Region: Kosovo

The mutual benefits of academic partnerships between Serbia and Kosovo

front cover of the academic fellowship booklet

Peaceful Change initiative (PCi) – through the UK government funded project Amplifying Local Voices for Equitable Development (ALVED) – has focused on enhancing cooperation between scholars and researchers in Kosovo and Serbia on contemporary social, political, and economic topics. This initiative emphasizes the importance of academic partnerships and exchanges in knowledge production, collaborative research, and fostering mutual understanding, particularly in the context of peacebuilding.

The first phase of cooperation resulted in a comprehensive piece of research into the state of civil society in Kosovo and Serbia, undertaken jointly by the Universities of Pristina and Belgrade, entitled ‘The Landscape of Cross-Community Initiatives in Kosovo and South Serbia’. This research examines the state of civil society, the place of informal civic activism, and patterns of and prospects for cross-community initiatives in Kosovo and south Serbia, looking at the structure constraints and enabling factors behind the observed phenomena.

To consolidate such cooperation, PCi supported an academic fellowships program involving academic staff and PhD students from the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Prishtina, and the Faculty of Political Science, University of Belgrade. Academics were provided with stipends to support their individual research endeavours, whilst simultaneously integrating them into the faculties of the host institutions. The resulting research projects cover diverse topics such as gender and diversity, political representation, religion and identity, university reform, and civil society.

This fellowship resulted in the following research projects, further details about which are available by clicking here.

  1. Dr. Vjollca Krasniqi explored the engagement of universities in Southeast Europe with public issues, emphasizing the ‘third mission’ of universities regarding teaching, knowledge production, and social responsibility. The study investigated how universities respond to socio-economic challenges in order to identify best practices for community collaboration and knowledge co-creation.
  2. Dr. Jelena Lončar focused on gender-sensitive reforms in the Kosovo parliament. The research analyzed the processes and effects of gender-sensitive reforms, exploring critical actors, points of resistance, and incentives for change. The study contributes to the understanding of gender-sensitive parliamentary practices, especially in post-conflict societies like Kosovo.
  3. Dr. Nađa Bobičić compared leftist perspectives in Kosovo and Serbia from a feminist and queer standpoint by delving into how gender studies researchers and feminists define the ‘left’. The research also explored the praxis of civil society organizations, particularly in relation to care work, queer issues, and intergenerational feminism.
  4. Dr. Stefan Surlić examined the role of civil society organizations in Kosovo, particularly those representing the Serb community. The study argued that these organizations contribute to genuine citizen integration by promoting policies benefiting minority groups, whilst highlighting the challenges and resistance faced by civil society organizations in their efforts to engage with the Prishtina authorities.
  5. Lirije Palushi addressed gender and higher education in Kosovo and Serbia, investigating the representation of women academics. The study explored challenges women face in academia, examining qualitative and quantitative data to identify similarities and differences in the two societies.
  6. Dr. Marko Veković explored the intersection of religion and politics in post-conflict Kosovo, investigating how religious institutions and values influence politics and society, addressing questions about the impact of religion on political attitudes and preferences. The study combined survey data and interviews with clergy members to provide a comprehensive understanding of the role of religion in post-conflict Kosovo.

The latest iteration of cooperation focused on ensuring the respective universities are equipped with the skills and knowledge to thrive in a changing academic world. Through a collaboration with University College London’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies, academics from Belgrade and Pristina shared perspectives on a multitude of topics pertaining to knowledge production and management, with a view to strengthening their administrative structures to better equip them to confront the challenges facing academia in the contemporary age.

These various dimensions of partnership serve as a model for other forms of academic partnerships and collaborative research, especially in contexts where pre-existing relationships have been ruptured by war and issues arising from status disputes. By normalizing such forms of cooperation, the respective Universities are creating a precedent for other academic actors to establish partnerships that benefit not only individual researchers, but their respective institutions more broadly. Contemporary academia is grounded upon partnership and collaboration, without which institutions cannot compete for students and funding. Academia cannot exist in isolation.  

Open event: media partnerships as a catalyst for peacebuilding

Watch a recording of our online panel discussion on how international support help independent media achieve a greater impact on democratisation, inter-communal relationships and peacebuilding.

Peaceful Change initiative hosted a virtual discussion to present our latest case study: Strengthening media as a stakeholder in peacebuilding, showcasing our experience in fostering collaboration among media organizations in Kosovo.

The study – conducted as part of the Amplifying Local Voices for Equitable Development (ALVED) project, funded by the UK government – offers insights into the role of international support in enhancing the impact of independent media on democratization, inter-communal relationships, and peacebuilding.

The presentation explored the rational for pursuing media partnerships, with respect to reducing segmentation of the media space, overcoming resource limitations, providing alternative approaches to content generation, and understanding shared audience interests. It also explored the evolution of partnerships, a reflection on the shared interests of the respective partners, the challenges of forging integrated partnerships, and an understanding of the shortcomings of such approaches.

A subsequent discussion analysed whether media partnerships are a viable means of supporting the development of independent media in the Western Balkans, and how they can better complement existing initiatives in this area. The discussion also focused on how such partnerships be harnessed to tackle more sensitive and contentious issues, especially where cross-community issues are concerned.

The case study, which delves deeper into these findings, is available for download from the following link: Strengthening media as a stakeholder in peacebuilding.

Date & Time: Jan 30, 2024 10:00 AM (GMT)

Location: Zoom meeting


Introduction by Richard Le Vay, Head of Internal Politics and Communications, UK Embassy in Kosovo.

Speakers:

  • Ian Bancroft, Project Manager for the Western Balkans, Peaceful Change initiative
  • Darko Dimitrijević, Radio Goraždevac
  • Luljeta Gjonbalaj, USAID
  • Ariana Caka, EU Office

Moderated by Nenad Sebek, Senior Adviser for the Western Balkans, Peaceful Change initiative

For further enquiries, please contact Ian Bancroft – ian.bancroft@peacefulchange.org. If you would like to receive email updates about our upcoming publications in the Learning from peacebuilding in Kosovo and Serbia series, please sign up to our mailing list on this link.

Case study: citizenship, integration, and the census in south Serbia

Billboard in village Turija, Bujanovac, encouraging people to register together with their families.

This case study analyses support given by Peaceful Change initiative to an alliance of civil society organisations based in the south of Serbia who led an intervention aiming to increase the participation of the country’s Albanian minority in the 2022 census in south Serbia.

It provides context for this intervention within a larger vision for peacebuilding in Kosovo and Serbia and describes the specific areas in which it sought to achieve change. It also analyses the post-census social and political conditions in order to draw conclusions on its broader impact on relations among individuals, institutions, and communities.

The study presents the learning produced by the consortium of civil society organisations with regard to key factors for the future success of such exercises. In addition, the case study highlights lessons for similar interventions in the region, and specifically for the future census in Kosovo, originally planned for 2023.

Read the case study now:

English

Srpski (Serbian)

Shqip (Albanian)

The work described in the case study was part of the project Amplifying Local Voices for Equitable Development (ALVED), funded by the UK Government’s Conflict, Security and Stability Fund.

Principles of working towards normalisation between Kosovo and Serbia

Peaceful Change initiative hereby presents a set of principles on working towards the normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia, developed and endorsed by a range of civil society organisations. These principles constitute a commitment to explore joint approaches that go beyond the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue to contribute to sustainable peace in Kosovo, Serbia, and the entire Western Balkans.

These principles are designed to enhance the contribution of civil society to normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia. In the spirit of fully-fledged normalisation, we the undersigned undertake to:

  1. Broaden debate about the normalisation of relations beyond the EU-facilitated dialogue to incorporate issues that, if left unattended, will negatively impact future relations, including transitional justice, education, and people-to-people cooperation.
  2. Develop consultative mechanisms to ensure joint statements are prepared through broad consultation, including with the affected communities, to ensure they are based on complete, timely, and accurate information. Such a process will examine elements such as:
    • Motivation – why is a particular statement being issued at this juncture?
    • Framing – how is the motivation for a statement presented to the audience in question?
    • Content – which areas have the statement failed to take into consideration, especially where minority communities are concerned?
    • Language – does the use of particular words or terminology needlessly antagonize relations between communities?
  3. Maintain open channels of communication – including with central and local institutions – to provide perspectives from different communities, including consultative briefings on specific issues, thereby enhancing the quality of debates about issues related to the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia.
  4. Present human-centred perspectives on the impacts of the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, both positive and negative, with a focus on the unintended or unforeseen consequences of implementation on daily life.
  5. React to issues of common concern about civil society in Kosovo and Serbia (such as SLAPPs, media targeting, GONGOs, and donor funding etc.), to create a more conducive environment for civic engagement.
  6. Engage in joint and coordinated advocacy vis-à-vis central and local governments, plus the international community, to promote tangible steps that could contribute to the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia.
  7. Jointly commend and criticise steps taken by central and local governments, plus the international community, that impact positively or negatively the normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia.
  8. Adopt positions that encourage our communities to take proactive steps that contribute to normalising relations between Kosovo and Serbia, especially where questions of integration and cooperation are concerned.
  9. Pursue initiatives to uphold the rights of the most vulnerable members of society, regardless of which community they belong to, including reacting to instances of hate speech that negatively impact inter-community relations such as the denial of war crimes, glorification of war criminals, and ethnic slurs.
  10. Raise the visibility of civil society’s contribution to the normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia by promoting one another’s initiatives, in particular positive stories of cooperation and people-to-people exchanges.

Each of these commitments is underpinned by a human rights-based principle that we will act based on what is right, not because we expect or demand a reciprocal response from others. In addition, we acknowledge the risks that civil society actors take when speaking out in public and will continue to be attentive to the context in which civil society operates.

Endorsed by:

  1. Aktiv
  2. Artpolis – Art and Community Center
  3. Belgrade Center for Security Policy (BCSP)
  4. Center for Peace and Tolerance (CPT)
  5. Community Building Mitrovica
  6. Foundation Heartefact Fund
  7. Institute for Public Research (IJI)
  8. Kosovar Centre for Security Studies (KCSS)
  9. Kosovo Law Institute (KLI)
  10. Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights (YUCOM)
  11. Local Peace
  12. Livrit
  13. Musine Kokalari Institute for Social Policies
  14. Naš Svet, Naša Pravila (‘Our World, Our Rules’), Vranje
  15. New Social Initiative (NSI)
  16. Professor Vjollca Krasniqi, University of Prishtina
  17. Rahim Salihi, Civil Society Activist, Bujanovac
  18. Reconciliation Empowering Communities (REC), Mitrovica
  19. Voice of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians (VoRAE)
  20. Youth Initiative for Human Rights – Serbia
  21. Youth Initiative for Human Rights – Kosovo

Peaceful Change initiative – as part of the UK government funded project, Amplifying Local Voices for Equitable Development (ALVED) – has been regularly convening civic actors from Kosovo and Serbia to improve the environment for normalisation. For further information, please contact Ian Bancroft (Ian.bancroft@peacefulchange.org)

Case study: strengthening media as a stakeholder in peacebuilding

This case study describes PCi’s experience of convening a partnership among media organisations working in the Kosovo informational space; a partnership created with a view to drawing out lessons for the ways in which international support can help independent media achieve a greater impact on democratisation, inter-communal relationships and peacebuilding.

The study, which analyses work carried out by Peaceful Change initiative as part of the Amplifying Local Voices for Equitable Development (ALVED), concludes the following:

  • Independent media in Kosovo have a natural inclination to seek out partnerships, including those that transcend the conflict divide. Such collaborations should be encouraged and supported, but they should look beyond the symbolism of cross-conflict cooperation and focus on the added value that different media can bring to each other’s core business.
  • For partnerships to succeed and achieve some form of sustainability, at least one partner should have a clear idea of the value that they seek to gain from the cooperation, beyond the symbolism of developing broader networks.
  • Professional media consider development projects as being of interest to their readership and are prepared to devote resources to cover them. Development projects should view independent media, and especially local media, as partners in achieving their social change objectives – and should support their development in ways that allows them to maintain their independence.
  • Direct support for media in Kosovo should make allowances for the language gap within the country, allocating resources that allow media to work in both Serbian and Albanian in the interest of building more of a unitary informational space. Concurrently, investments should continue to be made to support multilingualism and language rights.
  • Partnership-focused projects should be designed with a view to strengthening authentic drivers of cooperation. To a great extent, this may mean applying monitoring systems that prioritise process over output – especially at the early stages of cooperation. Close monitoring could allow later-stage projects to draw attention to where opportunities to improve output are being overlooked.
  • Cooperation that is rooted in mutual organisational interests can provide the basis for sustainable collaboration and the transformation of relationships on an individual basis. This does not, however, translate into broader transformations in ways of working. Despite the sense of mutual reward from the partnership, the participants applied conflict-avoidance strategies regarding content that was sensitive for their audiences. Investment in partnerships should be long-term; this would allow partnerships to build resilience and let them apply specific strategies for transcending discourses on sensitive topics.

The case study is available to download and read below:

Read the case study

The work described in the case study was part of the project Amplifying Local Voices for Equitable Development (ALVED), funded by the UK Government’s Conflict, Security and Stability Fund.

Analysis of cooperation in the fight against human trafficking and gender-based violence

This publication looks at cooperation in the fight against human trafficking and gender-based violence, and makes recommendations for local authorities on the adoption of best practices. The paper focuses on collaboration between four neighbouring municipalities – two in Kosovo, two in Serbia – which are on key migration and smuggling routes. It also looks at the significance of the Western Balkans in terms of migration patterns and the role of the municipalities as transit zones.

This policy paper aims to explain and compare the legal systems in Kosovo and Serbia and addresses the existing gaps in cooperation between institutions in Kosovo and Serbia. This document also explores the complexity of gender-based violence and the legal challenges associated with tackling the problems of domestic violence.

This analysis was published by the Center for Peace and Tolerance Pristina with the support of Peaceful Change Initiative.

The policy paper is available to download and read below:

Research on the shared challenges faced by Serbian communities in northern Kosovo and Albanian communities in south Serbia

This report looks at the shared challenges faced by Serbian communities in northern Kosovo and Albanian communities in south Serbia, and sets out recommendations for local and central governments, the international community, as well as media and civil society.

The research was undertaken as part of the project “From Shared Challenges to Shared Solutions”, which was jointly implemented by the Centre for Democracy and Education – Lugina from Bujanovac and the NGO AKTIV from North Mitrovica, with support from PCi. The report sets out a comparative analysis on the position of Serbian communities in the four northern municipalities of Kosovo and Albanian communitites in Preševo Valley in south Serbia.

Both groups occupy a unique territorial, social, cultural, and political space in that while they are minorities in Kosovo and Serbia respectively, they constitute a majority or near-majority in the regions covered by this research. Nevertheless, they both face a specific set of barriers and challenges when it comes to their relationship with local and central governments, as well freedom of movement, youth perspectives and use of language.

The research results indicate that these two communities share very similar daily problems – unemployment, economic instability, migration, and mistrust in institutions. The research showed that non-recognition of diplomas obtained in Kosovo is the biggest problem for Albanians from the south of Serbia, while the vast majority of Serbs from Kosovo stated security as the main problem, while both communities are dissatisfied with the level of institutional response to their needs.

Taking into due consideration shared concerns and problems, the main conclusion is that it would be beneficial to establish stronger connections between the Albanian community from the south of Serbia and the Serbian community from the north of Kosovo, with the aim of establishing channels of collaboration and information exchange, as well as increasing the level of understanding between them.

The research is available to download here:

Partnerships with purpose: media in Kosovo and Serbia

Two media professionals talking

A two year series of Media Consultation Dialogues (MCD) convened by Peaceful Change initiative (PCi) identified several areas of common need in the media spaces of Kosovo and Serbia. Profound and fundamental challenges like the difficult financial environment and lack of resources cannot be addressed overnight. There are, however, steps doable immediately to make existing resources go further and to equip media with the requisite skills for the contemporary media environment.

These include:

  1. Partnership-driven approaches
  2. Building trust through self-regulation
  3. Developing new capabilities
  4. Speaking with a common voice

A partnership-driven approach

The reality facing media outlets in Kosovo, Serbia, and elsewhere in the Western Balkans necessitates a partnership-driven approach that dilutes some of fundamental challenges they face in terms of limited resources. Cooperation between journalists and media outlets in Kosovo and Serbia is, however, not a common practice. Aside from sporadic contacts (typically at media-focused events), there is no systematic approach to building mutually beneficial and sustained partnerships.

The purpose of such partnerships is threefold, namely to:

  1. Broaden coverage – more issues covered;
  2. Deepen coverage – more perspectives and sources incorporated;
  3. Extending reach – more platforms over a wider geographical and first-language area reproducing the content.

There are various models and strategies for how such partnerships can be pursued. It could involve the exchanges of audio, video or written materials or staff, or it could be the joint production or sharing of content. Whilst there are positive examples of such partnership, they are often ad hoc and dependent upon personal ties between media editors/management. They also tend to focus upon political developments as opposed to human-centred stories.[1]

To illustrate how such partnerships could be structured, consider the following:

  1. Sharing of content, especially video/audio material and photographs;
  2. Joint productions, especially for complex multimedia feature stories;
  3. Information exchanges, especially in crisis situations;
  4. Joint fact checking of data and stories.

There are several other areas in which such systematic cooperation can be developed, including but not limited to:

  1. Exchanges and/or hosting of journalists;
  2. Fellowships – similar to writers in residence programmes;
  3. Internship and job shadowing programs for journalists;
  4. Joint efforts to identify ‘fake news” and external influences (Disinformation Alert System).

Building trust through self-regulation

The print (and some online portals) media in Kosovo and Serbia fall under the auspices of the Press Councils, which are self-regulatory bodies working under ethical codes and professional guidelines grounded in EU standards. The Press Councils of Serbia and Kosovo are both incorporated into the European Press Councils’ Associations, but they do not cooperate directly. Given the issues pertaining to hate speech and prejudicial reporting in Kosovo and Serbia, systematic co-operation between the two could have a transformative effect on relations.

Such co-operation could include:

  1. Periodic meetings to learn about each other’s work and context;
  2. Provision of materials such as ethnical codes in Serbian and Albanian;
  3. Exchange of know-how, experiences and resources;
  4. Establishing a Joint Complaints Committee meetings regarding violation of the codes. It would be  hosted by the Serbian Press Council if the violation is in the Serbian media and vice versa;
  5. Joint reactions and public support, particularly where complaints have been upheld, thereby building trust in the process;
  6. Joint events for journalists targeting hate speech, disinformation etc..

Developing new capabilities

The media environment is rapidly changing. There are emerging threats, particularly with respect to disinformation, but also novel opportunities. Contemporary journalism arguably requires new skills, particularly those pertaining to OSINT, social media, and data analytics. The possibilities for professional development are, however, limited. Journalists lack the time and resources to build strengthen their capacities, whilst media outlets are limited in their ability to invest in human capital.   

To remain relevant in a contemporary age, journalists and media outlets must create user friendly resources – grounded in lived experience – which can help guide their peers in their day-to-day jobs. Such resources would ideally be developed in conjunction with the respective journalistic associations and academic institutions.  

There are also generational gaps which need to be bridged. Whilst older generations of journalists were trained in a different context, where there was arguably a greater awareness of and familiarity with questions of ethno-national diversity, younger generations of journalists have grown up in a somewhat different context. This latter group, however, is more attune with other forms of diversity and new trends in the media. By providing opportunities for networking and other forms of collaboration, journalists from various backgrounds can enhance their understanding of and enjoy greater access to a particular community.

Speaking with a common voice

Almost every single professional media in both Serbia and Kosovo is struggling to survive. Due to shrinking sums and changing donor priorities, many professional media are registered as Civil Society Organisations to improve their eligibility. Other professional media have opened their own NGOs which can apply for funding. Calls for proposals tend to be extremely complicated, often to the extent that small media lack the capacity to apply or fulfil the requirements.

Raising awareness within the donor community about such issues will require that media in Kosovo, Serbia and the Western Balkans engage in joint advocacy. By speaking with a common voice, media outlets can send a powerful and constructive message about their specific needs. Such advocacy would also focus on the means of dispersal, including how to get beyond the classic intermediary model that means that much funding doesn’t go directly to the beneficiaries.  

Such joint advocacy would also reinforce the importance of media freedom conditionality on the road to EU accession. It would focus upon questions of financial and ownership transparency within the media scenes of Kosovo and Serbia, whilst underscoring the importance of the safety of journalists and their ability to operate in a context free from political interference.  Furthermore, it would underscore the vital role the media plays in underpinning democracy and the rule of law. By drawing attention to specific issues, a free media is an essential part of accountability and transparency, whilst relaying the concerns and needs of citizens.

Clarification

All the ideas contained within this paper were generated during the Media Consultation Dialogues conducted by PCi, plus subsequent consultations with particular participants. The purpose of this paper is to stimulate further discussion about the approaches contained within, with PCi on hand to facilitate the development of specific proposals.

For further enquiries, please contact  anthony.foreman@peacefulchange.org    


[1] In every one of the eight MCDs, the lack of such stories has popped up as something sorely missing from the media in both Kosovo and Serbia. Based on ideas launched in the MCDs, PCi introduced a special award for such media content and gave an annual award for two consecutive years. 

Women in media report: Serbia and Kosovo

Cover image women in media report

PCi’s Western Balkans project “Amplifying local voices for equitable development” – ALVED, hosted a series of Media Consultation Dialogues which brought together media professionals from Serbia and Kosovo to discuss and reflect on challenges and opportunities to improve the media scene, reduce divisive narratives, and increase cooperation between journalists and media across the ethnic divide. The Dialogues included topics such as the work of media regulatory bodies; the importance of local media; independent media sustainability; what are the roots and causes of divisive narratives and why is there a lack of empathy for “the other”.

One of the Media Consultation Dialogues focused on “Women in the Newsroom” and looked at the positioning of women in media and the level of (in)equality with their male colleagues and the ways this affects the way that women are represented in the media. A comprehensive questionnaire was sent out to close to a thousand media professionals in both Kosovo and Serbia and PCi is proud to present the results of this study together with a set of recommendations on how these worrying findings can be addressed.

In 2023 it is utterly unacceptable to find out that one in three women working in Serbian media and one in four in Kosovar media have been victims of sexual harassment. Or that around close to 30% of women working in Kosovar and Serbian media have been discriminated due to their age or appearance. The fact that seven out of ten women are considering changing jobs and professions is certainly not a result of a satisfactory status of women in Kosovar and Serbian media.

The comprehensive Report Survey can be accessed below:

Serbia report in Serbian language

Serbia report in Albanian language

Serbia report in English language

Kosovo report in Albanian language

Kosovo report in Serbian language

Kosovo report in English language

Renewing commitments to the cause of peace

renewing commitments to peace

Civil society organisations in Kosovo and Serbia reiterated their commitment to actively working towards the normalisation of relations throughout the entire region. They call for the building of ties in accordance with the terms and spirit of Article 6 of the recent roadmap on normalisation, through which the parties have agreed to deepen cooperation in a variety of areas.

The violent event of 24th September has had a profound effect on relations within and between Kosovo and Serbia, at a time when they had already been spiralling downwards. 

Divisive narratives – emanating from within politics, the media, and elsewhere – are fuelling tensions, especially between the very communities that endure the burden of conflict. 

Feelings of insecurity pervade communities in very distinct and profound ways. All are contending with the consequences as opposed to the causes of the crisis. Memories of the past are being recalled through the realities of the present. 

The costs of the crisis are more manifest than ever. Many are reported to have left already – or are planning to leave – not just from north Kosovo, but from across the region. 

In such a context, it is more important than ever that we endeavour to understand how different communities are experiencing the rapidly changing context in their daily lives. This is both to mitigate the negative impacts and to salvage the positives that persist, whilst restoring trust and building confidence. 

No development is possible when people feel insecure or uncertain about the future; when there are doubts and hesitations about what will happen tomorrow. We need to build firm foundations on which a prosperous future can be constructed. Whilst there will be doubts and hesitations about the futility of such a course, we firmly believe that there are few alternatives.           

In such moments, we feel it is imperative to reiterate our commitment to peace and to building a better future. We are dedicated to making Kosovo and Serbia the best possible places to live, especially for future generations.    

Armed resolution of conflicts must not be an alternative to dialogue, no matter how long it might take. We must listen to one another and develop joint initiatives to transform our society.

It is vital that people stand together to confront conflict-generating narratives whilst opening – and themselves remaining open to – new channels of communication and new sources of information. Regardless of the challenges and setbacks, we remain committed to this course.

We are civil society actors committed to actively working to normalise relations throughout the entire region. We call on authorities at all levels to support steps to build ties and cooperation within and between the people of Kosovo and Serbia, in accordance with the terms and spirit of the recent roadmap on normalisation – especially Article 6, through which the parties have agreed to deepen future cooperation in a variety of areas. We condemn all conflict-generating language, especially when it is targeted at those dedicated to building stronger ties between Serbia and Kosovo.

We undertake to do whatever is possible to restore trust – in each other, in our own institutions, and in our international partners.  We are committed to creating a better environment, a broader space, in which inter-communal relations can be enhanced for the benefit of all people in Serbia and Kosovo.

Signatories

  1. Aktiv
  2. Artpolis 
  3. Centre for Peace and Tolerance
  4. Community Building Mitrovica
  5. Foundation BFPE for a Responsible Society (BFPE)
  6. Foundation Heartefact Fund, Belgrade
  7. Gorazdevac Media Group
  8. Institute for Public Research – IJI, Gracanica
  9. Kosovo Law Institute
  10. Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights (YUCOM)
  11. Local Peace
  12. Livrit Creative Center
  13. New Perspektiva, Kosovo
  14. New Social Initiative (NSI), North Mitrovica
  15. Peer Educators Network – Pristina
  16. Rahim Salihi, Civil Society Activist, Bujanovac
  17. Vjollca Krasniqi, University of Prishtina
  18. Voice of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians in Kosovo
  19. Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Kosovo
  20. Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Serbia

Peaceful Change initiative – as part of the UK government funded project, Amplifying Local Voices for Equitable Development (ALVED) – has been regularly convening civic actors from Kosovo and Serbia to improve the environment for normalisation. For further information, please contact Ian Bancroft (Ian.bancroft@peacefulchange.org).