An Overview of U.S. Institute of Peace Activities to Promote Democracy and Minority Rights in Serbia-Montenegro and Kosovo

On March 17, 2004, Daniel Serwer, director of the Balkans Initiative and Peace and Stability Operations, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on International Relations, Subcommittee on Europe on "The Current Situation in Serbia and Montenegro."

The following overview of the Institute's work to promote democracy and minority rights in Serbia-Montenegro and Kosovo was prepared and submitted to the subcommittee by Serwer in response to questions at the hearing. Additional information on the Institute's work in the Balkans can be found by visiting the Balkan Initiative's homepage.

 
Activities to Promote Democracy and Minority Rights in Serbia-Montenegro and Kosovo

Since 1992, The United States Institute of Peace has been actively engaged in fostering peace and reconciliation in the Balkans, including democracy and human rights in Serbia, Montenegro, and Kosovo. As part of our Congressional mandate, the Institute, through its Balkans Initiative, has been instrumental in creating and disseminating new techniques and research in the field of conflict management, training current and emerging political and civil society leaders in negotiation and conflict resolution skills, providing numerous grants to international and local organizations to develop a democratic civil society, and providing a unique forum both in Washington and in the region for open dialogue. The following highlights activities to promote democracy and minority rights in Serbia and Montenegro and Kosovo.

Training

Through its Professional Training Program, the Institute has helped to facilitate conflict management skills training for both government and nongovernmental personnel. Through group exercises and role-playing simulations, participants are challenged to reexamine their perceptions of good governance, minority rights, and other key questions concerning the role of government and civil society. Some recent examples of Institute efforts include:

  • Professional skills training for the Kosovo Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (September 6-11 2004).
  • Professional skills training with the Defense Ministry of Serbia and Montenegro (October 13-21 2003).
  • Professional skills training with the Foreign Ministry of Serbia and Montenegro (May 4-12, 2003).
  • Professional skills building with the OSCE in Kosovo, Vienna, and Macedonia (March 31-April 2, 2003).
  • Computer-based role playing simulation for young Serbian and Kosovar political and civic leaders (September 10-12, 2002).
  • Professional skills training with the Foreign Ministry of Serbia and Montenegro (July 9-17, 2002).
  • Workshop on developing good governance for Kosovo Assembly Members (June 12-16, 2002).
  • Conflict management and negotiation training for Kosovar political and civic leaders (June 20-24, 1998).
Fellowships

The Institute's Jennings Randolph Fellowship Program allows scholars and practitioners from around the globe to come to Washington to conduct important research concerning international conflict and peace. We have been privileged to have a number of prominent scholars working on projects related to Serbia and Montenegro:

  • Albert Cevallos, formerly with the U.S. Agency for International Development. (Senior Fellow, 2003-2004): "Steal This Revolution: Nonviolent Revolution and the Transition to Democracy in Serbia."
  • Sonja Biserko, Head of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia. (Senior Fellow, 2000-2001): "Serbia versus Yugoslavia: An Inside View of the Yugoslav Crisis."
  • Tone Bringa, Associate Professor of Social Anthropology, University of London. (Guest Scholar, 1999-2000): "Post-War Reintegration in the Balkans."
  • Stojan Cerovic, Columnist, Vreme, Belgrade. (Senior Fellow, 1999-2000): "Yugoslavia after the Kosovo Conflict."
  • Daniel Serwer, State Department Special Envoy for the Bosnian Federation (Senior Fellow, 1998-99): "Balkans Regional Security."
  • Ruzica Rosandic, Department of Psychology, University of Belgrade. (Senior Fellow, 1997-98): "The Goodwill Classroom: Conflict Resolution and Human Rights Training in Educational Policy."
  • John Menzies, U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina. (Senior Fellow, 1997-98): "Consequences of the Dayton Peace Agreements for Regional Security."
  • Dusko Doder, Former Moscow Correspondent, the Washington Post. (Senior Fellow, 1996-97): "Reconstructing the Balkans after Yugoslavia's Dissolution and Civil War."
  • Vesna Pesic, Chairwoman of the Civil Alliance of Serbia. (Senior Fellow, 1994-95): "Preparing the Ground for War in Serbia, 1987-1992."
  • Ted Robert Gurr, Distinguished University Professor, Department of Government and Politics, Center for International Development and Conflict University of Maryland. (Peace Fellow, 1988-89): "Minorities at Risk: A Global View of Ethnopolitical Conflicts."
Grants

Twenty-five percent of the Institute's budget goes to grants and contracts to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and academic institutions doing research or working to prevent conflict and to create or revitalize civil society following violent conflict. Below are some of our most recent grants to projects in Serbia and Montenegro and Kosovo:

  • Center for Free Election and Democracy (Belgrade and Kragujevac, Serbia and Montenegro). An NGO that has specialized in the promotion of elections and democracy in Serbia. Two grants in 2002 focused on providing training for CESID trainers and activists in negotiation, mediation, and conflict resolution skills. The purpose is to build bridges between political opponents and to improve communication among the main actors involved in elections processes. The specific activities include an initial 16-day training workshop for CESID trainers, followed by eight three-day training workshops for CESID activists, and then by 20 one-day training workshops throughout Serbia.
  • Management Center (Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro). A 2002 grant to support a training course for judges, prosecutors, police professionals, and policy makers in a newly democratic Serbia on the challenges of, and strategies for, addressing the problem of organized crime.
  • Center for Strategic and International Studies (Washington, D.C.). A training and seminar program to introduce conflict resolution skills to, and enhance dialogue among, a diverse group of religious and community leaders in Kosovo. The 2001 project also distributed a set of practical manuals for conflict resolution training and the strengthening of civil society.
A Forum for Dialogue

The Institute has long been the place in Washington for democratic leaders from the region to come and speak before a well-informed and inquisitive audience concerned with human rights. Some of recent speakers of note include:

  • Branko Crvenkovski, Prime Minister of Macedonia
  • Hashim Thaci, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Kosovo
  • Bajram Rexhepi, Prime Minister of Kosovo
  • Zoran Djindjic, Prime Minister of Serbia
  • Goran Svilanovic, Foreign Minister of Serbia and Montenegro

As part of the Institute's efforts to develop a greater understanding on the challenges of preventing conflict and maintaining peace in Serbia and Montenegro and Kosovo, the Balkans Initiative has sponsored a wide assortment of public and off the record briefings. Recent topics have included the impact of radical parties on elections, Kosovo's final status, the future of the Serbia and Montenegro union, and building state institutions in Serbia and Kosovo.

The Institute also provided an important outlet for the Serbian democratic opposition throughout the Milosevic period. The Institute has provided assistance to opposition groups such as Otpor, and has collected their stories as part of a developing curriculum on the use of nonviolence to bring about regime change.

In addition, the Institute has worked to create opportunities for dialogue within the region. Some examples are:

  • In Gnjilane in April 2001, the Institute organized a workshop on "Meeting the Challenges of Reconstruction in a Multi-Ethnic Society" for area municipal leaders.
  • Municipal leaders from across Kosovo participated in a workshop on developing good governance in Airlie, Virginia, in February and March 2001.
  • Albanian and Serb leaders met in Airlie, Virginia, in July 2000 for a facilitated discussion on how to maintain coexistence through a multi-ethnic society.
  • At the request of the U.S. Army, the Institute held a workshop on coexistence in a multi-ethnic society for Albanian and Serb leaders in Gnjilane in April 2000.
  • Leaders within the Kosovo Serb communities met in Sofia, Bulgaria in December 1999 to discuss "Options for Building Multi-Ethnic and Democratic Institutions in Kosovo."
  • Kosovar Albanian political and civic leaders participated in a workshop on coalition building in Landsdowne, Virginia, in May 1999.

As briefly mentioned above, the Institute, through the efforts of current senior fellow Albert Cevallos, has been the focal point for the unique effort to bring young political and civic leaders from Serbia and Kosovo together in the hopes of reestablishing a dialogue lost to the war in Kosovo. Beginning with a small but dedicated core group, the Partnerships for Peace Project has grown considerably to include members from nearly every political party. Following a series of successful meetings in the region, and a training program in Washington, the project is now largely run by the participants themselves and has undertaken several initiatives aimed at fostering inter-ethnic reconciliation and democracy, including efforts to end the recent violence in Kosovo and to ensure that it does not happen again.

 

An Overview of U.S. Institute of Peace Activities to Promote Democracy and Minority Rights in Serbia-Montenegro and Kosovo

The following overview of the Institute's work to promote democracy and minority rights in Serbia-Montenegro and Kosovo was prepared and submitted to the subcommittee by Serwer in response to questions at the hearing. Additional information on the Institute's work in the Balkans can be found by visiting the Balkan Initiative's homepage.

Activities to Promote Democracy and Minority Rights in Serbia-Montenegro and Kosovo

Since 1992, The United States Institute of Peace has been actively engaged in fostering peace and reconciliation in the Balkans, including democracy and human rights in Serbia, Montenegro, and Kosovo. As part of our Congressional mandate, the Institute, through its Balkans Initiative, has been instrumental in creating and disseminating new techniques and research in the field of conflict management, training current and emerging political and civil society leaders in negotiation and conflict resolution skills, providing numerous grants to international and local organizations to develop a democratic civil society, and providing a unique forum both in Washington and in the region for open dialogue. The following highlights activities to promote democracy and minority rights in Serbia and Montenegro and Kosovo.

Training

Through its Professional Training Program, the Institute has helped to facilitate conflict management skills training for both government and nongovernmental personnel. Through group exercises and role-playing simulations, participants are challenged to reexamine their perceptions of good governance, minority rights, and other key questions concerning the role of government and civil society. Some recent examples of Institute efforts include:

  • Professional skills training for the Kosovo Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (September 6-11 2004).
  • Professional skills training with the Defense Ministry of Serbia and Montenegro (October 13-21 2003).
  • Professional skills training with the Foreign Ministry of Serbia and Montenegro (May 4-12, 2003).
  • Professional skills building with the OSCE in Kosovo, Vienna, and Macedonia (March 31-April 2, 2003).
  • Computer-based role playing simulation for young Serbian and Kosovar political and civic leaders (September 10-12, 2002).
  • Professional skills training with the Foreign Ministry of Serbia and Montenegro (July 9-17, 2002).
  • Workshop on developing good governance for Kosovo Assembly Members (June 12-16, 2002).
  • Conflict management and negotiation training for Kosovar political and civic leaders (June 20-24, 1998).
Fellowships

The Institute's Jennings Randolph Fellowship Program allows scholars and practitioners from around the globe to come to Washington to conduct important research concerning international conflict and peace. We have been privileged to have a number of prominent scholars working on projects related to Serbia and Montenegro:

  • Albert Cevallos, formerly with the U.S. Agency for International Development. (Senior Fellow, 2003-2004): "Steal This Revolution: Nonviolent Revolution and the Transition to Democracy in Serbia."
  • Sonja Biserko, Head of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia. (Senior Fellow, 2000-2001): "Serbia versus Yugoslavia: An Inside View of the Yugoslav Crisis."
  • Tone Bringa, Associate Professor of Social Anthropology, University of London. (Guest Scholar, 1999-2000): "Post-War Reintegration in the Balkans."
  • Stojan Cerovic, Columnist, Vreme, Belgrade. (Senior Fellow, 1999-2000): "Yugoslavia after the Kosovo Conflict."
  • Daniel Serwer, State Department Special Envoy for the Bosnian Federation (Senior Fellow, 1998-99): "Balkans Regional Security."
  • Ruzica Rosandic, Department of Psychology, University of Belgrade. (Senior Fellow, 1997-98): "The Goodwill Classroom: Conflict Resolution and Human Rights Training in Educational Policy."
  • John Menzies, U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina. (Senior Fellow, 1997-98): "Consequences of the Dayton Peace Agreements for Regional Security."
  • Dusko Doder, Former Moscow Correspondent, the Washington Post. (Senior Fellow, 1996-97): "Reconstructing the Balkans after Yugoslavia's Dissolution and Civil War."
  • Vesna Pesic, Chairwoman of the Civil Alliance of Serbia. (Senior Fellow, 1994-95): "Preparing the Ground for War in Serbia, 1987-1992."
  • Ted Robert Gurr, Distinguished University Professor, Department of Government and Politics, Center for International Development and Conflict University of Maryland. (Peace Fellow, 1988-89): "Minorities at Risk: A Global View of Ethnopolitical Conflicts."
Grants

Twenty-five percent of the Institute's budget goes to grants and contracts to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and academic institutions doing research or working to prevent conflict and to create or revitalize civil society following violent conflict. Below are some of our most recent grants to projects in Serbia and Montenegro and Kosovo:

  • Center for Free Election and Democracy (Belgrade and Kragujevac, Serbia and Montenegro). An NGO that has specialized in the promotion of elections and democracy in Serbia. Two grants in 2002 focused on providing training for CESID trainers and activists in negotiation, mediation, and conflict resolution skills. The purpose is to build bridges between political opponents and to improve communication among the main actors involved in elections processes. The specific activities include an initial 16-day training workshop for CESID trainers, followed by eight three-day training workshops for CESID activists, and then by 20 one-day training workshops throughout Serbia.
  • Management Center (Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro). A 2002 grant to support a training course for judges, prosecutors, police professionals, and policy makers in a newly democratic Serbia on the challenges of, and strategies for, addressing the problem of organized crime.
  • Center for Strategic and International Studies (Washington, D.C.). A training and seminar program to introduce conflict resolution skills to, and enhance dialogue among, a diverse group of religious and community leaders in Kosovo. The 2001 project also distributed a set of practical manuals for conflict resolution training and the strengthening of civil society.
A Forum for Dialogue

The Institute has long been the place in Washington for democratic leaders from the region to come and speak before a well-informed and inquisitive audience concerned with human rights. Some of recent speakers of note include:

  • Branko Crvenkovski, Prime Minister of Macedonia
  • Hashim Thaci, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Kosovo
  • Bajram Rexhepi, Prime Minister of Kosovo
  • Zoran Djindjic, Prime Minister of Serbia
  • Goran Svilanovic, Foreign Minister of Serbia and Montenegro

As part of the Institute's efforts to develop a greater understanding on the challenges of preventing conflict and maintaining peace in Serbia and Montenegro and Kosovo, the Balkans Initiative has sponsored a wide assortment of public and off the record briefings. Recent topics have included the impact of radical parties on elections, Kosovo's final status, the future of the Serbia and Montenegro union, and building state institutions in Serbia and Kosovo.

The Institute also provided an important outlet for the Serbian democratic opposition throughout the Milosevic period. The Institute has provided assistance to opposition groups such as Otpor, and has collected their stories as part of a developing curriculum on the use of nonviolence to bring about regime change.

In addition, the Institute has worked to create opportunities for dialogue within the region. Some examples are:

  • In Gnjilane in April 2001, the Institute organized a workshop on "Meeting the Challenges of Reconstruction in a Multi-Ethnic Society" for area municipal leaders.
  • Municipal leaders from across Kosovo participated in a workshop on developing good governance in Airlie, Virginia, in February and March 2001.
  • Albanian and Serb leaders met in Airlie, Virginia, in July 2000 for a facilitated discussion on how to maintain coexistence through a multi-ethnic society.
  • At the request of the U.S. Army, the Institute held a workshop on coexistence in a multi-ethnic society for Albanian and Serb leaders in Gnjilane in April 2000.
  • Leaders within the Kosovo Serb communities met in Sofia, Bulgaria in December 1999 to discuss "Options for Building Multi-Ethnic and Democratic Institutions in Kosovo."
  • Kosovar Albanian political and civic leaders participated in a workshop on coalition building in Landsdowne, Virginia, in May 1999.

As briefly mentioned above, the Institute, through the efforts of current senior fellow Albert Cevallos, has been the focal point for the unique effort to bring young political and civic leaders from Serbia and Kosovo together in the hopes of reestablishing a dialogue lost to the war in Kosovo. Beginning with a small but dedicated core group, the Partnerships for Peace Project has grown considerably to include members from nearly every political party. Following a series of successful meetings in the region, and a training program in Washington, the project is now largely run by the participants themselves and has undertaken several initiatives aimed at fostering inter-ethnic reconciliation and democracy, including efforts to end the recent violence in Kosovo and to ensure that it does not happen again.

 

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of USIP, which does not advocate specific policy positions.

Related Publications

Truth Commission Digital Collection

Truth Commission Digital Collection

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The United States Institute of Peace’s Truth Commissions Digital Collection is part of the Margarita S. Studemeister Digital Library in International Conflict Management.  The collection contains profiles of truth commissions and substantive bodies of inquiry from nations worldwide - offering general background information on the composition of each body, links to the official legislative texts establishing such commissions, and each commission's final reports and findings.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Human Rights

A New Agenda for Bosnia and Herzegovina

A New Agenda for Bosnia and Herzegovina

Thursday, August 13, 2009

By: Jim O’Brien

As concerns grow about Bosnia's post-war recovery, USIP presents its fourth report on recent developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina and various options the U.S. government, Europe and Bosnia could pursue to prevent a return to violence there. In his paper, author Jim O'Brien, who served as the presidential envoy for the Balkans in the 1990s, cautions against taking a big initiative in Bosnia to head off a future crisis, but rather advocates taking on many, smaller battles that will ultimately...

Economics & Environment

Negotiation Techniques In Multilateral Diplomacy

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ted Feifer and Mike Lekson of the Education and Training Center/ International conducted the Institute's sixth workshop on negotiation skills in multilateral diplomacy for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna, May 14-16, 2008.

Education & Training

View All Publications