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Seminar “Serbia and Kosovo: Intercultural Icebreakers”

Belgrade, Novi Sad, Prishtina, and Prizren, October 23-31, 2017

 

 

The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia has organized the seventh study tour within “Serbia and Kosovo: Intercultural Icebreakers” program on October 23-31, 2017. 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 Tool (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. Culturologist Aleksandra Bosnić held a lecture in Novi Sad on „Value Systems and Contemporary Art“, while theater director and founder of ARTPOLIS festival in Prishtina Zana Hoxha Krasniqi talked about „Gender Mainstreaming in Culture and Arts“ and „Art and Activism in Kosovo“.

Besides lectures young artists were attending daily workshops held by psychologist Tamara Tomasevic. During the workshops they teamed up for creative campaigns 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.

Every afternoon during the study tour young artists participated in Cultural Hitchhikers workshop which provided them a space to make their own impressions about the culture of the other, discovered with only one person from the other community. This resulted in creating of their personal inquiry about the culture, explored and discovered outside the lectures and visits of official program agenda.

We have also visited different cultural institutions and organizations in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Prishtina, and Prizren. We toured the renovated Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade where director of the museum Slobodan Nakarada warmly welcomed us. In Centre for Cultural Decontamination in Belgrade we talked with Borka Pavicevic about their activities on Serb-Albanian relations in culture and contemporary cultural scene in Serbia. Participants also visited the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade where professor Milena Dragicevic Sesic talked about “Cultural Policy and Nationalism; The Reconstruction of Crime: Artists Challenge”. In Novi Sad we were kindly welcomed at the newly opened Cultural Center LAB where young artists presented their work. While in Prishtina, we visited the Faculty of Dramatic Arts where film director and professor Ismet Sijarina nicely welcomed us with his students, and showed some of the students’ short films. One of the visits was to the newly opened center in Prishtina called TERMOKISS where we enjoyed the tour and presentation made by young artists, members of this community, and founders of the hub. In Prizren, we had a great talk with DOKUFEST director Eroll Bilibani about this prestigious film festival, and we also toured the Museum – Albanian League of Prizren, Ethnographic Museum where ethnologist Bashkim Fazliu talked about “Social Engineering: Myths and Nationhood”.

Furthermore, we enjoyed some of the cultural events, such as a theater play “Bordel Balkan” at the National Theater in Prishtina, after which playwright Jeton Neziraj talked with young artists, and shared his views and experiences on the subject of Serb-Albanian relations in art and culture.

One of the participants, Teodora Savic, student from Belgrade, speaks about his impressions saying: “This study tour meant a lot to me. It opened so many new doors, I met great people, and had so much fun. I’m grateful to the Helsinki Committee that provide us with this opportunity to see the world form a different angle. So many beautiful moments stuck in my mind, and I’ll never forget it. Thank you all for opening some new doors, I’m so glad I was part of an awesome group of young and talented people! I hope we will continue to move the borders and to broaden are horizons together!”

Flutur Mustafa, student from Prishtina, shared her thoughts: „It was a pleasure being part of the seventh generation of the Intercultural Icebreakers. I am very glad that I had the opportunity to get in touch with different point of views, cultural views, political issues, debates and different ways of interpreting art. What I really liked was the way we got into each other and became really close friends. We are the generation that needs to discuss what happened, understand the mistakes of the both parties and try to move one. It is not about forgiving each other, it is about accepting each other the way we are!”

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.

 

 

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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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