008. 
  3. ^ a b Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh. Interview with Phaldip Singh, United Sikhs. Accessed June 13, 2008.
  4. ^ "Partners: Core Partnerships". The Dayton Peace Accords Project. Retrieved June 13, 2008. 
  5. ^ Chenn, Zamira. "Chiune Sugihara, The "Japanese Schindler"". Jewish Post. Retrieved June 13, 2008. 
  6. ^ "Welcome to the Center for Transatlantic Relations - the Center for Transatlantic Relations" (pdf). 
  7. ^ "A New Paradigm for the Mediterranean". 
  8. ^ "Dr. Sasha Toperich". 
  9. ^ "Iran: My Journey to Isfahan, The City That Is 'Half of the World'". The Huffington Post. 
  10. ^ "Property Rights Key to Reform, in Algeria and Across the MENA Region". The Huffington Post. 
  11. ^ "Libya: The Muslim Brotherhood's Last Stand?". The Huffington Post. 
  12. ^ "2014 Doing Business in Algeria Conference Concludes in Washington". The Huffington Post. 
  13. ^ "Tunisia's Adenauer: The 'Old Man' Essebsi". The Huffington Post. 
  14. ^ "Algeria-Bosnia and Herzegovina: From Football to Business". The Huffington Post. 
  15. ^ "Muslim Brotherhood in Libya: Another ISIS branch?". 
  16. ^ "The Libyan Revolution's Hard Reset: A UN Solution to Unblock the Libyan Stalemate". The Huffington Post. 
  17. ^ Toperich, Sasha (June 23, 2014). "Political Inclusiveness: The Key Word for Arab Spring Nations". The Huffington Post. Retrieved October 14, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Time for a Council of Europe in the Middle East and North Africa". The Huffington Post. 
  19. ^ "Algeria: A Young Nation Reinventing Itself". The Huffington Post. 
  20. ^ "Iran: The U.S. Should Not Miss Its Opportunity -- Again". The Huffington Post. 
  21. ^ "US Mediation In Libya To Fight ISIS". 
  22. ^ "The Peshmerga Did Not Seek Fame". 
  23. ^ "Bosnia and Herzegovina's Defense Industry – America's Partner in Combating Terrorism". 
  24. ^ "Tunisia's Transition Between Hopes and Challenges". The Huffington Post. 
  25. ^ "A Much Needed New Economic Paradigm For Algeria". The Huffington Post.