The Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies perceives conferences as opportunities not only to present acquired knowledge, but also to generate new knowledge. Several conferences organized by the Institute resulted in further studies and new publications which were not the product of an occasion but a result of collaboration between experts and scientists before, during and after the conference.
International Scientific Conference National Minorities as a Factor of Stability in International Relations between Croatia and Serbia
Zagreb, 16 October 2009
The Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies organized an international scientific conference on national minorities which was held in Zagreb on 16 October 2009 under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Croatia Mr. Stjepan Mesić.
The protection of rights and specifies of national minorities is one of the structural requirements by which the states prove the degree of their own legal-political maturity, democracy and multi/intercultural orientation. The appreciation of specific rights of national minority members should lead to the affirmation of their identity and preservation of their position as well as to their cultural, economic and political diversities and particularities. The issues of recognition and acknowledgment both of national minority rights and consistent implementation of legal regulations referring to minorities may act encouragingly or inhibitory in the context of contemporary Euro-integration processes. The burden of political relations between Croatia and Serbia demands the establishment of uniform confidence in international and bilateral relations, and in this process the minorities in both countries can play an essential role. Historical heritage and war conflicts in the territory of former Yugoslavia resulted in shaken confidence of relations between national majority and minority community both in Croatia and Serbia, but still the social relations network was and has remained preserved. Even in war times the members of different nationalities maintained various forms of cooperation, communication and mutual support as they do today.
The conference participants discussed the policies of recognizing rights and implementation of legal practice in regard to the position and life of national minorities, especially Croats in Serbia and Serbs in Croatia. The conference was thematically organized in three parts:
· Ethnic structure and perception of minority situation
· National minorities and everyday life
· National minorities – macro-political relations
Since national-minority issues are important to be discussed through multidisciplinary approach, the conference gathered researchers from Croatia and Serbia in the fields of political sciences, sociology, economy, law, demography as well as in social and political psychology. The conclusions from such meetings are intended to reach decision-making political bodies and contribute to finding solution for practical policies and state strategies toward minorities. Therefore the wish for continued links and cooperation of researchers and intellectuals dealing with national-minority problems was emphasized with a view to stimulate mutual researches and improve interethnic relations between Croatia and Serbia at the scientific and socio-political level.