The ‘Karic Brothers’ Award Laureates in 2004


The opening speech of Mr Prof Dr Bozidar Kovacek, president of the Matica Srpska

There is one God-given way of transforming copper into silver, and silver into gold. That alchemy does not use the wisdom-stone, the lapis philosophorum that has been persistently and uselessly sought after by the medieval wizards, but it uses real magic – benefaction. That requires only abundant love for the close ones and for the good, and generosity. Selflessness and altruism increase and elevate the given and dignify what remains. Benefaction is a two-way blessing – for the donor and the recipient. A verse from one of our old poem entrusts an honourable man with the following: ‘don’t get on your high horse when you are in luck, and don’t disregard yourself when you are in misfortune’. Benefaction helps us to avoid that situation. Sacrifice for the overall good is more than a great tradition with our people who made delightful undying poems, and in this way handed down all regarding the legacies that the rulers and noblemen of the Middle Ages left to their people and eternity. That verbal history has been educational for the rebels and Karadjordje. The moment that they had started to create it, their country appeared to them as an inseparable material and spiritual resurrection of their people. Without waiting for the gunfire to cease, Karadjordje summoned the wisest of the elders – Dositej, to establish education and gather round other learned people, and in so doing set up the University and School of Theology. Those were the spiritual legacies of the First Uprising.
The other great man of the liberated Serbia, Milos Obrenovic, has also known of the historical inevitability of power and knowledge. The following is an example in that respect: just after the Serbian Association was founded in 1826, he enrolled himself and his brother Jevrem, in August of the same year, with a membership contract for his brother and a quadruple membership contract for him, thus becoming the first benefactor of the Serbian Association.
He personally had no need for the books that would be printed in Budim for the Serbs, but his strategic and genius statesmanship made him aware that the spiritual gatherings of the donors can be the real basis for the affiliation of the earthly and the supernatural; and not only in the cultural sphere. If we are to observe it from a higher moral aspect, we shall understand that contributing to the general good is not only a matter of voluntary choice. As one of the beautiful Serbian family traditions oblige us to care for the well-being of our parents, we should, in the same manner, at all times consider the good of the spiritual tradition of our nation. The progress of any nation is not only a consequence of material goods, but culture and spirituality; these are the basis on which a nation exists and relies. Reliance on the latter is perhaps stronger, given that material goods are temporary, and the spiritual, if real, is eternal.
The spirit of contributing to the general good and cultural prosperity was reinstated in the rebellious times, and has existed up to the Second World War when all the legacies were confiscated. Now when the restitution of the old legacies is before us, space is created for the new ones. The wealthy noble people of today whose number, we hope, will have the tendency of increasing, shall have the ability to discern that the material sphere, for the sake of the overall civilization progress, should contribute to the sphere of the spiritual, scientific, cultural and artistic good.
The foundation of the Karic family has commenced this mission with dignity, and though almost unaccompanied in this assignment, is for years working on its development. The tonight’s ceremony that takes place on the Cirilo and Metodije’s Day, the two Slavic apostles and educationalists, confirms that this foundation has gained deserved respect, and in some domains has become equal with the old foundations which had carried the glorious tradition of providing for the cultural prosperity of its nation for many decades, right through to the present day; as stated in the inaugural official document of the Serbian Association in 1826: now, and as of now, continuously, forever.


Mr EMIR KUSTURICA, film director

Mr Emir Kusturica is one of the most eminent directors in the country and abroad. He graduated from the Film Academy in Prague. Mr Kusturica is a recipient of numerous awards including the Gold Palm, Silver Bear and Silver Lion.

Extract from the winner’s speech:
“The noteworthy thing is that this award comes from a family that nurtures its own tradition according to world standards along with the tradition on which it grew up into what it represents today. Many that criticize them tend to forget that this family has actually developed on the basis of a film pattern. The Karic family bears great resemblance to the family from the film “Gone with the wind”. By this, I certainly do not wish to imply that the two parallel histories bring each other into question, but would like to say that everything beautiful that they possess can also be found in the film.”


Mr VASILIJE KRESTIĆ, academician

Mr Vasilije Krestic has been involved in science for around forty years. He has since published over three hundred studies on the subject of Yugoslav people on a wider area in the period between the 18th and 20th century. The scientific studies of Mr Krestic are considered one of the best analytical texts of our modern historiography. Some of his most noted studies are: The Croatian-Hungarian Agreement 1868, The History of Serbs in Croatia 1848–1914, Renowned Serbs about Croats.

Extract from the winner’s speech:
“I accept a public approval such as the Karic Brothers Award as an incentive, support, but also a responsibility to continue with the work to which I have devoted my life, and not give in until my physical and mental state allows it. I am grateful to the donor and the jury who have chosen me for the award over many meticulous, worthy and important creators.”



Mr. Radic Vuckovic is a man who has demonstrated through his own work how a successful business can be achieved in the Serbian countryside, and how a family business is handed down from father to son for generations.

Extract from the winner’s speech:
“I hope that other Serbian families will also experience progress, that we shall all live in unity and bare offspring, and that peace and growth will help Serbia. I am grateful to the Karic family for giving me the opportunity to find myself in such company.”


Mr JUGOSLAV VLAHOVIĆ, caricaturist

Mr Jugoslav Vlahovic is an eminent caricaturist on an international level. He has graduated from the School of Fine Arts in Belgrade where he is now a full professor. He is a recipient of numerous awards. His works are part of a permanent exhibit in a number of museums and collections.

Extract from the winner’s speech:
“I guess one always expects to hear something humorous from a caricaturist. That reminded me of an anecdote about the famous American writer Mark Twain when he had attended a reception. A general approached him saying: “Maestro Twain, do tell us something funny.” He replied: “All right, but you fire from a cannon first.”
I am not really a specialist; I work in a wide spectrum of politics, culture, ecology, and thousands of those drawings have probably been memorized and evaluated by the jury as something worthy of this great award for which I thank them, and the Karic Foundation.”


Mrs SANDA RAŠKOVIĆ-IVIĆ, psychiatrist

Mrs Sanda Raskovic-Ivic has graduated from the Medical Faculty in Zagreb. Since 1991, she has worked on a voluntary basis dealing with the problem of refugees, primarily with its psychosocial aspect. In autumn of 1992, yet again as a volunteer, she assisted the victims of rape and sexual abuse from the territory of Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Extract from the winner’s speech:
“I was lucky that my work has been perceived and acknowledged. I therefore receive this award not only for myself, but also for all my fellow workers to whom love, faith, and hope were the loadstar in their work.”








Mrs Sofija Skoric is one of the most renowned members of the Serbian Diaspora. Living and working in Canada, she has been fighting over decades to preserve the Serbian language and culture amongst the Serbs in Diaspora, as well as to establish cultural, social and economic bond with the homeland. She has been taking active part in helping her native land, and through personal engagement raised money from the Canadian government for the reconstruction of one section of the Serbian Assembly.

Extract from the winner’s speech:
“I thank the Karic family for establishing this foundation and for finding the right way, which is through benefaction, to support and acknowledge all cultural and national differences. I wish that their descendants continue the good work that they have started. To my great joy, for the first time the award was conferred on someone from the Diaspora, and in recognition of the work for the Serbian cause. This work is never done for personal gain, but always for the nation.”