The Hands on the Balkans project was a series of workshops in which CDRSEE experts and others shared their critical knowledge of the Balkans with their vast network of contacts, where they passed along expertise to up-and-coming professionals interested in working in and around the Balkans. The project provided emerging professionals and students of political science with real-life experience in international development in the region.
The CDRSEE’s experience in the region provided the understanding that it is essential that emerging professionals and practitioners have practice and experiential learning to complement their academic education. We 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 related fields, 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 consisted of 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 field, with additional discussions led by key CDRSEE personnel. Furthermore, the seminars included an assessment of international development and civil society evolvement throughout the Balkans the early 2000’s. However, the core of the seminars revolved around spending time in the field in meetings with government representatives, civil society organisations, business leaders, leading media institutions and many more.
The on-site meetings were key to the success of the programme, which included visits to public bodies such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Pristina, as well as the UNDP in Belgrade. Meetings with politicians from a wide spectrum of political parties, as well as visits to the OSCE, NED and countless other civil society and international organisations were 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 http://www.facebook.com/hobseminar.
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)