Perspectives on V4 and WB
Researching state’s and societies’ identity provides the groundwork for a better understanding of the political and social development in the Western Balkan region (i.e. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Republic of Macedonia / FYR of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia). Identity is constructed and transforms over time. It shapes states and societies and impacts on political behaviour. Research on the region’s identity is of relevance as countries are meant to move towards the European Union, accepting, complying and adapting the EU’s rules, norms and values. The focus lies on the current transformational processes, as well as nation building processes, and their regional cooperation activities, in the context of their EU rapprochement.
The states in the region attempt to strengthen their national identity, to comply with the EU’s demand that only politically stable states are eligible to join the EU, although this development seems to be contrary to the general idea of the EU.
Identity used as a political tool divides people, but some other aspects of identity might help to overcome national borders, such as language and culture. The issue of identity is also significant for the analysis of the interpretation of historical legacies and the retaining of society-based values. Although, countries attempt to construct a distinct national identity to support their state-building processes, these identities clash, especially in a region where overlapping ethnic, linguistic, religious and cultural spheres exists. These clashes might lead to a loss of trust and understanding between the countries. The emerging bilateral conflicts hinder the process of the European integration, which the EU attempts to overcome by supporting regional cooperation initiatives. Understanding the construction of identity and the interpretation of elements of identity within its regional context is the basis for transforming these aspects to provide for an inclusive rather than an exclusive policy among states in the region. The view of experts from the V4-region to answer some of the questions of identity in the WB region adds another perspective to this topic of research.
The project tries to raise awareness on issues related to identity in the Western Balkans. Therefore, the project aims to support an academic discourse on the issue of identity in the Western Balkans, which will include the perspective and/or comparative approach from scholars from the V4-region. Academics, researchers, experts and civil society organisations (CSO) from the V4 and Western Balkan (WB) countries working on or dealing with aspects of identity in the WB region are able to discuss their research, to network, and exchange research ideas. This discussions should result in academic papers, which will be collated and published in an edited volume. These discussions will be facilitated during three public events on the topics of identity, regional identity and elements shaping identity. The knowledge and expertise of the researchers and practitioners from the V4 and the WB region are brought together in the frame of the events. The workshops will be open to the public.
The project aspires to raise interest on the issues of identity in the Western Balkan states and that it will be able to reach out to a broader audience.
Information on the upcoming events will be made available at this website.
The project "Understanding Identities and Regions – Perspectives on V4 and WB" (Grant No. :21820078) is financed by Visegrad Fund.
Reports about the first workshop:
Metropolitan University Prague (MUP)
The Metropolitan University Prague ranks among the oldest and largest private universities in the Czech Republic. The steady influx of applicants interested in studying at Metropolitan University Prague attests to its reputation of a first-rate educational institution. As of the 2018/2019 academic year, MUP provides education to approximately 5000 students. Since its establishment in 2001, the University offers study programmes in the area of international territorial relations, legal specialisations, international economic relations, political science and security studies in both full-time and part-time forms of study in Czech as well as English. Next to Bachelor and Master programmes MUP offers also four Ph.D. programmes. MUP operates in Prague and in three regional centres in Pilsen, Liberec and Hradec Králové.
University of Wrocław
Excerpt from https://international.uni.wroc.pl/en/s3.php
The University of Wrocław is the largest university in the region and teaches over 26,000 students and around 1300 doctoral students at 10 Faculties. 9000 students graduate from the University every year. The university has a rich history of more than three centuries. Founded by Leopold I Habsburg the university evolved from a modest school run by Jesuits into one of the biggest academic institutions in Poland. At the beginning of the 19th century the university had five Faculties: philosophy, catholic theology, evangelical theology, law and medicine. Later it was expanded by numerous sections, laboratories and a natural museum, which exists until today. Today, the first and foremost focus of The University of Wrocław is scientific research. Our scholars have numerous links with their fellow researchers from other higher education institutions in Poland and throughout the world. The success of our researchers has been recently recognized by Polish authorities, who significantly increased funding for both equipment and research at our University by 80% compared to previous years.
Center for European Neighborhood Studies (CENS) at Central European University (CEU)
The Center for European Neighborhood Studies is an independent research center of the Central European University located in Budapest, Hungary. Its main goal is to contribute to an informed international dialogue about the future of the European Union in the world, while capitalizing on its Central European perspective and regional embeddedness.
The strategic focus of the center is academic and policy-oriented research on the place and role of the European Union in its rapidly changing and increasingly volatile neighbourhood. Through its research, CENS seeks to contribute to the understanding of the environment where the EU, its member states and partners need to (co)operate, and it aims at supporting the constructive development of these relations by providing opportunities for discussion and exchange. The center’s geographic focus areas are Central and Eastern Europe, the Western Balkans and Turkey, Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus and Russia.
Institute of European Studies of the Jagiellonian University
The history of the Institute of European Studies of the Jagiellonian University is associated with the establishment of the Inter-Faculty Department of European Studies at the Jagiellonian University in 1993. In 1999, the Inter-faculty Department was transformed into the Department of European Studies at the Faculty of Philosophy. In 2001, the Department of European Studies was incorporated into the structure of the Institute of Regional Studies - a newly established unit at the JU Faculty of International and Political Studies. In 2004, the Department was transformed into the Institute of European Studies and became part of the Faculty of International and Political Studies at the Jagiellonian University.
The purpose of establishing the Department of European Studies and the present Institute of European Studies has been to conduct teaching and research in the field of European studies. Such a formulation of objectives determines the interdisciplinary nature of the unit, which approaches the European issues from the perspective of several sciences: anthropology, economics, cultural studies, political studies, sociology, and law.
Faculty of Political Science, University of Sarajevo
Faculty of Political Science, University of Sarajevo, is the oldest such institution in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Faculty is in essence a faculty of social sciences, incorporating five departments: Political Science, Security and Peace Studies, Communication, Sociology and Social Work. It is also the largest student body among the comparable departments in the country and brings together fairly large faculty of some 70 full time academics. As part of the generation change in the past decade, the faculty is now much younger on average. Also, several new programs and projects have been initiated during this period, among which is introduction of English language instruction in the Department of Political Science, revisions of curriculums, expanded international cooperation and cooperation with many European universities on a range of project across all departments.