On the spot

Benjamina Karić

Mayor of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mayor Karić, Congratulations on being elected Mayor of Sarajevo. The World Union of Olympic Cities welcomes you with great pleasure and would be happy to know more about you. Could you introduce yourself in a few words? 

Thank you very much, your welcome means a lot to me. I am a child of the City of Sarajevo and I grew up with stories about its Olympic past and successes that I, as Mayor, will continue to expand and strengthen. The position I am currently holding gives me the opportunity to be part of the World Union of Olympic Cities’ mission. The City of Sarajevo will certainly be an active member within it. 

In addition to the position of Mayor, I am engaged at the Faculty of Law of the University of Travnik, as an Assistant Professor, in the Department of History of State and Law. My great success is that I am the youngest Doctor of Law in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the first post-war doctor of classical Roman law.  

I am a founder and member of the “BATHINVS” Association whose goal is to study and promote the Illyrian heritage and ancient and classical civilizations. It is my great pleasure to be the 39th Mayor of the City of Sarajevo, which makes me the second female mayor in the history of the city.  

Sarajevo hosted the very successful 1984 Winter Olympic Games. And was, years later, severely affected by the Balkan war. A lot of renovation work has been achieved in the restoration and valuing of Sarajevo’s Olympic legacy. Could you briefly present Sarajevo’s current activities and projects in terms of Olympic legacy activation as a leverage for public policies? 

Sarajevo hosted the best-organized Winter Olympic Games, up to that moment. The era of the Olympics in Sarajevo is remembered as a golden age for our city and country. This legacy was justified by EYOF 2019, the largest sports event after the abovementioned Winter Olympics, organized by the City of Sarajevo and the City of East Sarajevo. 

The Olympic Museum, destroyed in the war, inherits our cultural treasure and is a true witness of the time and turbulent events in the BiH capital. It has been authentically restored and built exactly according to the model of the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, headquarters of the World Union of Olympic Cities. 

The mandate of the current city administration will be marked by continuous efforts to incorporate the Olympic heritage into the city’s urban strategy and to use the knowledge we have gained through the organization of the Olympic Games. 

The rehabilitation and modernization of the bobsled track on Trebević mountain are currently under the consideration, which is an extremely important project for the City of Sarajevo. 


The City of Sarajevo has recently obtained a seat on the Union’s Executive Committee. What are your (and your city’s) motivations and expectations regarding the Union?  How do you identify with the mission and vision of the Union? 

Yes, the City of Sarajevo became part of the Executive Board of the World Union of Olympic Cities in October of last year, by unanimous decision of the General Assembly. I am sure that this membership will have a positive impact on our city and will be used as an opportunity for an open and constructive dialogue on how to make the most of this status, and to ensure its longevity. 

My personal, institutional, but also the ambition of the World Union itself is, above all, the exchange of experiences and knowledge between the cities and the organizers of the Olympic Games. We will make all our capacities available for the revival of our connections and youth, sports and tourism projects. 

Sarajevo has proved a valuable host city for major events. How does the city promote itself as a sport event destination, especially in terms of recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic? 

Sarajevo deserves to be on the sports and tourist map of Europe and the world, and I believe that this field holds the recipe for the fastest recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, which lasted an unexpectedly long time. 

The potential in the context of the tourist offering of our Olympic facilities is inexhaustible. 

Sarajevo is widely known for its hospitable approach to guests. We all hope and expect better times with a large influx of tourists from all over the world and the organization of major sporting and cultural events.