Objectivism in the Balkans: One Woman’s Determination

Occasionally, in a blog post, we highlight important parts of the Ayn Rand Institute’s Annual Report. Our 2016 report contains this missive from Maja Vrtaric, who recounts her efforts to bring Objectivism to the Balkans.

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Having been inspired by The Fountainhead and its leading character, Howard Roark, my personal relationship with Objectivism had “officially” begun. The Fountainhead helped me to systematize my values and, more importantly, name my beliefs — Objectivism. Heroes in Rand’s novels are not pure fiction. They exist in the real world and highlight the importance of man’s existence on Earth.

After reading The Fountainhead, I started looking for others who would describe themselves as the heroes of their lives, for those who could help me increase awareness of Rand’s ideas in Serbia. That’s how I found the Ayn Rand Institute. ARI recognized my efforts and supported me in my mission to promote Objectivism.

I have since organized with the Serbian Libertarian Club. We’ve worked together to educate twenty high profile students about Objectivist ideas. The program consisted of eight sessions, including basic lectures, creative sessions such as the viewing of The Fountainhead movie from 1949, as well as debates and discussions on various topics.

I also continue to discuss Rand’s ideas with young people in Serbia. I share the value of a philosophy based on reason, argue its premises and justify its principles. Most importantly, I encourage students to achieve their own personal happiness through peaceful means, led by their own interest, by doing their jobs as well as they can.

In 2016 I launched my own organization, the Balkan Objectivist Center. The broader goal of the organization is to practice an already tested model of education and promotion in Serbia and the rest of the Balkan countries. We are working to increase the presence of Objectivism in these transition countries and to spread the ideas far beyond the borders of this region with the help of an Objectivist Venture Fund grant.

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