My refugee story: Admir

Story by the International Committee of the Red Cross

"I looked around the International Red Cross exhibition room, and suddenly felt weak at the knees. I had originally been honoured when I received an invitation to a digital strategies roundtable in Geneva, hosted by the ICRC. This was a group for top-level executives from all over the world, and I would be by far the youngest attendee. I had prepared to give a presentation on behalf of the Lucerne University ASA and the Tuck School of Business, and was eager to rub shoulders with people I held in the highest esteem.

In that instant however, I became a little boy again. Neither my host nor my colleagues knew that I had experienced the same horrors as those who were displayed at the exhibit.

They didn't know that I, too, had been a refugee.

The lighting cast a serious tone in the area where my colleagues were quietly looking at the artefacts of conflict. A woman noticed tears in my eyes as I looked at a figurine of a man. The war relic staring back at me was from my hometown of Kozarac. I quickly found the guest book, writing in big thick Bosnian letters "Thank you, Admir T '92-'95".

People never want to talk about war stories. We all want to be normal. Somehow, we believe that staying silent allows us to fit in. But I know my story deserves to be told. If not for me, then for my sister. And most of all, for my mother. She is the reason I have not only survived, but thrived since the war. She is the reason I am sitting at the same table as the executives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the organization that helped save us. This story is for her."