Jan 1999 – Dec 2003
Project Manager: Jorunn Tønnesen
Project Officer: Snezana Popovic
Senior Project Consultant: Steinar Bryn
The aim of this project is to develop resources for peacebuilding and reconciliation work in the Balkans on the basis of the expertise, techniques and networks developed in cooperation since 1995 between PRIO and the Nansen Academy in Lillehammer. The project has developed a network based on eight Dialogue Centres. In each centre, a local staff (average of four full-time staff aided by part-time assistants) organises activities aimed at stimulating dialogue between groups in these highly divided societies, and at enhancing democratic thinking along with respect for human rights and peaceful conflict resolution. The eight Dialogue Centres are in Sarajevo, Mostar, Banjaluka (all in Bosnia and Herzegovina), Osijek (Croatia), Podgorica (Montenegro), Belgrade (Serbia), Prishtina (Kosovo) and Skopje (Macedonia). The project is also active in Mitrovica (Kosovo) and is developing links with a group in Preshevo Valley (southern Serbia). Activities take the form of 3-4 day residential seminars, training courses in various of the skills of democracy and dialogue, public lectures and meetings, debate forums and radio programmes.
The project takes a regional approach to reconciliation. This means encouraging as much cooperation as possible between the eight centres, while taking care to work according to the possibilities and priorities dictated by local conditions in each area. The aim is to develop the network into a major asset for reconciliation within the region.
The project's major funding is from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It has also received generous financial support from Institutusjonen Fritt Ord in Norway and from local offices of the European Union.
The Summary from the seminar on Dialogue, Peacebuilding, and Norwegian Foreign Policy, Oslo 5 June 2002, is available on the web site of the Norwegian Red Cross
The Nansen Academy is recruiting a project leader for the re-organized Balkan Dialogue Project. The enclosed information is in Norwegian.
Dan Smith leaves PRIO to become Secretary General of the London-based NGO International Alert.