Serb, Albanian students attend European Academy in Tirana

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times September 30, 2016 09:15

Serb, Albanian students attend European Academy in Tirana

academyTIRANA, Sept. 28 – University students from Serbia and Albania attended lectures by international and local experts this week as part of a joint program between two think tanks based in Tirana and Belgrade.

The lecture series, known as the European Academy, was organized by the Albanian Institute for International Studies together with the Forum for International Relations of the European Movement in Serbia, with financial support from the German government. The academy is one of the components of the Joint Centre for Albania-Serbia Relations, an AIIS project in association with its Belgrade-based partner organization.

The event also served to increase people-to-people contact and raise awareness about Albania. Among eight visitors from Serbia, seven -- six students and one professor -- were in Albania for the first time.

Academy lecturers included Johann Sattler, the ambassador of Austria to Albania, who spoke about the current EU state of affairs and perspective of enlargement, including Brexit and its potential implications for the union and the Western Balkans enlargement.

Vladimir MeÄ‘ak, Deputy President of the Research Forum of the European Movement in Serbia and Legal adviser at the Negotiating team for accession of the Republic of Serbia to the EU, spoke about  the history of the European Union, as a peace project, the waves of enlargement and the evolution of the process.

Speaking about the regional cooperation and Berlin Process, Jovan Teokarevic, a professor at University of Belgrade, opened the second day of the conference.

Frank Hantke, the head of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation Office in Tirana, lectured on youth cooperation in bilateral relations, providing the example of France and Germany after WWII as a model that can work between Albania and Serbia.

In his lecture, Albert Rakipi, AIIS executive director, looked at current Albania-Serbia relations and the way forward.

AIIS policy briefs on trade, tourism and transportation were also presented, as part of ongoing efforts by the Tirana-based think tank to study bilateral relations with neighboring countries.

In a final session, current trends in media in the region were discussed, including a presentation of data on how Albanian and Serb media portray the two countries -- as part of a previous AIIS study on the subject -- and what can be done to help the media improve coverage moving forward.

Held at the Tirana Times Library's Europa Conference Hall, students also attended a ceremony of awarding certificates at the end of the event. The academy is only one of the activities of the Albania-Serbia centre project. The next steps will include an exchange of journalists from public broadcasters, says AIIS Deputy Director Alba Cela.

Serb researcher joins AIIS staff as part of project


Neda Zivanovic

As part of a fellowship program associated with the joint project, an Albanian researcher is headed to Belgrade for a month and a Serb researcher will be working at the Albanian Institute for International Studies for the same period.

Neda Zivanovic from Belgrade says this is her fourth visit to Tirana, but it is the first time she has the ability to stay longer and and an opportunity to work for an Albanian institution.

“Since I visited Albania for the first time last year, one can only imagine that I had many reasons to keep coming back this often. My impression is that we are much more similar than we are different and since people are really welcoming, it was not difficult for me to start feeling local in Tirana quite fast,” Zivanovic said. “I enjoy the cultural differences as well, because this means new experiences and learning more about myself and my culture.”

She added that this fellowship is an excellent opportunity to build not only personal but also professional bonds between the two countries.

“I am happy that I can contribute to the work of the AIIS with my knowledge and experience, but also with an opportunity to learn from my Albanian colleagues. I am looking forward to the rest of my stay and to the cooperation that I am sure we will further develop in the future,” Zivanovic said.


Tirana Times
By Tirana Times September 30, 2016 09:15