On 13th-14th July 2016 a new project sponsored by Kosovo Open Society Foundation was launched in Thessaloniki. It is aimed on building knowledge of new statehood in Southeast Europe, focusing on creating and disseminating policy-relevant new information about Kosovo.
16 young researchers from Slovakia, Romania, Greece, Albania, Cyprus, Serbia, FYROM, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina gathered on 13th of July in the University of Macedonia in Thessaloniki to work on their research projects with their supervisors. The skilled researchers based on universities from all around the world – Arolda Elbasani, Nikolas Tzifakis, Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers, Agon Demjaha and Elton Skendaj – gave the younger ones precious advice regarding research plans, relevant literature and helped them to specify their research questions.
The sessions were complemented by master classes about research design and methodology in political research by Kostas Gemenis from University of Twente; about Kosovar diplomacy after independence by Agon Demjaha from South East European University; and by informal discussion on Brexit and its consequences for Western Balkans. In the afternoon of July 13th researchers also visited the Thessaloniki City Hall in order to meet with progressive Mayor Boutaris, who did great job in opening the city and reviving its Jewish heritage. Unfortunately, some serious events prevented mayor from coming, so just his deputy expressed warm welcome to the group and shortly outlined the cornerstones of successful policy of Mayor Boutaris.
Aim of the project is to create a publication with new ideas and information about Kosovo by February, with thematically varied chapters in the highest academic standard – from security and IR perspectives on western Balkans, to anthropology, sociology and economics. From March onwards the phase of dissemination will begin, where the aim is to bring the new knowledge to as wide spectrum of citizens as possible.
Two days full of hard work on research and dissemination plans, networking and learning were just an initial phase. Next few months will be spent in research from behind the desk and in October researchers will be able to gather more information on field trip in Kosovo.