Professor Milenko Bevanda, MD, PhD
Writing about the last twenty years of an institution such as the Faculty of Medicine is not the same as writing about the first (only) twenty years of this established higher educational institution. Yes, our history lasts only twenty years. It does not look like much in the life of an institution, but in a man’s life, especially if he counts creative years, it looks like a quite long time.
The anniversaries are a reflection on the past, everything good and what was not good until then, until what we have today and what we have achieved today. We haven’t had the opportunity to fix what is not good; we are still building. Tradition, heritage and past provide inspiration for the future. Our past is short, and we expect a lot from the future. Twenty years ago, a group of enthusiasts followed by desire, will, guidance and knowledge gave the idea of establishing the Faculty of Medicine in Mostar. Was it an experiment for history, an attempt to remember, or a dream visionary? Did they really had a vision of what they were up to? Anyway, they succeeded. They have written history and history will remember them.
Prof. Filip Čulo, was the first Dean of our School. God, did he even know what that would mean to a small nation, a war-torn state? What will the School of Medicine that he has founded mean to the Croat people for its survival in these areas? If he is, then he is one of the greatest visionaries of this age. Anyway, I admire him and have deep gratitude for everything he did on that area.
Prof. Ljerka Ostojić, was the second Dean, the first lady Dean of this institution. It was not easy either. With her insight and power of spirit, skill and distant gaze, she continued where Prof. Čulo stopped. I grew up with them, as a man, as a doctor and as a scientist. It was my honor. I could not imagine how one day I would inherit their work in this honorable and responsible place. I became the third Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Mostar and everything I imagined and what I was admired about them became my reality. I had to go further with the school image itself.
It was necessary to preserve the level reached and to make new impetus. I was not a beginner in commanding roles. In my life I have performed a number of command duties in the Defensive War and after the war (Chief of the Sanitary Unit of the IV Brigade of the HVO, Chief of the Sanitary Service of Herceg-Bosnia Logistics, Head of the Department of Gastroenterology of the Department of Internal Medicine of UHC Mostar, President of the Association of Gastroenterologists and Hepatologists of Bosnia and Herzegovina and many other responsible tasks), but this role was special in every aspect. I admit, I wanted it and at the same time concerned. My predecessors have passed the labor and brought the School to the enviable level, it has become a lifeblood at our University. Our University Clinical Hospital (UCH) of Mostar has gained a domestic faculty and staff, domestic forces, which day by day became a cornerstone of its work and existence.
The Faculty of Medicine graduated annually from 40 to 50 young doctors who had a light but safe role to play in both, the UCH Mostar and the Faculty. Of course, the role of the professors from Croatia who supported Mostar, their knowledge and enthusiasm invested in our future, contributed to our School and helped our youth to reach today’s level. Our intention was to remain – to strive for excellence, to be shoulder by shoulder with the very best. I had to follow the course we set. Our Faculty and UCH Mostar have to be together in order to overcome all the troubles in the way. I had to retain prominent professors from Croatia who had been coming many years in Mostar and I was always looking for new proponents and scientists who would contribute to the reputation of our School with their established work. I must admit that it was never hard for me, because their motivation was not the money (which we have never had enough) but their will, devotion and love for this part of the Croatian being. At this occasion, I also thank them on behalf of all Croats, but also on behalf of all those who love this country -a small, tortured country but the country with desire to prosper.
Our present is certain. We have created our own Faculty with little exceptions in all departments. There will be even more qualified Faculty for all the challenges which we expect in science and profession. The Faculty of Medicine and the UCH Mostar are taking a big step in a new, promising and better tomorrow.