Sasha Toperich is Senior Executive Vice President of the Transatlantic Leadership Network, a newly formed think tank in Washington D.C. From 2013 to 2018, he was a Senior Fellow and Director of the Mediterranean Basin, Middle East and Gulf initiative at the Center for Transatlantic Relations, at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington D.C.
Dr. Toperich is a Nonresident Fellow at the Soran University Research Center in Iraqi Kurdistan and the Chairman of the Supervisory Board at the Mediterranean Development Initiative (MDI) in Tunis, Tunisia.
He is editor of multiple publications:
- Algeria and Transatlantic Relations (Brookings Institution/TLN, 2018)
- Turkey and Transatlantic Relations (Brookings Institution/CTR, 2017)
- Vision 2020: Bosnia and Herzegovina Towards its European Future (Brookings Institution/CTR, 2017)
- Iraqi Kurdistan Region: A Path Forward (Brookings Institution/CTR, 2017)
- Challenges of Democracy in the European Union and its Neighbors (Brookings Institution/CTR, 2015)
- A New Paradigm: Perspectives on the Changing Mediterranean (Brookings Institution/CTR, 2014)
Toperich also wrote the preface and foreword to The New Eastern Mediterranean – Theory, Politics and States in a Volatile Era (Springer 2019). He is a Featured Columnist at USMilitary.com, a Contributor to The Hill, and has often contributed to Huffington Post. He is often a guest on Al Jazeera, Al Hurra, Rudaw, Kurdistan 24 and other international TV stations.
He has testified before U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C.
From 2014 – 2018, he served as Chairman of the Annual Transatlantic Economic Forum, Chairman of the “Vision 2020 – for Bosnia and Herzegovina” project, Chairman of “Future of Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan” project held at Johns Hopkins University in Washington D.C. He was Chairman of the “Mediterranean Civil Society and Women in Leadership” conference held in 2013, and co-Chairman of the “Progress, Stagnation, or Regression in the Western Balkans” conference held in 2012.
In 2003, Toperich was appointed Presidential Envoy of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United States. He was the first high-ranking diplomat to officially visit Baghdad after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
Toperich founded the America-Bosnia Foundation (ABF), established to foster stronger political, cultural, and educational ties between the United States and the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The foundation organizes concerts, exhibitions, lectures, panel discussions, conferences, and educational seminars in both Bosnia and Herzegovina and the United States.
With Shinichiro Okuyama (Japan), he co-founded the World Youth Leadership Network (WYLN), a not-for-profit organization that aims to unite the international youth community through goodwill work and cultural exchange. The organization was launched at the UN 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 for the Louis Arther Grimes School of Law, and set up an IT center in Benin in collaboration with the Benin Education Fund and the World Bank.
In association with Laughing Buddha Music Inc., Toperich launched the “Visas for Life” project, an educational and diplomatic story of a Japanese diplomat, Chiune Sugihara, who saved over 6000 Jews during World War II by issuing transit visas through Japan while serving as a Japanese Consul in Kaunas, Lithuania.
In 1998, he was named UNESCO Artist for Peace.
In 1997, Dr. Toperich became the President of the Children Foundation of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization)
Toperich’s performances were broadcasted on radio and television programs throughout the world. He has 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 Carnegie Hall, Concertgebouw, Kioi Hall, and other well-known music venues around the world. He has played concerts with conductors such as Zubin Mehta and Kazushi Ono. The Dutch VPRO Television made a documentary film titled “Sasha Toperich Plays Rachmaninov at Cristofori in Amsterdam.”
His 1997 concert in Washington, D.C. was broadcast nationwide on National Public Radio (NPR) 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 broadcasted this concert live throughout the African continent.
Early Life and Education
Toperich, an American citizen and born in Sarajevo, began playing piano at the age of four. He won first prize at the national piano student’s competition in Dubrovnik. He moved to Jerusalem at the age of 21, where he received his master’s degree from the Rubin Academy of Music and Dance in Jerusalem. He earned his doctoral degree at the Music Academy in Lovran, Croatia. He pursued postdoctoral studies at Stanford University in California.
He speaks English, French, Portuguese, Serbo-Croatian, Hebrew, and Russian.