Happy Birthday to the CDRSEE! Today marks the 15th anniversary of the inception of the Center for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeast Europe, when the founders of our organization took the brave decision to no longer accept the conflict and intolerance that had caused so many tragedies in our region. To this day, we are proud of their bold leap to find a way to foster true reconciliation starting at the grass roots, and make long-term peace possible in a region ravaged by war.
It has not been an easy decade and a half, but it has been fulfilling, not only because of the results and awards, but also because of the friendships and personal awareness and understanding we ourselves have forged. Our team has worked passionately to foster reconciliation, advance democratic principles, and encourage better understanding and collaboration amongst societies in the region.There have been obstacles and challenges along the way, but we have consistently and throughout stayed true to our core values and founding commitments.
While our goal was not to seek out recognition and acknowledgment of our work, it is fitting that this milestone anniversary be capped with a special award. We are more than honoured that our endeavors have led us to receive the 2013 Human Rights Award of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. The ceremony will take place in Berlin on the 28th of October. Recognition such as this gives us the drive to continue to push ahead with our work.
Our programmes have made a real difference. The Joint History Project, our first flagship project, has reformed the way history is being taught in our part of the world. The JHP recently added a teaching methodology manual that reaches far beyond our borders. Our TV talk show Vicinities, a powerful more recent addition to our programmes, has received broad acclaim from audiences and media alike. Vicinities is being broadcast throughout the Bosnian/Croatian/Montenegrin/Serbian-speaking countries of Southeast Europe and beyond. It remains the only television programme to receive such exposure and reach such a wide audience. It stands as a unique effort of reconciliation, better understanding, media quality, and freedom of expression. We are equally proud of our many other initiatives, including the Employed. Empowered project, the Recycle Monster project in our hometown of Thessaloniki, Greece, and the Kosova/Kosovo project, which in a largely unprecedented fashion brought together Albanian and Serbian journalists on a joint project for the first time following years of conflict.
Today, the CDRSEE Board of Directors, the CDRSEE team, and our colleagues and partners celebrate 15 years of turning conflict into dialogue, achieving impact beyond borders, and making democracy work. Happy birthday, CDRSEE!