, P.O. Box 20554, New York, NY 10021
Tel. 212.560.0905, Fax. 718.784.1858
Reconciliation and Culture Cooperative Network
Raccoon Staff Bios
Krista Minteer Development
Krista Minteer has been involved with RACCOON in various capacities since 2004. As a student intern she assisted with fundraising and special events. Last autumn she was hired as a program consultant to work on issues of domestic violence. She currently continues to develop the domestic violence program and has taken on the additional role of development coordinator. She recently received her mater's degree in International Affairs from New School University where most of her research centered on the former Yugoslavia.
Eric BachmanFinancial Administrator
Eric Bachman is a transnational peace activist, a nonviolence trainer and consultant on information technology for NGO's and NPO's. He has lived 36 years in Germany before returning to the US in 2005. He has worked with peace, antiwar, human rights and environmental groups in many European countries and in Africa and has experience working in crisis situations and in nonviolent action. He worked with the Anti Ratna Kampanja in Croatia, the Centar za antiratnu akciju (CAA) in Beograd, Centar za mir nenasilje i ljudska prava Osijek, Pokret za mir Pancevo and many other peace, human rights and women's groups in the region. He was one of the founders and the coordinator of the ZaMir Transnational Net, an electronic communication network that was set up during the wars in the former Yugoslavia to enable communication among NGO's on every side of the new and old borders and with the rest of the world. He is affiliated with the War Resisters International, the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, and the Nonviolent Peaceforce. He has worked with the Balkan Peace Team-International and the
Barb Syrrakos is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and is a consultant at RACCOON, where she edits the newsletter and assists in other assorted projects. She has worked as a journalist and lecturer in history and political science in New York and now resides with her family in Brussels where, as a Fulbright Fellow, she is conducting doctoral research on European governance.
Bojana Zezelj graduted from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and is now in the process of earning her second masters from the Hunter College School of Social Work at CUNY. She earned her professional chops at the Open Society Institute New York, and Child Protection section at UNICEF. Her teaching credits, in addition to working as a Bosnian- Croatian-Serbian tutor at Raccoon, include teaching a course in children's rigths at the undergraduate program in Social Sciences at the New School, and working as a writing tutor at Hunter. While at Columbia, Bojana wrote and produced two short documentaries, one of which, about the Bosnian immigrant community in New York, has been screened at a number of festivals. Bojana also has a background in acting, and extensive experience in translation and interpreting. She is currently involved in a theater production about the effects of the recent Yugoslav war on a mixed marriage family in Mostar.
Nida Bikmen is finishing her Ph.D. in Social/Personality Psychology at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is a native of Turkey and has been living in New York since 1999. Nida has done research with various immigrant groups in New York focusing on identity negotiation, experiences of discrimination, and collective action. She has recently completed her dissertation on collective memory and intergroup relations among refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina. At Raccoon, she is working as a consultant for the Cyber Yugo project.
In September of 2004 Nada began working with RACCOON as a consultant providing weekly women's dance movement therapy groups. In September of 2005 she began to organize the monthly women's groups covering topics such as traditional dance, arts in healing, and belly dance. She also assists in organizing various RACCOON events...usually, by adding song and dance in some fashion. Nada received her masters of arts in Dance/Movement therapy in 1993 and her creative arts therapy license in 2006. She has worked in a variety of mental health/human services settings over the years and presently works as a Supervisor of Creative art therapy in a SE Bronx women's homeless shelter serving women with severe mental illness/ chemical addictions and are survivors of trauma. Her passion is to weave social justice/ healing/arts/community/nature in all facets of her life. Working with RACCOON has enriched her by being an active part in assisting reconciliation for others.
Don Larrabure studied graphic design and is a Production Manager for Herman Associates, an advertising agency in mid-town. He became aquainted with RACCOON through the highly acclaimed and controversial Serbo-Croatian language class. He had to “marry into” the Bosnian community but is glad he did otherwise he never would have known the beauty of the Croatian coast, the joy of mama Krizanic’s homemade sarma (Balkan’s chicken soup) or ever known what cevapi was. Don designs the newsletter. His dream is to import sand to the Croatian coast to make the beaches more comfortable for Westerners to enjoy.
Elma Prapaniku is an Albanian-American. Currently a junior at Hunter College in Manhatten, she is majoring in English- Language Arts. Her internship at RACCOON began this summer. She has great interest in peace education, conflict resolution and youth development.
Ivana BegicHealth Advocate
Born in Bosnia, she moved to Connecticut in 1996 where she finished her BS degree in Communication with a minor in German. She moved to NYC in 2003 and has been with Raccoon since early 2005 working as a health advocate. As a health advocate Ivana tries to help uninsured, underpaid constituents get affordable health care.
Executive & founding director of RACCON, Inc.
She was born in Podgorica (Montengro) to Muslim Slav and Albanian parents. Ms. Kajosevic holds an M.A. degree in International Relations, and is a Ph.D. candidate in Human and Organizational Development. She has extensive professional and work experience with major international organizations (UN, AFSC, IOM, Red Cross, WRL,). Most recently she held a position of the Coordinator of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, an international coalition of organization serving as a resource on issues of women, Peace and Security to the UN, including Security Council briefings. Indira is a founding member of the a group dedicated to non-violence movement both in Belgrade and New York, Board member of the International Steering Committee and number of other women's networks and coalitions. She worked as a broadcast (Studio B, RTV Montenegro) and print (Danas, NiN, International Weekly, Svijet) journalist covering issues of children minorities, women, refugees in the region of the former Yugoslavia.
She teaches classes in conflict resolution, political science, human rights and gender in international relations at university level, as well as snowboarding at Killington, VT.
Balkans Program & founding director of RACCOON, Inc.
"I came from former YU to the US in 1990. There I was a radio journalist (Radio 101, Mladina, Polet) and an activist with Croatian and Slovenia peace and environmental movement in eighties. This made me 'a suspicious young adult' so they took my passport and my typewriter away." Mr. Skoric is widely published journalist (including BBC), web-master, and media activist. In New York he has produced dozens of cable programs including Hrvatski Monitor, a 60 minute program produced in the 1990s covering the Croatian and Serbian American reactions in the Tri-State area to the war in their former Yugoslavia homeland. Ivo is the innovator of the Cyber-Yugo project and his hope is to serve as vehicle for young Balkan exiles to set aside their grievances towards each other, begin to listen to their personal voices, and look at each other in a different light. In the Snowboard Peace Camp project he combines his love of outdoors and athletic activity with his drive for peace and reconciliation.
Since 1997, Indira and Ivo have served as co-directors of the Reconciliation and Culture Cooperative Network (RACCOON, Inc.) on voluntary basis. They have had an opportunity to collaborate with theater artists, trauma psychology professionals, conflict resolution specialists, and peace activists in the area, whose common ground is a fundamental belief in the power of communal creativity to heal wounds of hatred and violence. RACCOON's programs have focused on finding effective, non-violent means of addressing the culturally based conflicts experienced by the expatriates back in their homelands and/or here in the metropolitan area, and aim at producing visible results of their collaborative efforts.
map and driving directions
43-32 22nd Street, Suite (buzzer) 301 in Long Island City, between 43th and 44th Avenue
subway to 23rd Street, Ely Avenue
This project was made possible by a generous grant from The New York Foundation