The accomplishments of the European Center for Peace and Development (ECPD) during its 25 years of activity - and its plans for the coming period - reflect its intellectual mission as set out in the founding acts of the ECPD. Its mission has remained unchanged: to contribute to peace and development in Europe as the area of the ECPD’s activities, and to international cooperation in the transfer of knowledge, by organizing international postgraduate studies (at the specialist, master’s and doctoral levels) and postgraduate professional training and specialization (postgraduate schools, specialist seminars, instructive and other courses) and research in the relevant scientific fields. The ECPD’s guiding principle has always been: through peace to development, through development to peace.
The ECPD has always operated primarily in Europe, at first in its south-eastern part, with an orientation towards the post-socialist countries that is, countries in transition. Nonetheless, in keeping with its program policy, it has increasingly been open for cooperation with the rest of the world.
The basic premise, upon which the ECPD has based its program orientation and strategy, has been that development under conditions of peace is only possible when conceived as human development.
It is undoubtedly true that a widening gap between developed and developing countries is causing internal and international tension and conflict, thus threatening peace in the world. But it is also true that the development of countries cannot be measured solely by the per capita growth of national income. If we want a stable world peace, we must strive towards human development by means of constant advance in the quality of human life. Education and, more generally, the diffusion of knowledge are the prerequisites for such qualitative improvement. In our view, the recent past, characterized by growing globalization of “good” and “bad” in the world is clear proof that the ECPD has chosen a topical and relevant strategy for its program orientation.
The improvement of the quality of life is achievable by taking a holistic approach to the solution of problems.
The European Center for Peace and Development has chosen an interdisciplinary approach by implementing the following seven, closely inter-connected and inter-linked programs:
· Development of human resources;
· Development of natural resources;
· Economic development;
· Scientific and technological development;
· Sustainable development;
· Cultural development;
The work program of the European Center for Peace and Development is based on a synergistic and multidisciplinary approach. Its studies are directed towards finding timely and effective solutions for acute and chronic problems of development and the quality of life in the specific regions of Europe, particularly in its south-eastern region.
The ECPD pays special attention to bringing together the intellectual potentials of the West and the East, as well as to strengthening relations and cooperation between the North and the South. In this connection, the ECPD organizes and conducts the following activities:
· Postgraduate specialist, master’s and doctoral studies;
· Research projects and studies on the current questions of peace and development;
· Scientific meetings, symposia, conferences, courses and seminars at which, among other things, the results of research are presented;
· Publishes, prints and distributes the proceedings of scientific meetings, studies, and other scientific works of relevance to the ECPD’s activities.
The ECPD programs are inspired by the highest standards of international achievements, academic knowledge and experience. Through its programs the ECPD has provided a professional groundwork for the establishment of relations between market economies and economies in transition, for the purpose of narrowing and finally closing the development gap and for promoting better understanding and tolerance between states and peoples in the interests of peace, development and democracy. As an international non-profit organization, the ECPD enjoys full academic freedom necessary for the attainment of its stated aims, especially with regard to the choice of subjects and methods of research for the purpose of peace and the diffusion of knowledge and development.
In the period under review the ECPD Program was based on a synergistic and multidisciplinary approach to post-graduate studies and post-graduate professional training and specialization and research in science. This approach has been used in its expert and pedagogical activity, as a contribution towards building stable peace and human development in Europe, particularly in its south-eastern region.
The ECPD could not have followed this approach, for the realization of its programs had it not succeeded in bringing together the intellectual forces of East and West, of North and South, despite the unfavourable circumstances in which it has often had to operate (the break-up of the ECPD host country, the wars in the region of the former Yugoslavia, the sanctions and blockades imposed by the international community). Yet the ECPD has succeeded despite all these circumstances, thanks to the fact that it has consistently adhered to the principle of full academic freedom and autonomy as an educational and scientific international organization.
Therefore, it makes me proud to state that ECPD achieved remarkable results in the past period: it carried out more than 2500 projects, including the programs of post-graduate education and research projects and studies, international scientific meetings, specialized courses and seminars, publishing of books and other publications. It is quite certain that this could not be done without the support of numerous governmental and non-governmental, national and international organizations, scientists and public figures from a great number of European and other countries, including the United States, Japan, China, India and others.
What the EPCD has so far achieved in these circumstances - including the principle of self-financing - is a guarantee for the future successful work of the ECPD.
The results of the ECPD’s operations, whether judged by the number of projects realized or by their content and international character, could not have been achieved without support and help from numerous international, regional and national governmental and non-governmental organizations and individuals.
In the coming period, relying on its experience and new possibilities, the ECPD will continue to devote special attention to bringing together the intellectual potential of the East and the West, the North and the South, as well as to advancing its cooperation with national and international organizations, academic and other research institutions with a purpose to contributing to the promotion of peace and development in the region of South-Eastern Europe and its neighbourhood.
Prof. Dr Negoslav P. Ostojić