We Grieve With Hope

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Dear Friends,

At this time many of us are still in a state of disbelief regarding the premature death of our friend, brother and colleague Drazen Glavas (1968-2017), who died suddenly at home on Saturday morning, 2nd December, 2017.

The transformative impact of the life and work of Drazen Glavas reached the lives of many people in Croatia and internationally. His teachings and organization of professional events for leaders in the market place, whereby he was continuously brining us to the realization that work is also a spiritual discipline, and that what and how we believe informs and transform our work ethics, has been one of Drazen’s major contributions to Croatia, the region, and beyond.

Within the ROM – Renewing Our Minds community, and its sister EDI – Economic Diplomacy and Integrity Forum community, the life and work of Drazen Glavas, and the presence of his wife Jodi, and their boys Dominik, Andrej and Jan had a special place. In the early years of ROM (1999 – 2001) Drazen Glavas played a crucial formative role in the ROM history as its first Program Director. Since then Drazen and his family remained committed to the ROM ministry through speaking, teaching, mentoring, always remaining a powerful model to the whole generations of young leaders. Almost ever summer, including this one, Drazen and his family were with us in Fuzine, serving faithfully.

It is not an overstatement to say that Drazen Glavas was always the most sought after and loved speaker at ROM Gatherings, as well as at the EDI Forums. His energy, charisma, unique sense for humor,  and the message that would never leave anyone indifferent, and all of those firmly grounded in the person of Jesus, were some of the highlights of his impact.

The words cannot express the grief and the loss we are all experiencing at this time. It is hard to imagine how painful his sudden departure must feel to his wife Jodi and children. His presence will be sincerely and genuinely missed. Surely at the next ROM Gathering we will face some painful moments as soon as we realize that Drazen is not there to insert some wisdom and motivation for action into us.

At this time, and in the days ahead of us, let us all embrace Jodi and her boys with love and compassion, and in whatever way we can do it, let us be in their lives a source of healing and support in the days and years ahead of us.

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At this time we can demonstrate this in the following ways: by sharing with Jodi some thoughtful words of love and sympathy, by attending the funeral where possible, and by providing some financial support which Jodi and her boys would appreciate very much at this time, considering the sudden departure of Drazen.

The funeral service for Drazen Glavas will take place this Friday, December 8, 2017, at 1.35pm. at the Zagreb Crematorium, Mirogoj, Aleja Hermanna Bollea 27. For more information about the funeral, in case you are planning to attend, feel free also to contact Bojan Ruvarac, who will be heading the official delegation of ROM community attending the funeral. His email address is ruvarac@gmail.com.

If you would like to help Drazen’s family at this time please consider giving your donation online (thank you Ali Ussery) as you click here.

Friends, we grieve with hope. Amidst sorrow, pain and disbelief at this time there remains the firm hope and assurance, which means much to the Drazen’s family and to many of us at this time. This is the hope and assurance of the life eternal which Drazen has in the person of Jesus, who he believed and who he followed. Jesus promised: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though he dies.” John 11:25.

With you all at this time of sadness, remembering the blessings of the life and work of our fiend and brother Drazen Glavas.

Tihomir Kukolja, Renewing Our Minds, Director

Let us remember some precious ROM moments with Drazen Glavas


What some of the frieds from the ROM – Renewing Our Minds circle of friends said about Drazen Glavas:



Today (Friday, December 8, 2017) over a thousand people came to pay respect to dear friend, professor, mentor and life changer! Drazen Glavas drew his energy and inspiration from Jesus, he transfered it well to many of us! His joyful spirit and charisma will be missed greatly. Until we meet again! Bojan Ruvarac, Serbia

Drazen was not only my friend but also a mentor and a teacher to me. He taught and inspired me how to implement Jesus’ principles in my personal life,  and also gave me the instruments how to be a good leader. Discussing with him always kept me sharp, encouraged, and gave me a vision and new ideas. But most importantly (like for many others) Drazen always remained a sincere friend, always interested in how I was doing. We all miss him but I am sure that his legacy continues to live on in the many lives he has influenced. My sincere prayers and thoughts are for his wife Jodi and his sons Dominik, Andrej, and Jan. Leo van Doesburg, Belgium

Drazan’s talk at the 2012 ROM Regathering had a great impact on me and is partly responsible for leading me towards the work I am doing now. I am comforted by the words of Jesus, whose life was also cut short, in a sense. His prayer in John 17 was “I have honored you on earth, completing the work you gave me to do. ” Jeremiah Collins, Houston, US

We were shocked to hear of Drazen’s passing.  We feel fortunate to have known him and are saddened that we have lost a talented creative man of God. We are praying for Jodi and the family.  Jodi, may the Lord lift you up, give you strength and provision for all your needs. We enjoyed spending time with Drazen and Jodi in our home when they were newly married.  We will not forget Drazen’s hospitality for us in his home in Croatia. May the Lord raise more godly leaders like Drazen in Croatia and beyond in the Balkans! Neil and Linda Quist, Seattle, US   

No words to describe this feeling, deep sadness and a big shock. My favourite speaker and leader ever. Minela Pervanovic, Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina

I spent a day – probably 8 hours or so – with Drazen and his wonderful family at their home in Zagreb following ROM 2013. We laughed and laughed – he called some of his local music friends over and we had a wonderful time. I’ll always remember him with great fondness. I came to genuinely love and respect him, although I did not know him for very long. Man, what a loss. I am so very sorry. Matt Hammon, Houston, US

He was always a big voice at ROM, really enthusiastic and full of life and encouragement. Zachary Schmidt, Spain

A gifted friend, role-model, scholar and leader that is hard to imagine he’s not with us. Martha S. Weiss, Seattle, US

I am overwhelmed with shock upon hearing about the passing of Drazen. I last chatted with him on 23 November when discussed the change of government in Zimbabwe after 37 years of Mr Mugabe’s rule. He wished us well, yet those were his bye byes to me. I will cherish the two valuable leadership books he donated to me on two different ROM gatherings in Fuzine, Croatia. John Masuku, Zimbabwe

I miss my friend Drazen. He was always there for me. He always provoked you in the right direction, in a direction that was unusual but needed. He loved me the way a friend should. He was a great evangelist, you could not but hear the gospel or some amazing thought about Jesus and the Bible. He loved his boys and seemed to be just connecting with them on deep levels. And Jody as well. It is too soon God to take him from us. We love you Drazen and we are already starting to miss you. I pray that all of us here will be strong and continue in the things you taught us. We miss you. Justin Kagin, US

It was his passion for ROM and that I should come to talk about the role that media played in provoking conflict in Balkans that brought me to this amazing initiative in 2000. Julia Bicknell, London, UK

We spent the last evening of our summer trip to Croatia with the Glavas family — as ever, laughter, dedication, remembering great times, playful “trash talk,” and visions of big futures all rolled into one grand time. I was also glad that earlier our time at ROM this year coincided with Drazen’s talk — and we could hear him speak after many years. We were struck by how brilliant and yet connected with people he was (this is often a rare combination). Losing him too young is difficult to accept. Randy and Vesna Tift, Washington DC, US

It was a real treasure knowing you in my life dear Drazen. Your words, your energy and charisma will always stay in my mind! I am very sad we lost such a great inspiration, encouragement, fantastic leader and speaker, wonderful father and husband, life-changer, and a Man of God. ROM will not be the same without you. I am still so shocked and I cannot find words to express my sadness. Kristina Velevska, Macedonia


Wade Channell, Washington DC, US

This world of international development can be a bit crazy at times.  We do it because we love it, and we learn to cope.  Occasionally we make a friend that we see only once a year or less, but somehow the relationship always picks up where it left off, as if we’d seen each other only yesterday.

Drazen Glavas was one of those friends.  We met in 2000 during my first trip to Croatia.  Friend of a friend, I took an dawn train ride to meet him, and we’ve been friends ever since.  At the time, he was setting up a program of reconciliation among Balkan youth, a response to the breakdown of human kindness during the Yugoslav break up.

When my family moved to Croatia, we had breakfast once a week, and more.  Planning, conspiring, thinking through problems, Drazen had one of those brilliant minds that never stopped.  But it also never got off a deeper track.  He did more than think – he encouraged, inspired, exhorted, supported and loved.  Time with him was a time of joy.

Over the years we’ve stayed in touch.  He has stayed in my home every time he has come to Washington.  We spent hours together in bookstores, recommending, exploring, laughing, even reading.  And hours more at the table, with other friends sometimes, or just ourselves.

Last week we were planning for his next visit.  Until Saturday, when this 48-year-old dynamo suffered a heart attack at home with his wife and three sons and died.

Drazen was one of my dearest and closest friends.  I shall miss him terribly.


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