8-9 June 2012: Sofia Forum for the Balkans Conference: The Balkans in the Globalized World, Sofia

The CDRSEE was invited to take part in this event hosted by the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Center for Liberal Strategies. The aim of this conference was to gather policy and opinion makers from the Balkans, together with their counterparts from the EU, the United States, the Middle East and North Africa, for in depth discussions about key issues that concern Europe and the transatlantic relationship.

Issues discussed concerned the Balkans’ place in the EU’s global agenda, political consensus towards European integration, the future of integration amongst the backdrop of the euro crisis, the respective agendas of the EU and the US in Europe, economic diversification, youth in the Western Balkans and Europe’s future.

Amongst those present at the event were: Prime Minister Boyko Borissov of Bulgaria, Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria (Nickolay Mladenov), Sweden (Carl Bildt), Croatia (Vesna Pusic), and the President of the German Marshall Fund of the United States Craig Kennedy.


1-3 June 2012: Shared teacher training event for Albanian and Serbian communities in South Serbia (Vranje)


Together with the Serbian Ministry of Education and the Coordination Body for the Municipalities of Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja, the CDRSEE invited 31 history teachers from the Albanian and Serbian communities of South Serbia to a weekend that was dedicated to discussing history teaching in Albanian speaking schools with Serbian colleagues and vice versa.

History and its interpretations remain a hot topic in the Balkans and continue to burden respectful co-existence with old grievances. And exactly this re-emergence of nationalist feelings makes events like the teacher training workshop in Vranje crucial. Getting to know each other and being able to address sensitivities are essential steps for establishing friendly relations and overcoming old stereotypes.

Helian Demiri from Elbasan and Goran Miloradovic from Belgrade worked together on introducing history teachers to the CDRSEE’s multi-perspective set of Alternative History Teaching Materials. Teachers can use the wide variety of primary historical sources compiled in these materials to stimulate discussion in classrooms and open new views on history. Views that add value by enriching the national stories with perspectives of the neighboring communities and oblige students to reflect on various perspectives, evaluate information and create own viewpoints. The materials thus are not only promoting a more balanced approach to history, but are transferring core competencies which are vital for creating pluralist and stable societies in many aspects.

For news coverage of the event, please click here.


28 May 2012: Royal College of Defense Studies: Briefing on Greece and the Balkans, Thessaloniki

This event, hosted by the International Hellenic University (IHU), aimed at enhancing the understanding of the economic socio-political and technological issues facing the region through teaching and research. The CDRSEE’s Director of Programmes Corinna Noack-Aetopulos was invited to present the CDRSEE and its role in promoting education and critical thinking skills as the most valuable asset in forging stable relations for the future.

She stressed that the most prominent political question in parts of Southeast Europe will remain European integration and the vision of a Europe based on common values, common politics and a common identity—the vision of an integrated geo-political entity. In being part of Europe, our economies, our history, our way of thinking and our heritage become more international, and one opportunity to foster understanding lies in History teaching, given that it is taught in a global-minded rather than a local-minded way.

Amongst those present at the conference were Professor Kostas Grammenos, President of the IHU, Vassilis Gounaris, Dean of the School of Humanities of IHU and Professor of Modern History, Professor in Diplomatic History (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) Yiannis Stefanidis, Associate Professor in Modern and Contemporary Balkan History (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) Spyros Sfetas, Associate Professor in International Economic Law (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) Panagiotos Glavinis, Head of Office of International Economic Relations and Development Cooperation of Thessaloniki Alexandros Alexiadis, and Associate Professor in International Economic Relations (Ionian University) Stavros Katsios.


May 2012: Education Capacity Building Tour in Albania and Serbia

In cooperation with Education Forum from Serbia and the Center for Democratic Education from Albania, Professor Lorin Anderson from the University of South Carolina gave a series of talks at the University of Tirana, the University of Durrës and the University of Belgrade on the revision of Bloom's Taxonomy and the new dynamic teaching methodology tool which he is developing together with the CDRSEE and an international team of education experts. This talented, multi-faceted group will ultimately publish a manual that will provide teachers with the latest research on teaching methods and ideas on how these methods can be used in their classrooms. Present at these talks were the State Secretary from the Ministry of Education and Science in Serbia Ms Tünde Kovàcs-Cerovic, the Director of the Institute for Educational Development Ms Tidita Abdurrahmani from Albania, PHD students, professors and educators.

14 May 2012: European Union Enlargement Process

CDRSEE board member Dušan Reljić has co-authored a research paper on the hiatus in the European Union Enlargement Process. Together with the co-authors, Andrea Despot and Günter Seufert, he argues that in the wake of Croatia's EU accession in mid-2013, it is probable that the Union's enlargement process towards Turkey and the Western Balkans will initially grind to a halt, possibly for a decade or more. How can the EU nonetheless safeguard its position as the driving force behind conflict transformation in the Western Balkan states, and how can it prevent European influence in Turkey, an increasingly important player on the international stage, from dwindling? It should ensure candidates' integration within as many EU policy areas as possible prior to accession, so that the stabilising and democratising effects of the EU's enlargement policy remain intact. For the full text of the analysis, please click here: The paper is also available in Turkish and Bosnian / Croatian / Montenegrin / Serbian language.

6 May 2012: International Expectations Following Elections in Serbia


CDRSEE Board member Dusan Reljic participated in a panel at the Media Centre in Belgrade on election night May 6th to discuss the expectations of the international community regarding Serbia’s future EU membership and the difficult economic and political changes it will need to pursue.

The discussions were moderated by CDRSEE Executive Director Nenad Sebek.



4-6 May 2012: Second meeting of the initiative "Dynamic teaching: knowledge and tools", Kotor.


A regional team gathered in Kotor to discuss the evaluation of the draft Methodology Manual. The manual is drafted by an international team of education experts from the Western Balkans, Cyprus, Germany and the US. It is led by Professor Lorin Anderson who is well known for his revision of Bloom's Taxonomy. The idea for initiating a regional knowledge pool for dynamic teaching is based on the regional work with teachers within the framework of the Joint History Project.

New methods and regional networking opportunities will now be available to all teachers and will not be subject specific, but will focus on methodological thoughts relevant to the process of education. The committee will establish six focus groups of evaluators by the end of August. These evaluators will be the end users of the manual who will assess the suitability of the manual to their needs. Committee members from each country will then present the evaluation results from their country.

A final workshop, in which the Committee will meet to present the results of the evaluations and find solutions on how to incorporate the findings into the final manual, will be held in September 2012.


4 May 2012: "OKRUZENJE" (Vicinities): Final Broadcast and New Prospects

The CDRSEE together with the European Fund for the Balkans is pleased to announce that the final episode of the current affairs TV programme “OKRUZENJE” (Vicinities) has been aired on major national and local TV stations throughout the region. Not only was the programme an immense success-going beyond expectations-but it also created new future prospects: a publication in Serbian and English, a potential new follow-up series to be broadcast, and much more to come.