Academic Network Supporting EU Policies towards Western Balkans with Emphasis on Regional Cooperation Based on Reconciliation (ANETREC)
Support by the academia in the Western Balkan countries (WB6) to the EU policy towards the Western Balkans with an emphasis on regional cooperation based on reconciliation, as a precondition for peace, stability and progress in the region.
The Western Balkan countries, with the support of the EU and other factors of the international community, have made significant efforts in the context of peace assurance, transitional reforms and partly regional cooperation, in line with the EU enlargement policy and the Berlin initiative. However, this region still faces unresolved problems of war crimes, lack of cooperation, problematic political and media discourses, border issues and other problems, along with mistrust, animosities, and hate speech that carry a burden and create a gap between people (mostly on ethnic and religious grounds).
The process of reconciliation between the people and countries in the WB6 region is the only possible path to a peaceful future, stability and economic prosperity. For an adequate process of reconciliation, it is primarily necessary to ensure the education of young generations who will be the bearers of reconciliation and develop a new cultural pattern of the population as a fundamental element of modernisation and European integration.
The ANETREC network strives to contribute to the process of reconciliation in the territory of the Western Balkans through cooperation and the development of daily activities. Solutions to the existing animosities in the region were achieved through: (a) Raising awareness of teachers, researchers, governmental agencies, civil society organisations and other project target groups; (b) Building knowledge and skills for further development of European studies and research; (c) Encouraging governments and EU institutions to support universities and research institutions in this regard; (d) Stimulating the young generation in studying, researching and shaping policies towards the EU.
The ANETREC project aims to formally establish the Network of six universities and two research institutes from the WB6 countries, as well as Croatia and Slovenia (initially, 47 experts in total). The general objectives of the proposed Network include the academia contributing to regional cooperation based on a reconciliation process, with the intention to support the EU policies and contribute to achieving reconciliation, stability, peace and progress in the region and foster its international connections.
Development of six virtual teaching courses (EU policy towards WB6; reconciliation; multiculturalism; human rights and discrimination; religion; migration); Organisation of ANETREC Summer School for students from partnering universities; Research of different Project topics, together with developing recommendations for further development of teaching and research activities in the reconciliation topics in the region of WB6 and wider Europe; Development of the ANETREC Academic Network and Open Access Database.
The project also educates and trains teachers (mostly younger) and, subsequently, generations of educated and trained experts, who will be the bearers of the implementation of these ideas in different areas of social life, thus contributing to the creation of preconditions for the European integration and progress of these countries and the area as a whole.