Hands on the Balkans

The Hands on the Balkans project was a series of workshops where CDRSEE experts and others shared their critical knowledge of the Balkans together with their vast network of contacts, passing along expertise to up-and-coming professionals interested in working in and for the Balkans. The project provided emerging professionals and students of political science with real-life experience in international development in the Balkans.

Through more than a decade of experience of service in the region, CDRSEE staff members have noted that it is essential that emerging professionals and practitioners have experience to complement their academic education. They have seen a need to give students and new graduates access to expertise, contacts and real-life experiences. These workshops did just that. Successful participants were emerging professionals and students in advanced studies of political science or a related field, interested in working in international development in the Balkans.

Two series of workshops took place in Belgrade, Serbia, in the summer of 2014. Each seminar included two core modules, making up about 30 percent of the programme, on “Transition, Reform and Development in the Balkans” and “Reassessing History:  Collective Interpretations - “The Joint History Project”.  The modules were taught by academics and experts in the fields, with additional discussions led by key CDRSEE personnel. In addition, the seminars included an assessment of international development and civil society evolvement throughout the Balkans since the early 2000s. However, the core of the seminars was spending time in the field in meetings with leading media, government representatives, civil society organisations, business leaders and more.

The on-site meetings were key to the success of the programme. They included visits to public bodies such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Prishitna, as well as the UNDP in Belgrade. Meetings with politicians from a wide specter of political parties, as well as visits to the OSCE, NED, and many others civil society and international organisations, were also part of the series. Field visits included excursions to southern Serbia and Kosovo where participants met with local journalists, civil society activists, and EULEX development officers.

You can gain a more lively impression of the two seminars on the public facebook pages

The result of the programme is a fresh, new group of professionals, ready to make a difference in the Balkans.

For a look at a series agenda, click here. (xls document)