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Envisioning Moving Frontiers: Migration Management, Minority Protection and the Enhancement of Territorial Cooperation

23rd CEI International Summer School

University Residential Center of Bertinoro (CEUB), 11th-15th September 2017

From 11th to 15th September 2017 at the premises of the CEUB University Residential Center of Bertinoro in Santa Sofia-Italy, took place the 23rd CEI International Summer School “Envisioning Moving Frontiers: Migration Management, Minority Protection and the Enhancement of Territorial Cooperation.” The Summer School is a product of the long standing and successful cooperation between CEI, University of Bologna and the Institute for Eastern Central and Balkan Europe (IECOB). Traditionally also this year, the summer school was realized in close cooperation with the European Regional Master's Programme in Democracy and Human Rights in South East Europe, coordinated by the University of Sarajevo and University of Bologna, and co-funded by the European Commission and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy, via the Italian Cooperation Agency.

The Summer School, coordinated by Prof. Stefano Bianchini and Prof. Francesco Privitera from the University of Bologna - School of Political Sciences was attended by 31 students coming from 11 countries (14 from Bosnia and Herzegovina, 5 from Macedonia, 2 from Serbia, 2 from Kosovo, 2 from USA and 1 respectively from Albania, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, Denmark and Romania). The students had the chance to benefit from a set of lectures, round tables, seminars, workshops and conference held by over 20 professors and guest lecturers, emphasizing the interdisciplinary approach towards the topics of migration, minority protection, cultural diversity and territorial cooperation.


Established in 1995 with the aim of creating an arena for dialogue and interaction for young scholars and professionals from the ex-Yugoslav states, the CEI Summer School has become an important event for the academic advancement in the field of human rights and democratization. With a strong international dimension, thanks to the active involvement of the IECOB Institute for Central-Eastern and Balkan Europe and the EBIN Europe and the Balkans International Network (established in 1992 with a financial contribution of the EU), the CEI International Summer School has been attended by more than 800 MA students, NGO activists, government officials and young experts not only from the Balkans, but from all CEI countries. In the 23 years of existence, the summer school addressed various topics of high importance for the Balkan and CEI countries such as diversity management, post-communist transition challenges, economy and entrepreneurships, agricultural and environmental problems.

The organizational committee of the 23rd edition of Summer School, aimed to promote one week international forum of professionals and students in human rights and democratization issues encouraging dynamic discussion over the prospective developments related to the implementation of refugee rights vs. the securitization paradigm; the relations of minority rights and the nation states; the relationship between the dominant and the “new form of cultures”; cultural diversity and multiculturalism; the role of the state and the civil society sector in the recent migration crisis; the principles of territorial integrity and territorial cooperation; and lastly, the interaction between diaspora communities in the framework of the existing nation-states and the EU integration processes, while emphasizing the CEI role in these contexts.

Having this in mind, this edition presented the abovementioned topic in twofold manner: firstly, it addressed the implementation of migration management and security issues, involving both the internal migration related to the war in Eastern Ukraine and the external migration faced by Western Balkans in the recent years, and secondly, tackled the issue of the rise of new internal frontiers in Europe, conceived to face the current migrant influx. Additionally, the lecturers gave insights of the latest political developments in the Southeastern Europe and their influence towards the possible legislative and policy solutions regarding the aforementioned topics. Finally, a soft skills building seminar aimed at the development of a multi-cultural mindset, cross-cultural communication and negotiation was offered, as well as a short methodological seminar on academic writing by the Academic and Development Unit of the ERMA Programme.


Complementary to the set of class lectures, workshops and seminars, the summer school was officially closed on the 15th of September with the CEI International Conference “Restructuring Identities vs. Managing Minorities: Fostering Intercultural Dialogue and Preserving Cultural Diversity in Southeastern Europe” which took place at the castle of Bertinoro, in co-organization with the University of Bologna - Department of Social and Political Sciences. The members of the Italian scientific committee based in Forlì Campus in collaboration with the editorial board of “Southeastern Europe” Journal (Brill Publishers), reflected on the issues at stake in the area and welcomed the participants from the Balkan countries and Ukraine, simultaneously developing new networks and promoting academic cooperation.

 More specifically, the ‘inclusive’ and ‘exclusive’ identities in the aftermath of both the Ukraine crisis and the EU migration crisis were the core research focus and subject of thorough examination. Thus, the conference provided analysis and recommendations for the identity and minority issues following both national and macro-regional perspectives, and attempted to offer understanding of the transformation and complex dynamics in drawing national, external European and borders in South-East and East-Central Europe. Moreover, the case studies of Ukraine, Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania and Serbia were thoroughly elaborated, as well as their bilateral relations and regional cooperation, and helped to draw comparative conclusion based on the previous experiences.


The 23rd CEI International Summer School and International Conference as complementary events pave the way for better understanding of the topics of migration, minority rights, and cultural diversity as a prerequisite for building stable democracies in South East Europe in the context of the recent migrant crisis and EU accession. Moreover, these events provided the participants with new visions and horizons regarding the sensitive topics of the concepts of “new minorities” such as such as métissages, cultural nomadism, social and environmental minorities etc. offering new perspectives and solutions for their empowerment and protection. 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, combining them with presentation of specific cases of minority dynamics in the process of state building in the SEE region. Additionally, 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 were strengthened further through the interactive workshops and seminars, emphasizing on their significance in the field of human rights and democratization. Lastly, the initiative provided fresh solutions for successful migration management and cultural preservation, offering different perspectives on democratic, civic and humanitarian practices.

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 in the highly debated topics of migrations, minorities, cultural diversity and cooperation. The international aspect of the events added further value for developing professional and personal networks amongst the participants, lecturers and the students coming from different parts of Europe. 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 academic and organizational team behind these two academic endeavors was composed of the co-directors of the summer school prof. Stefano Bianchini and prof. Francesco Privitera, supported by the academic coordinator Mr. Adriano Remiddi, the scientific coordinator Dr. Marko Puleri and the didactic assistant Marjan Icoski.


The Summer School was advertised online on the Portal for Eastern-Central and Balkan Europe (PECOB), CEUB website, the Official FB Page of ERMA Programme and the online portals Romagna Post and Moreover, the initiative was also presented during a press conference jointly organized by IECOB, ERMA and CEUB on Monday 4th September at the premises of the Municipality of Santa Sofia, which was attended by representatives of the local authorities and media outlets.


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