Cynthia Innes is a member of the 2016 MBA class at the University of Western Ontario’s Ivey Business School in London, Ont., where she has focused on strategy, marketing and entrepreneurship. She graduated last week. Previously, Cynthia was a manager with the Edelman public relations firm. She has lived and worked in Malawi, South Korea and Canada, and calls Toronto home.

The red roofs of Belgrade fade behind me as the train picks up speed at the city’s outskirts. A bag of hard candy appears in front of me. The woman across from me, dressed smartly for the trip and with a packed lunch tucked beside her, gives her offering an insistent shake. I oblige. After two weeks in Serbia’s capital, this hospitality has become familiar.

Landing at Belgrade’s airport earlier in the month, I didn’t know what to expect. I had faint memories of headlines from my childhood – a civil war, a country dividing, peacekeepers, bombing. I knew little of this place that straddles East and West, worlds away from me in Canada.

The place I encounter more than two decades later tells me a different story. Vibrant street cafes, strangers striking up conversations, a generation that dances all night. And yet, a lack of jobs, low wages, unrealized economic opportunity. Which brings me to why I am here…

Please follow this link for the rest of The Globe and Mail article