Within the project Democratization and Reconciliation in the Western Balkans, European Movement in Serbia organized an International Summer SchoolEngagement for Friendship: Changing Political Culture in the Balkans, which took place in Belgrade, June 30 to July 7, 2019.

The Summer School focused on the role of friendship in fostering ethnic reconciliation in the region, and its aim was to challenge the current hostile perception in the region by unearthing positive stories about examples of friendship and cooperation, excluded from public discourse. We aimed to show that beyond the hostilities between the Balkan nations, there resides a plethora of common undertakings and experiences which can lead to friendlier relations between the nations.

Our goal was to establish a cooperative network of younger researchers, civil society activists and students, and empower them to combat present hostility on a long term basis.

The school gathered youth, primarily college students and CSO activists, interested in reconciliation and promoting friendship. Overall, it involved 24 participants – 4 from Albania, 6 from Bosnia-Herzegovina, 5 from Italy, 6 from Serbia, 2 from Montenegro and 1 from Germany. The participants were mostly BA and MA students, with additional 2 being secondary school students. They benefited from the presentations given by 13 international lecturers – 11 from partner institutions and 2 guest lecturers.

Participants received their certificates of attendance during the ceremony.