A UNC Charlotte professor is running for president of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and he's gaining support from communities of his fellow countrymen who live in the U.S., including Charlotte.
Mirsad Hadžikadić is UNCC's executive director of analytical programs. He has won local and state lifetime achievement awards in the field of information technology, according to his online bio.
He founded and was president of the Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina in Washington, D.C., and the Bosnian-American Academy of Sciences and Arts. He was director of medical and orthopedic informatics — the computerized storage and retrieval of health data — at Carolinas HealthCare System, now Atrium, in the 1990s.
Hadžikadić, a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina, , told the Observer he is running for president because "it is important to contribute to the country you owe so much to, especially when it is in trouble. Everyone must contribute. One cannot sit on the couch and expect others to do his or her job."
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He said his country is divided along religious and ethnic lines. "I want to show that differences are a source of strength instead of the cause for hatred and divisions," he said.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is on the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe.
UNCC is "very proud" of Hadžikadić's candidacy, said Fatma Mili, dean of the university's college of computing and informatics.
"Leadership has no borders," Mili told the Observer on Wednesday. "We will be cheering for him."
Hadžikadić has taken several leadership roles in UNCC's college of computing and informatics, including as its founding dean, head of its complex systems institute and director of the Data Science Institute, according to Mili.
"He has an exceptional combination of intellectual depth and breadth, a deep compassion for others and a strong sense of duty," Mili said.
On Monday, Charlotte's Bosnian-Herzegovinian American Cultural Center threw its support to Hadžikadić.
"We want to let Bosnia and Herzegovina get a candidate for a president who has great knowledge, strong will, courage and desire to become a country of prosperity and success again," the center's leaders posted on Facebook..
Charlotte has 658 residents who were born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to 2016 estimates from the US Census Bureau.