Author: Jelena Kopanja

Bio: Jelena Kopanja is former Feet in 2 Worlds contributor. She is a graduate of New York University’s Global and Joint Studies Program, with concentrations in Journalism and Latin American Studies. She was born in Bosnia, from where she brought her love of good coffee and baklava. Prior to her graduate work, she was involved in immigrant communities as an ESL volunteer instructor and an interpreter for Spanish and Bosnian.


In Bolivia's Upcoming Presidential Election, Migrants Won't Just Watch From the Sidelines

Posted on: 05 Nov 2009

By Jelena Kopanja, FI2W contributor At Pike Pizza, a Bolivian restaurant in Arlington, Virginia, Bolivian patrons enjoy some of their country’s delicacies like salteñas, or the refreshing peach beverage, mocachinchi. These days, the conversation can often turn to why it is important to have the right to vote from abroad for Bolivia’s next president. Bolivians […]

Activists March on DC to Demand Immigration Reform and a Stop to the Separation of Families

Posted on: 14 Oct 2009

At four o’clock in the morning on Tuesday, a handful of people gathered on the corner of St. Nicholas Ave. and Linden Street in Brooklyn, waiting for the van to arrive. The morning cold did little to temper the group’s enthusiasm as they were getting ready to head to Washington D.C. for an immigration reform […]

Status Report: Exhibit Confronts Audience With Mexican Immigrants’ Unseen Lives

Posted on: 06 Oct 2009

Delilah Montoya’s photo project Sed: The Trail of Thirst shows a desolate borderland scene dotted with plastic water jugs. The jugs are road signs, stretching into the uncertainty that lurks on the horizon. Human presence is only implied by the feeling of thirst that the image evokes. The migrant –absent from the photograph but etched […]

Reverse Migration: Ecuador Lures Immigrants Back Home from U.S. and Spain

Posted on: 04 Sep 2009

By Merry Pool and Jelena Kopanja, FI2W contributors After 15 years of living in Europe, Sandra Bustamante was going home to Ecuador on the day of her 40th birthday. For months, she and her husband had not been able to find stable work in Spain and going back to Bustamante’s native country seemed the only […]

Spain Considers Immigration Reform That Would Make Things Harder for the Undocumented

Posted on: 07 Jul 2009

By Jelena Kopanja, FI2W contributor MADRID, Spain — A little girl stood in tears amidst the crowd at a protest in front of an immigrant detention center in Madrid, Spain. She was wearing a white shirt with her father’s identification number: 2286. An immigrant from Morocco, the man was apprehended while filling up his car […]

Music as Medicine: Sevdalinka Songs Help Bosnian Immigrants and Refugees Remember and Heal

Posted on: 20 May 2009

By Jelena Kopanja, FI2W contributor – Second of two installments. The name of Bosnia and Herzegovina –a small, heart-shaped country in the Balkans– is rarely associated with love. The country made headlines in the mid ’90s as a place where ethnic hatred resulted in the death of 100,000 of its people and the exodus of […]

Sevdalinka, a Melancholy Soundtrack for Bosnian Immigrants and Refugees in the U.S.

Posted on: 19 May 2009

By Jelena Kopanja, FI2W contributor – First of two installments. NEW YORK – When Mary Sherhart first sang the traditional Bosnian songs known as sevdalinkas at a concert in 2004, a woman stood up and started weeping. Her bare arms, emblazoned with scars from the war that ravaged Bosnia in the early nineties, rose toward […]