X ECPD International Conference
Reconciliation, Tolerance and Human Security in the Balkans
THE NEW BALKANS AND EUROPEAN UNION:
PEACE, DEVELOPMENT, INTEGRATION
Belgrade, City Hall, 24-25 October, 2014
The Tenth ECPD International Conference on Reconciliation, Tolerance and Human Security in the Balkans is this year as well thematically devoted to the mutual relationship between an objectively emerging “new” Balkans and the EU in its dynamic stage of development, marked by numerous internal controversies and external challenges. Maintaining stable peace, creating conditions for a balanced and versatile development and accelerating the integration processes on the whole continent based on the fundamental European values are carried out in volatile and uncertain circumstances which bring gradual, but also rapid shaping of the multi-polar future world.
In such a global and regional context and amid growing tensions recalling even the atmosphere of the Cold War, despite notable successes, there are growing concerns questioning the efficacy and utility of the actual reconciliation approach as a conflict prevention and peace-building mechanism. It has been noted that while reconciliation processes may lead to short-term cessation of violence, many of the long-term scars of conflict remain which allows deep divisions to persist. In some instances, the reconciliation processes have simply delayed the next wave of violence and failed to address the fundamental conflict drivers with a particular country.
At the moment which may for many reasons be considered historic, it is becoming ever more clear that debates and conclusions of the previous ECPD conferences vocally announced the present global and regional processes and anticipated their direction. They repeatedly warned of the necessity to overcome any individual or group interest-motivated narrow-mindedness, disintegration and closing in international political, economic and cultural relations in order to promote the fundamental ideas of ECPD since its foundation and which can only ensure moving ahead steadily towards the goals of peace, development and integration.
The Tenth ECPD International Conference should tackle these and other problems of the actual regional, European and global agenda with new ideas and courageous concrete proposals and initiatives. In that respect, the complex and multifaceted problematic of Global South will be thoroughly examined.
In that respect, this year’s Conference should focus on the problems and concretise debates among competent experts from the Balkans, Europe and worldwide in order to contribute, from the present crossroads of the international community, through argumentative critical views, to promoting positive and stopping negative political, economic and cultural processes in the Region and in broader European and global context. With that goal, changeable and partly worrying dynamics in the relations between the East and West should be acknowledged, whereas actual situation and prospects of the economic development should be realistically analysed, outlooks and paths for reconciliation should be re-examined in the regional situation which has been referred to as “post-conflict” for far too long. Furthermore, it is necessary to speak up openly of the weaknesses in the area of education which is ideologically burdened with ethnocentric myths and culture-centric dictates of exclusive nationalisms and to stand up for true pluralistic overcoming the model of unilateral “tolerance”, behind which dialectics of domination and subordination are hidden.
In line with the decision adopted at the last Conference, it would be especially important to open up boldly room for active and equal participation of the youth in the debate on the future of the Balkans and Europe, because it is primarily their future to which they are entitled and which they certainly wish to shape productively by their own ideas and abilities.