Category Archives: News

School of Interculturalism

Within our second School of Interculturalism, in the period from 24 January to 16 February 2019, we will hold three three-day workshops in Niš, Novi Pazar and Bor. The topic that will be dealt with is Violent Extremism among Young People.

Young attendees of the School from these three cities will have the opportunity to hear, among other things, introductory lectures: Conflicts – Raising Critical Awareness, Extremism and Mainstream Politics, Forms of Extremism in Serbia, WE and THEY- Migrant Crisis, WE and THEY- Islamophobia and Hijab, WE and THEY – The Temerin Case, Extremism – the Theoretical Definition and Examples, The Relation of Politicians from Serbia’s Political Life to the far Right from 1990 to the Present, The Sport fan’s Right-Wing Extremism as the most Dangerous form of Extremism in Serbia, Antigypsyism, Extremism Directed against the Roma Population, My Neighbors – Religious Minorities in Serbia, My Neighbors – Religious Identity in Preserving the National Identity, My Neighbors – Unprivileged at Strike.

The lecturers are Vladimir Ilić, Jovo Bakić, Osman Balić, Draško Đenović, Aleksandra Marković.

The workshops will be organized as part of the project Do not count on me! Combating Violent Extremism through Intercultural Youth Education, with the support of the OSCE Mission to Serbia.

The Cooperation Agreement with the Provincial Protector of Citizens – Ombudsman was signed

The Provincial Protector of Citizens – Ombudsman and the Center for the Development of Civil Society (CDCS) signed a Cooperation Agreement yesterday in Novi Sad. Both sides – the signatories of the Agreement – expressed their mutual respect and trust in the area of protection of human and minority rights. The agreement envisages cooperation through joint research, educational and publishing activities.

The cooperation agreement was signed by Prof. Dr. Zoran Pavlović, Provincial Protector of Citizens – Ombudsman and Snežana Ilić, MSc, Executive Director of CDCS.

Councils for Interethnic Relations and Minority Rights in the Local Community

A round table entitled Councils for Interethnic Relations and Minority Rights in the Local Community, which brought together representatives of five Vojvodina Councils of different levels of functioning, was held on 18 October, 2018 in Kaštel Ečka. In addition to the members of the Councils for Interethnic Relations of the municipalities of Bački Petrovac, Bačka Topola, Temerin, Zrenjanin and Žitište, in the debate also participated Vlado Radulović (Office for Human and Minority Rights), Dragan Vujkov (The Protector of Citizens Office) as speakers, Janoš Oros (Provincial Protector of Citizens – Ombudsman) and local ombudsmen of the municipality of Bačka Topola and Žitište. The emphasis of the introductory speech of Vlado Radulović was put on the Councils in the context of EU integration, specifically on the reporting on the implementation of the Action Plan for Minorities. Dragana Vujkov, on the other hand, spoke about the Special Report on the Councils for Interethnic Relations (2017), by the Protector of Citizens, and recounted various reasons for the failure of this body.

During the several-hour long debate, the Councils from these five municipalities presented their experiences in the work and, as a major problem, after fourteen years from the beginning of the establishment of the CIRs, named the unclearness regarding the jurisdiction of these working bodies of the municipal assemblies. On what can and should be the scope of work of the Council, the introductory speakers and the moderator of the discussion, Snežana Ilić, cited a number of examples, starting from calling on citizens from minority communities to come to special elections for national councils on 4 November, 2018, to monitoring the realization of teaching the language of the social environment, which was introduced in the new curriculum in September 2018.

At the very end, it was agreed with the representatives of the five Councils to open up some of the issues in their local communities in accordance with the needs (increasing the visibility of the existence and work of the Councils, equal representation of members of national minorities in public institutions at the local level). Also, further cooperation and exchange of experience of these Councils has been agreed upon. All of this will be the subject of our interest during the visit to these Vojvodina municipalities in the next month.

The round table is a part of a wider project Community Voice on EU Integration – Encouraging the Dialogue between CSOs and local authorities on public policies, which the CDCS is implementing with the support of the Delegation of the European Union in Serbia and in partnership with the ‘Trag Foundation’.

saveti ucesnici

Study Happy tears – about the position of LGBT community in Serbia

The study before us was created as a result of exploring the attitudes of the audience of the (bilingual) play Víg könnyek násza/Happy tears of the wedding attendees in the performance of Tanya Szín Ház/Salaš Theater. The research team of the Center for the Development of Civil Society (CDCS) examined the attitudes of the audience before and after the performance about who is really threatened in Serbia today, whether homosexuality is a social danger, fashion or illness, if gay marriages should be allowed, whether a gay person is (non)desirable as a colleague and as a friend…

Vojvodinian School of Intercultural Studies

During the work of Vojvodinian School of Intercultural Studies (VSIS) organized at the Secondary School Lukijan Mušicki in Temerin on 16, 17, 23 and 24 March 2018, the following was revealed:

that young Serbs and Hungarians, pupils of the same school have never communicated before, even when they are in classrooms next to one another; language being the basic obstacle to communication, although the views are expressed that “they have nothing to look for in the other group”; they also do not have a common place to go out, they state that “they do not listen to the same music”

whereas with young Rusyns this is not the case, in their communities (Đurđevo, Novi Sad, Ruski Krstur), they communicate and socialize with youth of other nationalities

that all young people are religious, more precisely, they accept that with birth, they also gained religious affiliation as an important feature of their national identity

that young people from 18 years of age have no basic knowledge of human rights; this is most evident when the rights of sexual minorities are mentioned, but also when it comes to the rights of national minorities

that young Serbs see the Hungarians as superior rivals for future work, since, in Temerin, the knowledge of the Hungarian language is required for most jobs; that young Hungarians, on the other hand, do not know the Serbian language sufficiently

Through lectures and games on various topics, young people began to communicate for the first time and made jokes among the mixed groups formed for different games, ranging from extremely conservative to somewhat more liberal ones, showed great interest for the selected topics…

Jokes relaxed mutual relations, and project games led to the fact that students of different nationalities, for the first time, felt equal and non-discriminated. Namely, the young Serbs from Temerin tried to read in Hungarian, which caused the laughter of the participants of Hungarian nationality who were exposed to the constant forcing of the “state language” in their everyday experience. It can almost be said that VSIS participants are rare, young Serbs from Temerin who tried to use the Hungarian language. On the other hand, the encounter of the Hungarian students with the Ruthenian Cyrillic script not only deepened the knowledge of the Cyrillic alphabet, but also enabled them not to tie the Cyrillic alphabet only to the ethnic Serbs and, at least partly, Serbian ethnic character of the state of Serbia.

Some of the topics that were the subject of the presentations and games are: Interculturalism – Visible and Invisible Aspects of Culture, Multiple Identities, Human and Minority Rights, Conflicts – Raising Critical Consciousness, Extremism and its Forms, Playing the Role of Others, Building Heritage and Interculturality, Mapping Temerin and Novi Sad from Different Cultural Perspectives, Believers in Another Way, Interculturalism and Empathy.

Lecturers and trainers were: Dr Vladimir Ilić, Eva Vukašinović, Dr Jovo Bakić, Aleksandra Marković MA, Bojana Karavidić, Andrej Kubiček MA, Draško Đenović, Jesus’ little sister Elizabeta, Dr Aleksandra Bosnić-Đurić.

In addition to lectures and games, during these four days the young people visited the Museum of Vojvodina, the Evangelical Methodist Church and the Synagogue in Novi Sad as well as the Novi Sad Theater / Újvidéki Színház.

The Vojvodinian School of Intercultural Studies is being implemented with the support of the OSCE Mission to Belgrade

Some new tones in the process of Serbian – Hungarian reconciliation

Centre for Development of Civil Society (CDCS) noticed some, by no means, insignificant changes in this year’s marking of the anniversary of the killing of innocent Hungarian civilians during the liberation of Vojvodina in 1944.
Namely, like in the previous years in Vojvodina, the end of October and the beginning of November 2016, was marked by a public reminder of the civilians of Hungarian nationality, who were killed by Yugoslav partisans, after the liberation of Vojvodina from fascism, in 1944.
At various commemorations, in Čurug, Subotica, Temerin, Senta, Horgoš, Martonoš and elsewhere, speeches were given by the descendants of the slain civilians, Ambassador of Hungary Dr. Atila Pinter, president of the Assembly of Vojvodina Mr. Ištvan Pastor, the presidents of political parties, the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians and the Democratic Party of Vojvodina Hungarians, mayors, Roman Catholic and Calvinist priests, the president of Hungarian National Council, and others.
In organization of the Hungarian National Council the issue of the mass graves of the innocent Hungarian victims from 1944/1945 was released, which includes GPS-coordinates of the mass graves.
In Novi Sad, Mr. Bela Čorba, the president of the Democratic Party of Vojvodina Hungarians among other things said: “The people of Novi Sad during the Second World War and its aftermath could experience the sins of two terrible ideological misconceptions of the 20th century: fascism and communism: thousands of innocent have become victims of ideological fanaticism and national hatred. (…) The war was still in progress and in Eastern Europe winners over Nazism immediately repeated this inhumane practice and principle. Examples of this are the six death camps and many labor camps that were created by Tito’s forces and the calvary of interned Germans and Hungarians (among them citizens of Novi Sad). ”
The media in the Hungarian language conveyed the title from the commemoration from Adorjan: “killed by freshly mobilized Banat partisans.”>>>

The Delegation of European Union visited the CDCS

11.05.2015On Friday, the 8th of May, the representatives of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia, Luca Bianconi, the First Secretary and the Head of Political Section, and Gordana Arackić-Nikolić, Adviser for Human and Minority Rights of the Delegation, visited the CRCD. The topic of conversation was the position of ethnic and religious minorities in Serbia.

For many years CRCD has an exceptionally developed cooperation with the Delegation and since 2007 it provides regular contributions to the European Commission annual Progress Report for Serbia.

Press Conference The Western Balkan countries and the Visegrad Group: transparency in law-making

Center for Development of Civil Society (CDCS) organizes a press conference Western Balkan Countries and the Visegrad Group: transparency in law-making on Tuesday, April 29, 12:00 to 13:00, at the Media Center in Belgrade, Terazije 3.

The conference will discuss the (lack of) transparency of the legislative process in the region, the experiences of the countries of the Visegrad Group, as well as the role and contribution of civil society in the process of increasing legislative transparency. The conference proceedings Towards greater openness of the legislative process in the Western Balkans countries will be presented there.

The conference speakers are:

Zoltán Varga-Haszonits, Deputy Ambassador of Hungary

Ivana Ćirković, Director of the Office for Cooperation with Civil Society, Government of Republic of Serbia (confirmation expected)

Dr. Reményi Péter, Institute of Geostrategic Studies of Transnational Development, Hungary

Tamara Zrnović, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in the Republic of Srpska

Đorđije Brkuljan, Center for Democratic Transition, Montenegro

Snežana Ilić, Centre for Development of Civil Society, Serbia

Simultaneous translation is provided.>>>

Established Network for Interculturalism

08.04.2014On 4 and 5 April 2014, on the Fruska Gora, a two-day initiative meeting for the creation of a Network for Interculturalism was held which, to begin with, is comprised of six organizations: the Centre for the Study of Ethnicity, Centre for Development of Civil Society, Centre for Regionalism, DamaD, Centre for Democracy, Human Rights and Regional Cooperation and AGENDA.

The two-day initiative meeting on the Fruska Gora was supported by the TACSO Serbia, Technical Assistance to the organisations of civil society.

After establishing, the Network has released their first joint statement, which reads in full:

At the initiative meeting for the establishment of the Network for Interculturalism by six non-governmental organizations from different parts of Serbia, held on 4 and 5 April 2014 at the Fruska Gora, the following was emphasised – the need for dedicated work on the fundamental social changes that contribute to: the essential civil equality; approach to human rights without exclusion of any kind; promotion of dialogue; social justice and social cohesion.

Convinced that the implementation and protection of human rights, particularly the rights to work, education, health, the recognition of identity and free expression of individual characteristics and preferences are essential for the development of our society, non-governmental organizations, brought together around the idea of a society regulated in intercultural, civic principles, believe that the future government of the Republic of Serbia needs to restore operation of the Ministry of Human Rights, the department with full political and administrative responsibility for the implementation and protection of human rights. The establishment of such a department, taking into account the cost-effectiveness and rationality of the Government, would contribute to the efficiency of public administration in relation to the realization, protection and monitoring of human rights. >>>