The Balkan Dialogue Project, represents a unique combination of thought-provoking pedagogical principles, practical training and theoretical teaching, based upon a set of concepts known as Nansen Dialogue. By 2002, several thousand people had gone through Nansen Dialogue training - either at the Nansen Academy in Lillehammer or locally in the Balkans.
The origins of the Balkan Dialogue Project lie in a training programme at the Nansen Academy in Lillehammer for people from the Balkans of different ethnic backgrounds. The first course started in 1995, when war was still raging in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A number of participants endeavoured to maintain contact across ethnic-national borders after they returned home, and the Nansen alumni in Pristina began to arrange local seminars to increase awareness of the Nansen Dialogue concept and mutual understanding.
Work on dialogue has since the late nineties developed through collaboration between the Nansen Academy and the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO). By 2002, eight local Nansen Dialogue Centres had been set up in former Yugoslavia. These continue to work closely with the Nansen Academy and PRIO, though they have also begun to establish themselves as increasingly independent organizations.
This report sums up the development of this work between 1994 and 2001.