Friday, June 11, 2021
Participants and lecturers began arriving in the afternoon. Upon arrival, the participants were greeted and registered by the members of the project team. There were fewer participants than in previous years (this year 19) and they almost all were from Serbia (exept two from Croatia, one from BIH and one from Romania), due to the epidemiological situation and restrictions on entry into the Republic of Serbia.
The official program was opened by Mr. Aleksandar M. Gajić, director of Danube Area Research Center, who greeted all those present and introduced them to the history and goals of the organization he represents and the idea of this year’s school. After the introductory speech, the participants had the opportunity to get acquainted with the activities of OPENS, thanks to the interesting and effective presentation of Jelena Karać and Olga Grahovac. OPENS representatives also provided symbolic gifts for all participants of the Danube School.
The official part of the evening was closed by Prof. Aleksej Kišjuhas with a lecture on “Social and ethnic identities in the Danube region”. The topic of identity was presented on both theoretical and practical level, which aroused the interest of the participants and sparked a short discussion which continued even after the official end of the lecture.
After the formal part of the program, organizers, lecturers and participants continued to socialize with dinner and live music in the pleasant ambiance of the Andrevlje Congress Center.
Saturday, June 12, 2021
The second day of the Danube School of National Minorities was opened by Prof. Mihael Antolović with the topic “Cultural heritage of the Danube Swabians in Vojvodina”. Despite the early morning spot and the inactivity of the participants, the professor managed to provide an excellent overview of the historical development of the German community in this part of the Danube region, starting from the colonization and ending with its disappearance in the mid 20th century. Interesting episodes and examples from the everyday life of the Danube Swabians gave a special charm to the lecture.
The next lecture, titled „Language and scripts of national minorities on the territory of the City of Novi Sad“, was held by Ms. Jovana Bekić. The lecture was based on her research of the application of positive legal regulations of the Republic of Serbia concerning the use of the official language and script of national minorities on the territory of Novi Sad. The lecture and presentation were somewhat short, but the topic provoked a lively discussion among participants on the subject of the use of minority languages and scripts in the public sphere, the quality of laws and bylaws in the Republic of Serbia, and comparisons of the rights of national minorities in different states of the region.
After the lunch break, Prof. Mirko Savić addressed the participants with the subject „Demography of minorities in Serbia and Vojvodina.“ Through a very dynamic and interesting lecture, the professor presented the topic through the prism of the past, present and future. He also spoke to the participants about the importance of statistics, the measures taken by the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia in cooperation with the European Union to improve the quality and availability of data, as well as the importance and usability of the Eurostat database in various fields of work and research.
The next lecture was given in English via Skype by Ms. Katharina Lenz, who gave a detailed presentation of the „European Union Strategy for the Danube Region and National Minorities“. During her presentation, she introduced the participants to all activities undertaken related to the Danube Strategy, as well as to the objectives, relevant institutions and contacts. Due to the time limit, it was not possible to organize a discussion after the presentation, but the lecturer provided complete written, audio and video material of her presentation, which our project team later forwarded to the e-mail addresses of each participant.
The official program of the second day of the Danube School was closed by Mr. Adrian Borka, who spoke on the topic of „Rights of national minorities – national communities in AP Vojvodina and activities of provincial administration regarding the promotion of the rights of national minorities – national communities.“ Mr. Borka presented in detail the legal framework that ensures the rights of national minorities in the Republic of Serbia with a special focus on the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, and paid much attention to the activities undertaken by the provincial administration in various fields to improve the position and preserve the identity of national minorities in this region. His presentation sparked brief discussions on several occasions.
Sunday, June 13, 2021
The final day of the Danube School was opened by Dr. Ivana Ivanić with an excellent presentation „Romanians in the Danube region – historical, social and cultural aspects.“ In her presentation, Dr. Ivanić presented the history, culture and language of the Romanian people, as well as some problems that Romanians face today. Particularly intriguing and provocative were the parts of the presentation that refer to the Vlachs on the territory of the Republic of Serbia. It was this topic that raised the most questions and led to a short discussion. The participants reacted very positively to the videos that presented present-day Romania and its cultural heritage, as well as those that showed various Vlach customs in eastern parts of Serbia.
The last lecture was given by Ms. Milena Gostović, who presented the subject „In search of identities – the Serbs and the Albanians in the province of Kosovo.“ The participants were acquainted with the historical perspective of the relations between the Serbs and the Albanians in this area, which was especially interesting from the perspective of today’s relations between these two peoples and numerous unresolved issues that still exist between them.
After the last presentation, the participants were briefly addressed by Mr. Aleksandar Stevanović, who thanked the participants on behalf of the Danube Area Research Center for their participation and expressed his hope that despite numerous limiting factors, the goals and ideas of this year’s school were achieved. After that, Ms. Sanja Jugović handed out certificates to the participants, which officially ended the program of the Danube School of National Minorities in 2021.