The Forum for Ethnic Relations, supported by the Foundation for Open Society, is implementing a training program for a new generation of researchers and students in the field of interethnic relations. The project is realized in Belgrade from 1 December 2012 to 31 August 2013. During that period, three young researchers will be engaged as a support to the Forum for Ethnic Relations and will participate in discussions on negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina.
The main goal of this project is to enable young researchers to understand, monitor and analyze ethnic relations, learn how to manage conflicts, to understand the context in which negotiations are taking place and the causes of the crisis in the former Yugoslavia, as well as the consequences of the collapse of the country, with a special focus on the situation in Serbia and Kosovo. In the preparatory stage, young researchers will go through a series of lectures aimed to provide them with a good insight into the situation in the field, the context in which the conflict between Serbia and Pristina emerged, and case studies of conflict management and post-conflict development of Sandžak and South Serbia. Lecturers who will work with young researchers will be professors of the University of Belgrade, civil sector experts working on promoting inter-ethnic relations as well as state officials working in judicial institutions who are responsible for implementing the policies towards the southern Serbia and Sandzak.
In parallel with attending lectures, young researchers will be involved in collecting documents, monitoring media, and working as a support to the observation team. At the end of project activities, young Forum researchers will travel to Kosovo where they will visit Mitrovica, Gračanica, Priština and Štrpce and through the meeting with local representatives, representatives of Kosovo institutions and non-governmental activists will familiarize themselves with the situation on the ground. During the stay in Pristina, a meeting with students of the American University in Kosovo (AUK) is planned.
Another project goal is the cooperation of the Forum for Ethnic Relations and the Council for Inclusive Governance (CIG).The cooperation of young researchers with students of the American University Arcadia, who will spend five days in Belgrade, will allow the American and Serbian students to exchange ideas and opinions on topics of global politics, the situation in the Balkans, and the conflict in Kosovo. Professors from the Belgrade University and researchers of the Forum for Ethnic Relations will hold lectures for the American and Serbian colleagues. The course that American students will attend during their stay in Belgrade will give them the opportunity to get acquainted with the basic concepts of post-conflict management and state creation.
In addition to the theoretical part, US students will jointly explore the Serbian-Albanian conflict in Kosovo, the causes of conflict, its history and consequences, the role of the international community in resolving conflicts, post-war institutions and the mutual reconciliation of Serbs and Albanians. Special attention will be paid to the situation of the Serbs in Kosovo and their future. Young researchers of the Forum for Ethnic Relations will hosts to their colleagues from the Arcadia University and will participate with them in discussions and lectures during the stay of the US students in Belgrade. US students will visit Kosovo to get to know the situation on the ground, and after traveling and lecturing, they will have the obligation to write policy recommendations to improve the situation of Serbs in Kosovo.
Project team: Nenad Đurđević – project coordinator; Mladen Antonijević Priljeva – mentor; Dušan Janjić – expert consultant.