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Seminar “Serbia and Kosovo:
Intercultural Icebreakers”

March 27-31, 2015



The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia and its partner organization from Prishtina, the Liberal Democratic Centre, organized the seminar titled “Serbia and Kosovo: Intercultural Icebreakers” on March 27-31, 2015 in Belgrade. Young people from Kosovo and Serbia, active and interested in culture and arts, spent five creative and working days, making friends and exchanging experiences and knowledge about their societies and cultures.

Participants in the seminar had an opportunity to listen to lectures by prominent authorities in arts and culture. During the first day writer Sasa Ilic delivered a lecture on “Literature of the Separated Worlds - Cultural Exchange as Peace-building (Kosovo/Serbia)” addressing the history of divided societies, cultural and political developments since early ‘80s until today, the culture and politics of denial, the avenues for cooperation in arts and culture, especially at the literary scene, and the importance of cultural exchanges. “Communication is being created through culture and arts. It is necessary to show that kind of openness in the communication and to allow the inflow of information and stories in order to change ourselves, and through our change we can make changes in societies we live in,” he said among other things.

Film director and investigative journalist Birol Urcan tackled the topic “Culture and Arts in Closed and Open Societies”, while socio-anthropologist Eli Krasniqi delivered the lecture titled “The Other, Pop Culture and Work of Memory” dealing with stereotypes, collective memory, cultural and art products, etc. At the end participants had an opportunity to talk to conceptual artist Milica Tomic during her lecture “Artist Talk: The Short Circuit Between Intimacy and Politics”.

Besides lectures young artists were attending the workshops held by sociologist Demir Mekic and psychologist Tamara Tomasevic. During the workshops they teamed up for creative campaigns for mutual respect, understanding and tolerance to be staged in the period to come. In this way, the program helps the promotion of young artists from both societies, who will be working together for breaking prejudices and stereotypes, and promoting good relations between Kosovo and Serbia.

The participants in the seminar also visited different cultural institutions and organizations in Belgrade in order to learn more about cultural and artistic programs on Serb-Albanian relations. They toured the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, the Center for Cultural Decontamination, the Cultural Center REX and met with their peers of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights.

Furthermore, they enjoyed some of the cultural events in Belgrade such as the Belgrade Documentary and Short Film Festival.

One of the participants, Teodora Petrovic, student of Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade speaks about her impressions saying: “I think that organization of this kind of seminars is very necessary. They should be more frequent, and more numerous, because they are important. They are important because facing with the recent and repressed past is completely absent in this society, and it is the main prerequisite for a healthy perception of responsibility of a young individual. It seems that my generation hardly feels responsible in any way for what happened not so long ago. This does not mean that there are no such young people; it only means that they are confused, misinformed and manipulated. If they are confused, misinformed and manipulated every opportunity for repeating of what have happened is possible, because the continuity of building a culture of ethnic hatred has not been interrupted. Therefore, it is necessary to insist on these kinds of seminars and to dissolve the models of official culture, based on intolerance and misunderstanding. There are people who have the courage to speak about this problem in a very clear and good way, some of them were part of the seminar, but there is also a large audience who would have to learn this as well.”

Aurela Kadriu, secondary school student from Prishtina says, „It was one of the greatest opportunities ever given to me, I had the most valuable chance to meet my peers from Belgrade, see this beautiful city, and I got to know more about their points of view, their interests and culture. During those five days in Belgrade, I could hardly notice that we, the participants in that seminar don't belong to the same country, because we managed to communicate and collaborate so fine together! I am very glad to have been part of that seminar, I am very glad to have met people like them, which of course will be a strong reason for me to stay in touch with developments in Serbia, Belgrade, and the friends I made will surely be a strong reason for me to re-visit Belgrade!“

The overall goal of the program is to contribute to renewing old and create new ties between young people, academic and artistic community, media and civil society from Belgrade and Prishtina by promoting intercultural dialogue, reconciliation and normalization process.

Program is realized with the assistance of the European Union under the Support to Civil Society Facility 2013.




































In 2015, program is financed by the European Union under the Support to Civil Society Facility 2013.
In 2016, program is financed by the Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The contents of all calls/press releases/video materials are the sole responsibility of
author/organization and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union,
Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH or Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany.














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