Lisa Muftic', an assistant professor of criminal justice at Georgia State University, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to spend one year researching and teaching at the University of Sarajevo in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Muftic', whose maiden name is Lisa Ryberg, is a 1991 graduate of Bowbells High School.
Muftic' is one of 1,100 faculty and professionals nationally who will travel abroad to lecture and conduct research through the Fulbright Program, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Her research will focus on violence against women in the region that once comprised the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
"I have been studying the impact of war on the political, social and cultural development of Bosnia for almost two decades," Muftic' said in a press release from Georgia State University. "I have been especially interested in the impact state-condoned violence has on attitudes, beliefs and behaviors associated with interpersonal violence."
Violence against women in Bosnia is a "widespread and a largely misunderstood social problem," Muftic' said. She conducted research in the country in 2005, 2008 and 2011, but has never stayed longer than six weeks.
"Compounding this situation are socio-political factors that are characteristic of a post-war society, including war trauma, family reintegration and an economic crisis," she explained.
Since there is very little research on violence against women, Muftic' hopes her research will help enhance the education of University of Sarajevo students and fill gaps in current literature regarding the prevalence of violence against women, public policy and the availability of victim services.
"This information will not only generate a better understanding of how violence against women negatively impacts women and girls in post-conflict areas, but it will also bring to light ways to address the needs of individuals experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, violence," said Muftic', who will be in Bosnia from August 2012 to June 2013.
Beyond her work travels, Muftic' has been married to a Bosnian native for almost 17 years and together they have three children. The entire family will be joining her in Bosnia.
"Receiving the Fulbright has allowed me the unique gift of being able to merge my research and academic interests with my personal life and experiences," Muftic' said. "We're all quite excited about this next chapter."
Muftic' said she is somewhat familiar with Bosnia and the customs, but she is looking forward to settling down and becoming more acculturated to the area.
"I'm praying that my language skills will improve dramatically while there," she added. "Right now I can understand more Bosnian than I can speak, but it's enough to get around the market, but my accent is very thick."
Muftic' plans to arrive early in Bosnia to start field research on a separate project examining the impact Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have on the fight against sex trafficking in Bosnia. That research is being funded with a Georgia State University Research Initiation Grant.