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Minorities, Kin-States and Territorial Cooperation

 

22nd CEI International Summer School

 
 

From 12th to 17th September 2016 at the premises of the CEUB University Residential Center of Bertinoro in Santa Sofia, Italy, was held the 22nd CEI International Summer School ”Minorities, Kin-States and Territorial Cooperation.” The Summer School is the result of the long standing cooperation between CEI, University of Bologna and the Institute for Eastern Central and Balkan Europe (IECOB). The 22nd edition of the initiative was developed in close collaboration with the European Regional Master`s  Programme in Democracy and Human Rights in South East Europe (ERMA), which is based on a network of 10 universities from the South Eastern Europe, the EU and Russian Federation. The Summer School, conceived and directed  by Prof. Stefano Bianchini and Prof. Francesco Privitera from the University of Bologna – Department of Social and Political Science, under the didactic coordination of Mr Adriano Remiddi (IECOB/University of Bologna), was attended by 29 students coming from 10 countries (13 from Bosnia and Herzegovina, 5 from Serbia, 3 from Macedonia, 2 from Albania and 1 respectively from Kosovo, Finland, Bulgaria, Italy, Croatia and Georgia). The students had the chance to benefit from a set of lectures, round tables, seminars and workshops held by over 25 professors and guest lecturers, emphasizing the interdisciplinary approach towards human rights and democracy.

RELEVANCE
Established in 1995 with the aim of creating an arena for dialogue and cooperation for youngsters from the Yugoslav successor states in war, the School has become a very important event offering advanced knowledge and expertise in diversity management, post-communist transition challenges, economy and entrepreneurships, agricultural and environmental problems. In the 22 years of tradition, the School has hosted many international scholars and students providing them the chance to exchange knowledge and experience, as well as to boost the professional and personal cooperation amongst different cultures and regions in Europe.
With the 22nd edition of the School, IECOB and CEI aimed to promote a one week international forum of experts and young professionals in human rights issues in order to stimulate dynamic discussion on the prospective developments related to the implementation of minority rights in our increasingly diversified societies; the principles of territorial integrity and territorial cooperation. Stressing that fact that nowadays the need of intercultural cooperation has grown immensely, the School focused on the significance of the advancement of minority rights protection and the improvement of the intercultural dialogue for establishing prospective democracies, while providing experiences and comparisons of the Yugoslav case. Furthermore, the relationships between Diaspora communities, minority rights and kin-States were investigated as broad global phenomena, and discussed in the framework of both the existing nation-states and the EU integration processes, while elaborating on the CEI role in these contexts. More specifically, the lecturers gave insights of the latest political developments in the Southeastern Europe and their influence towards the stability and European prosperity of the SEE region. Furthermore, complementary methodological assistance was provided by the tutors’ team of the ERMA Programme, Ms Alina Trkulja and Mr Marjan Icoski.

In addition with the Summer School, under the same framework of the 22nd CEI International Summer School ”Minorities, Kin-States and Territorial Cooperation” on Friday 16th of September in Bertinoro was organized international conference devoted on one of the most important contemporary topics: Migration Crisis, Refugees and Security. The conference “Breaking Down or Rebuilding the Walls: Migration Crisis, Refugees and Security in Southeastern Europe” was coordinated by the Department of Political and Social Studies, University of Bologna and organized by Prof. Stefano Bianchini, Prof. Anna Krasteva and Dr. Marco Puleri. Acknowledging the impact of the “migration crisis” on the Southeastern Europe as the corridor to Europe, the conference offered sessions on the political constellations and humanitarian response to the crisis, as well as the rise of the far rights extremism connected with the influx of migrants in the last years in SEE and in Europe. Practitioners from the Western Balkan countries argued about the protection of the fundamental human rights and freedoms of the migrants in the Balkan corridor with the respect of the political and economic factors which influence the humanitarian responses by the States. Closely linked with the crisis, at the conference was discussed the question of the far right wing parties as a threat to the European values of democracy and tolerance. Pointing out the seriousness of the situation with the extreme rise of popularity and political representation of the right wing parties, the conference was concluded offering solutions how to keep the intercultural cooperation and dialogue in Europe, and how to prevent the hate and xenophobia at European level.

OUTCOMES

The 22nd CEI International Summer School and Conference as complementary events pave the way for better understanding of the minority rights and intercultural dialogue as a prerequisite for building stable democracies in South East Europe. These events provided the participants with new visions and horizons regarding the regional cooperation and its importance for the EU accession process. Furthermore, the initiative has granted detailed knowledge on the protection of the minority rights in different SEE countries, and deep understanding of the international legal standards for human rights protection. Furthermore, good practices of multicultural cohesion and cooperation were pointed out, highly important for comprehending the situation with the current migration flows. The practices of tolerance, understanding and multiculturalism was strengthened further through the interactive workshops and seminars offered by the School. Moreover, the initiative provided new ideas for successful management of the ongoing migrant issue offering different perspectives on democratic and humanitarian responses.
As highly simulative environments, both the Summer School and the Conference initiated strong interests and participation of the students, opening the floor for extensive discussions. The international aspect of the events added further value for developing professional and personal networks amongst the participants, lecturers and the students. In this regards, the Summer School also served to boost the creation of an international forum of prospective experts and young professionals in human rights and democratic development. The events also served to create awareness of the sensibility of these ongoing issues, better understanding of the political and legal frameworks, as well as to give them strong motivation to continue with the successful work as prospective human rights and democracy experts in the field of state management, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations in SEE and Europe.
The Summer School was advertised online on the Portal for Eastern-Central and Balkan Europe (PECOB), the website of the IECOB, the Official FB Page of ERMA Programme and the online portal forlitoday.it. Moreover, the initiative was also presented during a press conference jointly organized by IECOB, ERMA and CEUB on Monday 5th September at the premises of the University of Bologna Residential Center of Bertinoro in Santa Sofia, which was attended by representatives of the local authorities and media outlets.

 
 

Press release

BREAKING DOWN OR RE-BUILDING THE WALLS

International Conference

 

The international Conference, “Breaking Down or Re-building the Walls” Migration Crisis, Refugees and Security in Southeastern Europe” took place on September 16th, 2016. Scholars and young researchers from Greece, Slovenia, Croatia and Italy gathered together at the University Residential Centre of Bertinoro to reflect upon new analytical approaches to the complex dynamics enacted in Europe by the so-called ‘Migration Crisis’. Especially, it was the South-East European area that faced the most serious challenges, following the rise of the Western Balkan migration route in 2015. The event, that counted on the participation of several internationally renowned speakers, was organized by the Istituto per l’Europa Centro Orientale e Balcanica, the Central European Initiative and the Department of Political and Social Sciences of the University of Bologna. The different perspectives offered by the invited researchers framed the complex situation exactly through the lens of Southeastern Europe.

The opening was devoted to the discussion of the global challenges which characterize the phenomenon at the core of the debate. Sen. Lodovico Sonego (President of the Italian Parliamentary Committee of the CEI) and prof. Stefano Bianchini (University of Bologna) introduced the main questions at stake in the aftermath of the crisis. The morning session was devoted to the study of the political and cultural dynamics involving the refugee crisis and security issues during the last years, in an attempt to understand the transformation of the complex dynamics in drawing national (and all-European) borders from a South-East European perspective. Viktor Koska (University of Zagreb), Dimitris Skleparis (ELIAMEP) and Neža Kogovšek Šalamon (Peace Institute, Slovenia) focused on the contradictions of the migration policies implemented by the different political actors who were involved in the rise of the ‘Balkan Route’ or, the ‘corridor of convenience’, as suggested by Kogovšek Šalamon in her presentation.

Interesting remarks were drawn by Anna Krasteva (New Bulgarian University), Sotiris Vandoros (University of the Peloponnese) and Veronika Bajt (Peace Institute, Slovenia) in the afternoon session. Their papers were devoted to discussion of the political outcomes of the crisis in the emergence of far right-extremism in South-East Europe (i.e. practices involving politics of new born fear and the manipulated representation of the ‘others’, which have been enacted by far right political groups in the area).

An interesting moment of reflection was inspired by the final session. Asim Mujkić (University of Sarajevo) and prof. Bianchini introduced new interpretive paths towards a possible solution of the contradictory situation experienced by the EU in the last years. The final debate gave rise to a fruitful reflection, opening the way to future collaborations and joint projects.

Mirees

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