Regional Academy for Democracy program successfully closes in Belgrade

Đorđe Popović

01. December 2015

Regional Academy for Democracy program successfully closes in Belgrade

The Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence (BFPE) – along with six partner organizations, part of the Council of Europe’s Network of Schools of Political Studies – have successfully closed one of their most ambitious programs in political education and capacity-building so far, the Regional Academy for Democracy in Belgrade.

In four working days, 70+ young and aspiring politicians, representing political parties from all seven of Western Balkans’ societies have taken part in two distinct activities: first, in the fourth and last seminar intended for the third (2015) generation of RAD participants; and second, RAD’s closing conference, held on 30 November.

The last in the series of four seminars was dedicated to the role played by non-state actors in the policy process, and was opened by Prof. Tanja Miscevic, Head of Serbia’s Negotiating Team (with the European Union). She was accompanied in her opening address by our Dean, Mr. Pierre Mirel.

BFPE ‏@BFPE_BFPI  Nov 27

I could not support more the decision to start #negotiations w #RuleofLaw chapters#RADWB

Morning sessions were held with two opinion makers who are heading some of the most influential civil society organizations in Serbia and the wider region – Ms. Sonja Stojanovic Gajic, Director of the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy, and Mr. Milan Antonijevic, of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights.

BFPE ‏@BFPE_BFPI  Nov 28

Provocative points raised: do you (civil society) expect the Govt. to negotiate w you before negotiating w the EU? #RADWB

Next session was all about policy influence as well, with three ladies who embody the notion of “action tank” in a way – an institution that supports other CSOs, but also organizes events and does research in its own right – Gordana Delic, Director of the Balkan Trust for Democracy; Hedvig Morvai, Executive Director of the European Fund for the Balkans; and Biljana Spasovska of the Balkan Civil Society Development Network.

BFPE ‏@BFPE_BFPI  Nov 28

Asked to identify at least one recommendation that was welcomed by govts and implemented. Examples incl. trends; benchmarks; positions even.

Do you remember Malboseko, fictional country coming straight out of Pierre Mirel’s immense experience and imagination? We have paid it yet another visit.

BFPE ‏@BFPE_BFPI  Nov 28

The story of Malboseko role-play continues at #RADWB – after representing media, our participants are now in the shoes of civil society.

Our program for the second day was closed with (un) expectedly vibrant discussion, where our guests were Belgrade Rabi, Mr. Isak Asiel and Drago Pilsel, theologian from Zagreb.

We continued our program on the third and last day of the seminar with Mr. Igor Bandovic of the European Fund for the Balkans, who, from the study “Fortress Europe and the Western Balkans as its Soft Underbelly” outlined three scenarios for addressing the migrant crisis to our participants to analyze and then asked them present their views – what just might happen in the coming years, if the EU (a) closes its borders; (b) opens them altogether; or (c) stays in status quo.

Final part of last seminar’s program discussed civil society’s role in providing social services, where Ivana Radovic of Astra, Biljana Dakic-Djordjevic from Trag Foundation and Rados Djurovic from the Asylum Protection Center explained why and how has civil society stepped up and replaced state in provision of social services.

Finally, our Dean for 2015, Mr. Pierre Mirel presented the certificates (co-signed by Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Mr. Torbjorn Jagland) to our participants.