October 18-19, 2015, Thessaloniki -- Ms. Zvezdana Kovac, the Executive Director of the CDRSEE, took part in a Columbia University workshop, in which prominent historians, sociologists and professors pointed out the need for civil society to collaborate and take part in creating conditions for constructive political dialogue between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, at odds over the name of the latter.
The event was organised by the Program on Peace-building and Rights, part of Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights, and moderated by the Program's director, Mr. David Phillips. The workshop’s main subject was relations between the two countries.
Ms. Kovac presented the CDRSEE's flagship Joint History Project history education workbooks to an exclusive group of prominent professors of international law, historians and sociologists as an example of the potential impact of civil society organisations in the region.
The guests called for more collaboration and for civil society to help create conditions for a more constructive political dialogue. They pointed out that it was generally admitted in society that stereotypes must be identified by both sides.
The workshop also highlighted that billions of euros are being exchanged between the two countries in trade, and that the countries maintain a very strong educational relationship, with student exchanges initiated by both. In essence, participants said, relations between the two countries are very good with the exception of the name issue.
During the workshop, tasks focused on Shared History, Sociological Research, Opportunities for Cooperation between Law Faculties and Opportunities for Cooperation in the Study and Practice of Conflict Resolution.