Ajla Grozdanic

Ajla Grozdanic

Goodwill Ambassador Relations Manager

United Nations Development Programme

New York, NY USA

The thing I’ve learned [as a refugee] is that people are the same...we all come from different parts of the world, but we all go through the same feelings, we all want the same things for our children, we all want the same things for ourselves, and we all want peace in the world.


By Roadtrip Nation

Ajla Grozdanic


My road in life took a while to figure out.
She was born and raised in Sarajevo, Bosnia—was 12 years old when the Bosnian War broke out.
While visiting her grandparents in another town, the border to her country was shut down and she ended up getting separated from her parents for two years without any contact.
Eventually, her family was forced to flee the country and they were brought as refugees to Germany with the help of the United Nations.
For three years, they lived in Germany in cramped wooden barracks alongside a dozen other families—says she looks back on this time with positivity because her family was safe and together.
Placed in a school that was not designed to prepare her for college—she successfully petitioned her teachers and was sent to another school so she could go to college.
Her family was among the first Bosnian refugees to be resettled in the U.S.—says her experiences fleeing Bosnia as a child inspired her to either become a journalist or work for the United Nations.
After getting her master’s degree, she worked as a journalist for a while, but decided to switch course and started working in communications for a refugee resettlement organization.
She now works for the United Nations Development Programme mobilizing celebrities to advocate for social and environmental causes—says she still can’t believe she achieved her childhood dream.


Goodwill Ambassador Relations Manager

I work with celebrities to get them involved as advocates for social and environmental causes.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Non-Profit Organizations
Accomplishing Goals

Day to Day

I combine my skills in story telling and journalism with my passion for service to leverage the social influence of celebrities to bring awareness to causes and effect more change. My job involves a lot of research and recruiting efforts. I also develop new strategies to get our ambassadors more invested in the causes they represent. I serve as the main point of contact between celebrities, our organization, and various partners.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for high school students

Work with guidance counselors / mentors and educate yourself on the different scholarship opportunities that are available to you. There are more than you think!

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:


The Noise I Shed

From Teachers:

"Because you have an accent, people are going to think you are dumb, so you will have to try harder than everyone else. "

Challenges I Overcame

First-Generation Immigrant
Gangs / Violence

Interviewed By

Beating the Odds

Beating the Odds

Overcoming barriers as a first-generation college student