The following excerpt taken from EMES - International Research Network , provides an insight:
Konstantina, PhD student from Vienna University of Economics and Business, explains that the paper is an update on her master thesis pursued during her studies on Southeastern European Studies at the University of Athens.
She clarifies her motives for a very unusual choice of countries: “Given the fact that I was looking also into the influence of international actors, I focused on the status/ relation of each country with the EU: A longtime member (Greece), a new member (Croatia) and a candidate country (Serbia). The interest in the region is also because the region is “in between” Austria and Greece, and has a very interesting interconnected past, presence and future as my involvement with The Balkan Forum teaches me every day.”
More concretely, besides the analysis and comparison of the legal and institutional frameworks in Croatia, Greece and Serbia, her paper focuses specifically on how international, European and national actors are shaping the development of social enterprises in these countries. The paper attempts to identify the stages of development, similarities, differences and challenges of this emerging sector.
Further she adds some observations about particularities and challenges of this region:“When we speak about the development of the sector, we often tend to take examples from countries and regions where access to financial and human capital are advanced and taken for granted in many ways. In the region, you can see the notion that this is not the case and that it takes cooperation, mindfulness with the use of resources and consciousness that different models are possible.”
As Konstantina says “The EMES research conference was my first international academic conference where I presented and therefore the honour of getting awarded was even more intense. As practitioners we are in between spaces like activism, policy, academia and we understand the significance that we create bridges so that understanding and knowledge from all of them are connected and thrive.”
Operations and Administration Intern.
Deadline for applications: 20 August 2017
Expected Start Date: 15 September 2017
The Trieste Summit will be an opportunity to discuss concrete avenues to strengthen regional cooperation and thus further advance the EU integration process of the Western Balkans
The 2017 Western Balkans Summit will take place on 12 July in Trieste, Italy. The Summit will serve as an important occasion to work together on strengthening concrete opportunities while fostering regional cooperation with the aim of developing inclusive societies, good governance and vibrant economies, hence also further advancing the European Union integration perspective of the region.
Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission, Johannes Hahn Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, and Violeta Bulc,Commissioner for Transport, will participate together with Heads of Government, Foreign Ministers, Ministers of Economy and Ministers of Transport of the Western Balkans and their counterparts from 6 EU Member States (Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, and Slovenia).
Discussions will focus on three key areas of regional cooperation: 1) Connectivity, 2) Regional economic integration/private sector development and 3) People-to-people contacts.
It is with great pleasure that we write to you to announce some exciting updates regarding the Balkan Forum.
First, we are pleased to announce that Astrit Istrefi has joined the Balkan Forum as its new executive director. His twenty years working in the civil society sector includes experience in development and conflict-related issues in the Western Balkans, Central Asia, South Caucasus, Afghanistan, and the United States, along with an interest in Turkey and Ukraine.
Second, the Balkan Forum has been registered in Kosovo as a non-profit organization focusing on the Balkan region and led by a committed and expert board that includes Mr. Aleksandar Dedović, Ms. Erisa Shoshi, Mr. Haris Pašović, Mr. Henry Smith, Ms. Konstantina Zoehrer, Ms. Marijana Toma, Ms. Marika Theros, and Mr. Rade Rajkovcevski.
Third, the Balkan Forum has been in the process of developing a digital platform that will work to identify experts from all sectors, explore the potential of regional collaboration, and celebrate the richness of diversity to tell the human stories of people living across the region, with the goal of enhancing debate and collaboration among communities, civil society, the private sector, and governments. The Balkan Forum has recently been equipped with human resource and technical capabilities—including equipment for recording and editing and space for virtual work to take place—and is developing applications that can be used on all devices that support iOS and Android operating systems. The digital platform will also serve as a repository for documents and an online advocacy hub for improving information provision and awareness. It will showcase positive examples of cooperation and provide a platform for interaction and networking between stakeholders across the region, including by organizing webinars on selected topics.
The Balkan Forum was established in 2012 with the goal of creating a shared vision for the Balkans region based on economic integration, prosperity, and sustainable peace. In 2013 and 2015, the Balkan Forum gathered diverse stakeholders and leaders from civil society, the private sector, academia, and government from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Greece, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Serbia in Thessaloniki, Greece. These meetings sought to generate ideas and innovative strategies to deepen regional collaboration, catalyze economic development, and promote a green, resource efficient region by drawing on the region’s strengths and each country’s comparative advantages. Its work centers on four interconnected thematic areas that were identified at the first regional meeting: regional educational approaches; human capital and labor markets; energy, environment, and economic development; and tourism and infrastructure development.
The Balkan Forum will continue its commitment to foster a growing network of institutions, individuals and organizations that will collaborate across borders and sectors to pursue shared regional development goals and to develop innovative solutions to shared regional problems. It will help transform the Balkans into a unified force poised to act on the European and global stages and to tackle modern day challenges.
For more information, please visit the Balkan Forum’s new website www.thebalkanforum.org.
We greatly welcome your continued partnership in advancing a vision of regional collaboration and joint development for the Balkans. Thank you for being involved in this initiative since its early days.