A new synergy is born between the CDRSEE and EUROCLIO

A kick-off meeting of the CDRSEE and EUROCLIO project “ePACT - Education Partnership for Advocacy, Capacity-Building and Transformation” took place in The Hague on 18-19 February, sealing our cooperation and the creation of our common project.

CDRSEE Executive Director, Zvezdana Kovac, Programme Adviser, Antonis Hadjiyannakis and Project Adviser, Corinna Noack-Aetopulos met with EUROCLIO Director Jonathan Even-Zohar, Project Manager Judith Geerling and Project Assistant Romana Sijakovic to discuss the new project and contribute to its implementation through a fruitful dialogue.

Both the CDRSEE and EUROCLIO will tap their experience in ground-breaking educational programmes that fulfill the need for new approaches in history education.  In collaboration with our partners, civil society and educators, two different groups will be created, one focused on innovative didactics and the other on history education. More information and news is on the way, so stay tuned and do not miss our updates!

The project will be implemented with the financial support of the Austrian Development Cooperation as part of the initiative “NETUCATE-Networked education creating a skills web for participation and sensitivity.”



Station Networking meeting of the Editors in chief and TV partners of "Okruzenje"

Thessaloniki, 29 January 2016 – The Center for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeast Europe and the European Fund for the Balkans organised the Station Networking meeting of the Editors in chief and TV partners of the current affairs talk show "Okruzenje".

The editors reviewed the activities of the past season and discussed on the next steps of Okruzenje Season 5.

Building on the successful fourth season, the TV editors from the ten stations which broadcast “Okruzenje”, brought new ideas for expanding the visibility of the shows and pledged their commitment to not only maintaining the quality of the shows, but also improving it. The feedback from the viewers has been consistently very positive and thus the editors are dedicated to expanding the range of topics and viewer interest

The Editor in chief of Okruzenje and Executive Director of the CDRSEE, Zvezdana Kovac, hosted the meeting. She was joined by Branka Panic, Programme Manager of the European Fund for the Balkans, a partner of the Okruzenje project.

Season V of Okruzenje is again supported by the EFB as well as the German Federal Foreign Office.



24th Board Meeting and traditional pita cutting

Thessaloniki, 24 January 2016 - The 24th meeting of the Board of Directors of the Center for Democracy and Reconciliation convened in Thessaloniki this weekend, to discuss the migrant and refugee crisis and what the Center can do to help with integration of the refugees.

The Executive Committee as well nearly all the Board members were present, active and willing to discuss in depth the current activities of the Center and possibilities for future projects, tapping the CDRSEE’s experience and tools that could contribute to improving lives and conditions for all involved.

After the meeting, the CDRSEE held an annual traditional Greek pita cutting, in honour of our host country. Mr Nikos Efthymiadis, a member of the Executive Committee, found the lucky coin, which promises luck and prosperity for the new year.

Our best wishes for a prosperous year! 



REGIONAL COOPERATION DAY: "End of a tough year, what will 2016 be like?"

Sarajevo, 17-19 December 2015 --  The Regional Cooperation Council organised a constructive meeting for representatives of Civil Society as well a workshop for journalists of the region, looking ahead to the new year, and CDRSEE’s Michaela Zervidou was there to present the Center's current projects as well as ideas for 2016.

A recurring topic of the conference, titled "End of a tough year, what will 2016 be like?", was the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe, such as the effects on the region and how people can cope with those effects. 

Additionally, a panel discussed a number of EU reports and the progress in the EU accession process of the pre-selected countries. Civil Society Organisations were key participants in the conference, especially in the segment on improving the investment climate in the region. Their representatives stated that they will continue efforts to increase their role and impact on the public.

The event gave the opportunity for better networking among the participants as well as a promise for improved future communication and cooperation.



CDRSEE, European Academy Berlin, present seminar for Greek journalists

Athens, 7-8 December 2015,  -- The European Academy Berlin (Europäische Akademie Berlin) in cooperation with the CDRSEE presented in Athens a seminar for Greek journalists, with German and Greek politicians, researchers and academia discussing the European monetary crisis, the refugee issue as well what Greece expects from Germany and the role of both countries in Europe.

The goal of the seminar, attended mainly by regional media, was to foster a better understanding of bilateral relations and to help create mutual respect. Mr Costa Carras, a founding member of the CDRSEE Board of Directors, gave the welcome speech, and CDRSEE Executive Director Zvezdana Kovac and other staff members were on hand to assist at the event.

A common conclusion made by both Greek and German presenters was that the refugee issue connects the two countries, and that a common European solution must be found. Mr Michael Roth, a Member of the German Federal Parliament and Germany's Minister of State for Europe, highlighted that it is crucial that a new immigration law be proposed and implemented, and commented that Germany wants Greece to stay in the European Union and maintains the importance of the Schengen Agreement.

Dr Peter Schoof, Germany's Ambassador to Greece, added that the "Grexit issue belongs to the past” and that it is crucial for Greece to be supported as Europe attempts to rescue the Schengen Agreement.

Mr Yannis Mouzalas, Greece's Alternate Minister for Migration Affairs, called on Germany to support Greece, with human resources, infrastructure and “knowhow”.  He pointed out that approximately 750,000 refugees travelled through Greek borders and highlighted the need for a registry of NGOs that will be part of a national plan.

Mr Norbert Kopp, Mayor of the Steglitz-Zehlendorf borough of Berlin, and Mr Spyros Galinos, Mayor of Lesvos, analysed their local authorities’ roles in welcoming the refugees. Mr Kopp highlighted that the German state is interested in integrating the refugees by helping them to learn the language and by supporting them financially. Mr Galinos described the difficult situation on the island of Lesvos, with more than 420,000 refugees coming to the small island, and he reflected on the solidarity of the local people who are helping the refugees. He added that Europe should have a clear and stricter stance towards the smugglers who take advantage of the refugees.

Ms Annette Gruttner, Press Officer for Bundesbank, presented German policies for the future of the monetary union and said that the solution is to strengthen the European currency.

Prof Eckart Stratenschulte, Director of the European Academy Berlin, presented the conclusions of the seminar and warmly thanked the participants for exchanging their opinions and knowledge, in an effort to improve relations and understanding.



23rd Meeting of Board of Directors convened in Thessaloniki


Thessaloniki, November 25th 2015 -- The Board of Directors of the Center for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeast Europe Board of Directors convened in Thessaloniki this weekend, welcoming its new members while reviewing the successes of the year and looking ahead to implementation of new projects and plans for the next steps for the current flagship ones.

Dr. Erhard Busek, Chairman of the Board, as well as the Executive Committee -- Mr. Nikos Efthymiadis, Mr. Costa Carras, Mr. Selcuk Erez -- were all present, as were nearly all the board members, contributing their ideas and suggestions. They welcomed new members Dr Hannes Swoboda, Mr. Guus Heim, Mr. Piro Misha and voted to appoint as a new member Mr. Yanis Tsorbatzoglou, Vice President for Operations & Planning at the American College of Thessaloniki.

The meeting, the CDRSEE's 23rd, took place on Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015. The board reviewed the Joint History Project’s draft versions of two new workbooks covering the Cold War and the Wars of the 1990s. The important issue of fundraising for local-language editions was also discussed.

The members praised Okruzenje/Vicinities media project and its special episode filmed in Vienna which achieved great visibility in the region.

Another topic of their discussion were the tremendous challenges facing Europe, such as the refugee crisis as well as conflicts, and how the CDRSEE can assist with those.


Vicinities Europe offered on the website of the European Association of Regional Television (CIRCOM)


The European Association of Regional Television recognised the CDRSEE's Vicinities Europe pan-European current affairs TV project by presenting it on CIRCOM's homepage and in its Media News, and offering the pilots to CIRCOM members across Europe for broadcasting.

Two pilot shows of Vicinities are currently available -- the first show on the "Migrant and Refugee Crisis in Europe", and the second, called "Quo Vadis, Europe?", about the future of Europe in the light of recent current events.

The shows are available free of charge to any interested CIRCOM member stations. 

CIRCOM included information about Vicinities Europe, as well as a link to the "Making of Vicinities Europe" video, to portray the professionalism and quality of the show.

A number of CIRCOM member stations have already chosen to broadcast the Vicinities Europe shows.  The pilots have been broadcasted on Radio and Television of Bosnia and Herzegovinian (BHT1), Bulgarian National Television (BNT), Radio Television of Croatia (HRT), Radio and Television Slovenia (TVSLO), and Radio Television of Serbia (RTS), as well as on other channels that are not CIRCOM members. 



International conference "The EU Strategy for the Danube Region and Its Potential to Tackle Crises in the Danube Region"


11 November 2015, Krems, Austria — The CDRSEE’s Executive Director Ms Zvezdana Kovac, participated in the international conference “The EU Strategy for the Danube Region and Its Potential to Tackle Crises in the Danube Region” for which academia and policy makers from across Europe gathered in Krems. Ms Kovac spoke on the panel dedicated to “Possible ways out of the crisis. The potential of education, know-how and civil society” and shared the CDRSEE’s long standing experience in Southeast Europe with participants.

Organisers of the conference were the Institute for the Danube Region and Central Europe (IDM), in co-operation with the Danube University Krems, ARGE Donauländer and Lower Austria. Main topics included the Political, economic , ecological and social crises as current challenges in the Danube Region. The conference questioned the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) as a possible solution and addressed current challenges and problems as well as potential alternatives, solutions and action spaces. Ms Kovac presented the CDRSEE’s Joint History Project, as an example for the opportunities that education offers for understanding crisis and its prevention.  Her speech was very well received by all the participants and initiated a very dynamic discussion. Mr Michael Ralph, Adviser to the Deputy Director General for Implementation in the Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy, European Commission commented that this exemplary initiative should be followed by other European countries as well.