Name: Igor Šćepanović
Where do you live: Beograd, Serbia
Known for: Flying, flight instructing, peacekeeping operations, academic work in the field of conflict and peace studies.
Currently working with:
Experimental test pilot in Flight Test Center/Technical Test Center/Planning and Development Department J5/Serbian Armed Forces General Staff. Currently in training and education process.
Also working on doctorate in political sciences, as a hobby and free engagement.
When did you realize that you were going to work with this/in this area?
Speaking about flying, it was since I was 6. First I wanted to be a garbage collector, working on a garbage truck (I found it to be very funny to hang on garbage trucks), then I wanted to be a waiter (it seemed to be quite nice looking smart with tie and jacket, serving guests in the bar) and the third thing was to become a pilot. Since then, I didn’t evolve too much.
Speaking about PKOs, it was witnessing the deadly conflicts which pointed me to that direction. I had a very rare chance to see deadly conflicts from both sides, as a participant of one of the belligerent sides and as a participant of de-conflicting or peace keeping/building forces. That was very interesting, if the word “interesting” can be applied for conflicts and human sufferings, to be an UN military observer in East Timor and Liberia hardly couple of years after having similar conflict in own country.
After that experience I decided that it would be a shame to not to try to systematize that knowledge and experience through academic work, which resulted in my magisterial work dedicated to the East Timor conflict.
Beside academic work, I dedicated almost 10 years working in national peacekeeping center and Department for Civil-Military Cooperation, mainly during establishment and developmental phase of before mentioned departments.
If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why?
Generally, I believe that the people build their happiness wherever they are. That comes from inside and from the family. Actually, I have a secret wish to spend a month in every country in the world, living a regular daily life of local people. Speaking about one place to live… It should be a small city at seaside or on an island. Somewhere in Mediterranean or Australian type of the coast.
How would you describe your creativity?
It is tricky to speak about creativity when you work for someone, for an employer. It is even harder to speak about creativity when you work in the military. But, there is no place or situation where you can’t express creativity. My creativity comes from demands I put before myself, trying to make things perfect or, at least, working, with problems solved. Also, as a strictly technical field, flying and especially flight testing has a quite narrow creativity frame and creativity is primarily based on perfect knowledge of procedures and technical features, as well as the theory.
Academic work in political sciences field and especially in peace studies is a different story. It allows you to think, speak and write about everything which comes from your knowledge, experience or even imagination. The creativity frame is very wide, limited only by scientific truths which can be even moved by yourself, if you are creative enough.
What do you do at the moment?
My main activity at this moment is attending the experimental pilots’ course as trainee. It is a unique chance to see what flying really is and “why birds actually sing”.
Also, I’m working on my doctoral dissertation “Responsibility to protect: humanitarian military interventions and conflict resolution after the end of Cold War”.
A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business?
Don’t accept “impossible”, “not acceptable” or simply “no” as an option.
Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why?
My wife, of course. Beside her, I would like to have dinner with Mr. Noam Chomsky and Mr. Johan Galtung, to have chance to exchange thoughts and to learn something about presence.
How do you like to spoil yourself?
To travel around the world, with my wife and son. For months. And whenever I want.
What is luxury for you?
Doing nothing i.e. wasting time.
What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom?
That was from Creativeroom4talk, inviting me to do this interview. And, from time to time, from my wife, e.g. for good assembly of IKEA furniture.
What do you fear most?
Death before death. To die intellectually before physically.
What is a happy life to you?
Happy life is to wake up in the morning, hardly waiting to spend all day doing something in which you see a purpose, challenge and joy.
Tell us about your dream project.
My dream project is, actually, going on. I do exactly what I always wanted to do regarding flying.
Regarding academic work, my dream project is to contribute to the process of reconciliation and de-confliction in this region (ex YU), re-establishment of all kinds of ties and to make ex-Yugoslavia a decent place to live. Before that it is very important for me to understand and describe the process which led to one of the deadliest conflicts in Europe, in which, unfortunately, me and the whole of my generation, took part. Through that, I believe that many conflicts around the globe can be understood more properly. That is what I try to do through my academic work, and I will do that with even more passion after I stop flying.
Who is your professional role model/inspiration?
It is hard question for the pilot as all of us are “the best in the world”.
How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)?
Be creative inside the box and consider expanding or transforming box sides.
Which is the one thing you can’t live without?
There are actually two things which are actually not things: my wife and my son.
What inspires you?
Doing something completely new, with no previous experience.
A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life?
It is hard to say. Recently, I quote “Catch 22” very often. I read that book when I was 16 and I found that book to be with moderate and not always understandable humor. Next time I read it after my 40s and realized that it is not humor at all, that was reality in a humorous way.
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