Balkan Studies Center's Blog

Post-war Interfaith Dialogue in Bosnia and Herzegovina: A Lesson (Un)learned*

The brutality of the Bosnian war (1992-1995) has been referred to as an outcome of inescapable tensions in multicultural and religiously diversified societies. This has been a particular trend among authors focusing on the Balkans in general and more specifically on Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). Many seem to argue that the differences between different religious and ethnic communities are too deep and wide to reconcile and too difficult to give way to cooperation and a shared future. While one can see hints of 'clash of civilisations' theory and its assumptions in such arguments, now that some twenty-three years have passed since the war, and we have seen myriad of interfaith and inter-cultural peace initiatives, we can look back to see whether in fact such views had merit, and explore what lessons we learned, or did not learn from inter-religious initiatives in the post-Dayton Bosnia experience. These lessons have a wider implication beyond BiH itself, and can provide helpful insights for societies recovering from ethno-religious violence.

Is Albania still a secular state?

Eid Prayer in Albania’s capital Tirana, did not proceed as usual on September 1, 2017. The Muslim Community of Albania (MCA) held its mass communal prayer in the central Scanderbeg Square after which the prayer was vocally attacked by numerous Albanian politicians and journalists. This attack was sparked by the way in which the Muslim Community had “hidden” the statue of Scanderbeg during the Eid prayer by placing two large monitors between the statue and the worshippers.

Private Enterprises as Drivers of Cultural Evolution

Thinking in the long term, as opposed to thinking in the short term, is the precondition of success in meeting one's desired goals. Long-term thinking starts with the goals, identifies all the steps that need to be taken for those goals to be achieved, and identifies actions and resources that need to be utilized in order for those steps to be taken. It produces a structured and clear plan, every part of which has a clear purpose and relation to other parts. Short-term thinking, on the other hand, produces a series of steps that are disjointed, piled up on top of each other, without structure or order. Steps in that "plan" are goals in and of themselves, independent of each other in purpose, and sometimes even in conflict with one another. They lead to some sort of short term satisfaction, but accomplish little to nothing in the long run.

EU-Western Balkans Strategy:Export of stability or import of instability

Several days ago, the EU Strategy for the Western Balkans was presented in Strasbourg. It is aimed at establishing a common economic space and initiating economic development in the Balkans, and one of the goals is to better connect the Balkans region with the EU. It was stated that prior to the admission of new EU members, regional conflicts should be resolved, migration stopped, rule of law and stable democracy established and organized crime curbed. Issues related with border disputes and inefficient public administration are also very important, and the need for economic growth is certainly implied. In 2018, the EU promised to allocate around 1 billion euros for infrastructure projects and strengthening of educational capacities in the Balkans. IPA funds will also be increased from 2018 to 2020, as well as the monitoring of the spending of these funds. However, EU leaders will certainly have to bear a heavy burden because of the disapproval of EU member states that are opposed to the enlargement of the Union.

Peace process, crisis management and Aleksandar Vučić. The case of Oliver Ivanović assassination.

While tensions in Kosovo and Serbia are rapidly warming up/calming down over assassination of Serb politician and leader of Serb minority on Kosovo Oliver Ivanović, few things are emerging that need to be pointed out: strong (one could say predicted) reaction by Serbian officials, very striking request from Aleksandar Vučić that case has to be investigated by the Serbian police and BIA (Serbian Intelligence Agency) even if Serbia has no control over territory of Kosovo and finally concealed media attacks on Albanians through usage of terms such as terrorism, shot on whole Serbia and peace process.

Kontekst: Referendum u Turskoj

Kontekst: Referendum u Turskoj

U Sarajevu profesor na Internacionalnom univerzitetu dr. Mirsad Karić - 
Turski predsjednik Erdogan proglasio pobjedu na referendumu o ustavnim promjenama. Dvije glavne opozicijske stranke traže ponovno brojanje glasova. Šta nakon referenduma? Kakve se promjene mogu očekivati u Turskoj, a kakve u odnosima te zemlje sa Zapadom i Rusijom? Na referendumu u Turskoj nešto više od 51% birača glasalo je za ustavne reforme. Zagovornici promjene Ustava tvrde da će one stvoriti jaku i stabilnu Tursku. Protivnici smatraju da referendum predsjedniku Erdoganu daje autoritarnu moć, optužujući ga da želi ugušiti svaki kritički glas.