Thursday, 12 March 2020

Liza Belozerova on Digital Croatia Partnership with IRIM (VIDEO INTERVIEW)

March 12, 2020 - TCN catches up with Liza Belozerova from to discuss the exciting partner with IRIM bringing digital hope and change to Croatia's libraries.

With so much bad news around in Croatia and elsewhere, it is sometimes hard to see the positives. But if you look a little deeper than the surface negativity in Croatia, there are plenty of very exciting things going on. 

Among them is the STEM revolution, which is being spearheaded by leading Croatian entrepreneur, Nenad Bakic. Along with Mate Rimac, Bakic was named by the Financial Times as one of Europe's top 100 digital champions, and he has been putting part of his considerable energies into STEM projects to equip children from schools in Croatia and the wider region with the digital skills necessary for the future. 

The Institute for Youth Development and Innovativity (IRIM) is a Croatia-based non-profit organization (private foundation), which has developed and implements the largest extracurricular STEM program in EU – the Croatian Makers movement, encompassing now over 150,000 children in Croatia. Although IRIM originates from, and primarily operates in, Croatia, it has transposed its activities to Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, where IRIM and local partners deliver IRIM-designed major projects (with initial funding from IRIM), reaching tens of thousands more children. Some programs are joint regional activities. Such cross-border co-operation is of utmost significance in the region which still suffers consequences stemming from the conflicts in the 1990s. You can learn more about IRIM on the official website

IRIM's work was noticed by, and the two joined forces in 2018 for an initial partnership worth $250,000 to expand a programme in Croatia's libraries, whereby IRIM would promote digital skills in libraries through workshops, librarian training, equipment and events. More than 1,500 workshops were conducted by librarians, and over 13,000 people took part, as Rujana Bakic explained in an earlier article on TCN (you can also see Rujana's interview with TCN below. 

Last month Liza Belozerova from was in Zagreb to present the next phase of the IRIM project, as well as announcing a second-phase funding of $400,000 for IRIM and its digital library project, as reported on TCN at the time. 

Liza was kind enough to spare a few minutes after the event for a video interview with TCN, in which she talked about the project, as well as offering some thoughts on digital Croatia in general. Thank you.