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Conference “Ukraine – The Day After the War: Lessons from the Western Balkans”

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On November 30, 2023, a conference titled “Ukraine – The Day After the War: Lessons from the Western Balkans” was held at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation premises in Belgrade and via online platforms. The event was organized by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and RESECO, with the support of numerous experts from various fields.

The conference commenced with introductory remarks by Jakov Devčić, Director of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation for Serbia and Montenegro, and Stefan Surlić, Executive Director of RESECO. The event was moderated by Marko Subotić, editor at Euronews in Belgrade.

The first part of the conference was dedicated to the theme “Ukraine – Political Education for Overcoming the Conflict-Afflicted Past.” The discussion revolved around the importance of addressing various narratives that emerged during the war and how political education can aid in confronting the past and reconciliation. Oksana Odnoral from the Institute for Political Education, Ukraine, and Prof. Dr. Dejan Jović from the University of Zagreb and the University of Belgrade, specifically highlighted the need for integrating war victims into post-conflict society.

Inna Penchuk, a journalist from Zaporizhzhia, shared her perspective on the need for political education through the lens of media reporting and the role of media in shaping narratives during and after the conflict. Vladimir Jovanović, an advisor on transitional justice, emphasized the importance of justice and fairness in the post-conflict period, as well as the necessity for integrating transitional justice into political education.

The second part of the conference focused on “The Role of International Presence in Peacebuilding.” Prof. Dr. Volodymyr Dubovyk, associate professor at the Department of International Relations, Mechnikov National University in Odesa, Ukraine, and Mykhailo Pashkov, co-director of the Foreign Relations and International Security Program at the Razumkov Centre, Ukraine, spoke about potential peacebuilding strategies and applicable experiences from the Western Balkans.

Additionally, Prof. Dr. Nermina Mujagić from the University of Sarajevo and Prof. Dr. Nemanja Džuverović from the University of Belgrade presented various peace strategies and Balkan experiences in post-conflict reconstruction. Their contributions provided deeper insights into the complexity of the peacebuilding process, underscoring the importance of local participation and international support in creating a stable and inclusive society.

This conference underscored the significance of international cooperation and support in building lasting peace and reconstructing post-conflict societies. Discussions revealed that sharing experiences and expertise is crucial for understanding the complex challenges faced by societies in the post-conflict period.

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