Biography

Toperich_at_SAIS

Dr. Sasha Toperich is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Mediterranean Basin, Middle East and Gulf initiative 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.

He co-chaired a major international conference The Western Balkans: “Progress, Stagnation, or Regression held in Sarajevo in June 2011. Dr. Toperich also serves as the Chairman of the Organizing Committee for “Bosnia-Herzegovina: Vision 2020” project and the “Future of Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan” project at the CTR SAIS. He is the Chairman of the Supervisory Board at the Mediterranean Development Initiative (MDI) in Tunis, Tunisia.

Dr. Toperich is also a Fellow at the Soran University Research Center in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Publications

He is a co-author of two papers in the book “Unfinished Business: The Western Balkans and the International Community” (Brookings Institution/CTR, 2012), 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”.

Toperich, along with Andy Mullins, edited Brookings Institution/CTR, 2014 publication “A New Paradigm: Perspectives on the Changing Mediterranean, and the Brookings Institution/CTR 2017 publication, “Bosnia and Herzegovina: Towards 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” and Brookings Institution/CTR 2018 Turkey and Transatlantic Relations” books.

Toperich is also editor of “The Future of Iraqi Kurdistan” and “Algeria and Transatlantic Relations” Brookings Institution/CTR publications 2017.

He is also a Featured Columnist at the US Military.com, contributor for The Hill, and has a blog at the Huffington Post.

Diplomacy

From 2003 to 2007, Toperich served as the Presidential Envoy of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United States. He was the first high-ranking diplomat from Bosnia and Herzegovina to officially visit Baghdad, as the guest of Jalal Talabani, then President of Iraq, and after fall of Saddam. From 2009 -2010, Toperich served as a Consellor at the Permanent Mission of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations. From 2011 – 2012, he served as an advisor to the member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bakir Izetbegovic.

Philanthropy

Toperich founded the America-Bosnia Foundation (ABF) established to foster stronger political, cultural, and educational ties between the two countries. The foundation organizes concerts, exhibitions, lectures, panel discussions, conferences, and educational seminars, both Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the United States. ABF’s strives to strengthen democratic values in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and preserve its multiethnic and multicultural character.

In 1997, Toperich became President of the Children Foundation of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization)

In 1998, he was awarded the title of UNESCO Artist for Peace.

Together with Shinichiro Okuyama (Japan), he co-founded the World Youth Leadership Network, a not-for-profit organization that aims to unite the international youth community through good deeds and cultural exchange, WYLN was launch at the United Nations headquarters in New York, in April of 2004.

The WYLN has contributed and donated computers to schools and universities in Liberia, organized a fundraising concert in Monrovia to support the Louis Arther Grimes School of Law, and has 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.

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.

Also in 2004, Toperich served as a project manager for the European Youth Peace Summit held in Sarajevo, that brought together over 500 youth leaders from all over Europe.

Concert Pianist

His performances were broadcast on radio and television programs throughout the world. Toperich performed concerts in: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, China, Germany, Egypt, France, Italy, Israel, Japan, South Korea, The Netherlands, the United States, and the countries of former Yugoslavia. He has performed at the Carnegie Hall, Concertgebouw, Kioi Hall, and other famous music halls. Toperich played concerts with conductors such as Zubin Mehta and Kazushi Ono.

Dutch VPRO Television made a documentary film “Sasha Toperich Plays At Rachmaninov at Cristofori in Amsterdam”.

His 1997 concert in Washington, D.C. was broadcast nationwide on National Public Radio and earned him a nomination for Best Debut Artist.

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. United Nations broadcast this concert live throughout the African continent.

Early Life and Education

Toperich, born in Sarajevo, and has began playing piano at the age of four.  He won first prize at the national piano students competition in Dubrovnik.

Toperich moved to Jerusalem at the age of 21 in the early 1990s, where he received the Master Degree at the Rubin Academy of Music and Dance in Jerusalem. He earned his doctoral degree at the Music Academy in Lovran, Croatia.

Toperich is an American citizen and is living in Washington D.C.

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