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Seminar “Serbia and Kosovo:
Intercultural Icebreakers”

Belgrade, Novi Sad, Prishtina, and Prizren, April 19-28, 2016



The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia has organized the fifth seminar within “Serbia and Kosovo: Intercultural Icebreakers” program on April 19-28, 2016. Young people from Kosovo and Serbia, active and interested in culture and arts, spent ten creative and working days in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Prishtina and Prizren, 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. A 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. Playwright, dramaturge and slam poet Milena Minja Bogavac talked about socially engaged theater. She has presented the work of Oliver Frljic, Borut Separović, Montazstroj, TkH Walking Theory, Per.Art, and others. Film director and professor Ismet Sijarina discussed with participants about art that brings people together and LGBT films. Lecture was held at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts, University of Prishtina. And, the last but not least, the lecture given by philosopher, political analyst, and art critic Shkelzen Maliqi, who spoke about contemporary Kosovo art and about protection of cultural heritage.

Besides lectures young artists were attending daily 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. Besides the campaign, young artists shared their views and impressions in the essays, which will be also available at our web page.

We have also visited different cultural institutions and organizations in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Prishtina, and Prizren. We toured the Salon of the Museum of Contemporary Art and Gallery-Legacy of Milica Zorić and Rodoljub Colaković in Belgrade. At the Centre for Cultural Decontamination dramaturge and cultural activist Borka Pavicevic welcomed the participants and shared her views on Serb-Albanian relations in art and culture. Participants also visited the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade. In Novi Sad we were kindly welcomed at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Vojvodina and Student Cultural Centre of Novi Sad. While in Prishtina we visited the Contemporary Art Center - Stacion, the Faculty of Dramatic Arts, artist Alban Muja presented his work to the participants, and in Qendra Multimedia, artist Jeton Neziraj shared his views and experiences on the subject of Serb-Albanian relations in art and culture. At the end, in Prizren we toured the Prizren Fortress, the Museum – Albanian League of Prizren, and we had a great talk with Dokufest creators and organizers.

Furthermore, we enjoyed some of the cultural events in Belgrade and Prishtina, such as the Actopolis Belgrade, PriFest, and others.

One of the participants, Edin Alija, student of Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Prishtina speaks about his impressions saying: “This project allowed me to create great ideas with artists from Serbia. During the whole project, we spent lots of time one with each other. We exchanged lots of experiences, ideas, points of views, beers and other things and we kind of became aware of the “Other.” I loved the methodology trainers used and in general the conception of the whole project was very attractive. I think that changed us all in at least one small way. It made us think that there is something happening over the wall. Not only that. It was constantly raising our curiosity so we started investigating the “Others’” culture and totally normalized the feeling of having the “Other” as a stranger. It is good because the wall is broken, so I think that this could be of a higher value only because the toughest thing is done.”

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.




























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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