Joshua Irby

In Sarajevo I am carrying on the mission of my famous cousin

Joshua Irby, who is from America, has been living here with his family since 2009. Here he continues the educational mission of his distant cousin, the famous humanitarian, Adeline Pauline Irby. There is even a street in the center of Sarajevo that bears her name.

Back in 1999, while a member of an international student organization, he left America to live in Split (Croatia) and visited Sarajevo for the first time that same year, never imagining that he would be living here one day.

- Ten years later, I decided to make a move to this city. It was because of what I had learned from a friend: Miss Irby was living in Sarajevo at the end of the 19th century and she founded an institute dedicated to girls’ literacy and education.

While Miss Irby came to Sarajevo from England, Joshua’s ancestors moved from Great Britain to the USA.

Meeting Miss Irby

- Although we are not close relatives, I am trying to follow Miss Irby’s mission. I have written a book about her life, Meeting Miss Irby, and I have founded an NGO, Svaki Student.

The organization’s goal is to improve the quality of life for young people and to teach them things they do not learn in school. Through the Miss Irby Project, high school students have a chance to sign “A Promise to Miss Irby,” whereby they are obliged to work on projects that tidy up public areas around their schools.

Joshua often talks a lot about his new home with friends in the U.S. and this has led to many American teenagers visiting our city.

- They all think Sarajevo is a cool place and they take away some wonderful experiences. I advise today’s youth to be the source of change in society, to do good to others and to work on their own spiritual development. I teach them English and constantly stress that the future of this city and country is in their hands.

Special places in Sarajevo

It is almost a rule that he takes visitors for a walk along Miss Irby’s street and to other special places.

- The Congregational Church of the Holy Mother has a stained glass window with Miss Irby’s name and some of the items that belonged to her are kept in the Old Orthodox Church.

Joshua is especially taken with the nature around Sarajevo, as well as the fact that he is able to do everything here on foot.

- I enjoy Sarajevo festivals and plays at the National Theater, where they sometimes put on the musical, Annie, which my daughter has a part in.

Joshua says that his whole family likes pita, so they often go to the buregdžinica, Lejla, near Cathedral. He is fond of the restaurants, Noovi and Mala Kuhinja, and is full of praise for BiH wines (Tvrdoš, Keža…), as well as the teas at Franz & Sophie Tea Shop. 

Joshua considers a copper coffee set from Baščaršija to be the best Sarajevo souvenir and he usually gives one to his friends and relatives so that they can enjoy preparing and trying traditional Bosnian coffee together.