CSO Forum:  Direct Dialogue as a Tool for Regional Stability

Hotel Emerald, Pristina

4th and 5th of February, 2020


Day I: 4th of February

09:30 – 10:00 Welcoming and Registration of Participants
10:00 – 10:20 Opening Remarks
Mr. Miodrag Milićević, Executive Director, NGO Aktiv
Mr. Jan Braathu, Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo
Ms. Pauline Menthonnex Gacaferri, Chargée d’affaires a.i., Embassy of Switzerland
10:20 – 11:40 Panel Discussion 1: The prospects of EU-facilitated dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina

The EU-facilitated dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina came to a standstill just as was supposed to enter its final stages and result in a comprehensive normalisation of relations. Further aggravating the situation, a resumption of talks does not seem to be on the horizon as of yet.

The panel will discuss the current state of the dialogue process between Belgrade and Pristina and explore the parties’ key incentives to renew it, as well as the main impediments to its recommencement.

Ms. Sonja Licht, President, Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence
Mr. Naim Rashiti, Executive Director, Balkans Policy Research Group
Ms. Jelica Minić, Vice President, European Movement of Serbia
Mr. Visar Xhambazi, Policy Researcher, Democracy for Development
Moderator:  Mr. Alex Roinishvili Grigorev, President, Council for Inclusive Governance (USA)


11:40 – 12:00 Coffee Break
12:00 – 13:20 Panel discussion 2: Economic cooperation as an impetus for dialogue

Despite its significance for the normalisation of relations between Belgrade and Pristina, the issue of economic cooperation between Serbia and Kosovo has largely fallen by the wayside. Nevertheless, the economies of Serbia and Kosovo remain intertwined due to private business interests and regional economic initiatives.

The panel will address whether or not economic cooperation can enhance and contribute the normalisation process. It will attempt to determine Serbia and Kosovo’s shared economic interests and what the main barriers are in conducting business between them. In addition, it will explore the role that the chambers of commerce can play.

Mr. Safet Gërxhaliu, Secretary General, WB6 Chamber Investment Forum
Mr. Marko Savković, Program Director at the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence (BFPE)
Moderator:  Ms. Valerie Hopkins, Journalist
13:20 –14:30 Networking Lunch
14:30 –15:50 Panel discussion 3Cultural diplomacy as an untapped channel for dialogue

Cultural communication between Kosovo and Serbia exists, even when it takes place unnoticed by the wider public. Artistic expression and exchanges of ideas can enable communities to get to know each other better and promote mutual understanding. The panel will explore whether film and music festivals can build new bridges between communities in Kosovo, as well as between Kosovo and Serbia.


Mr. Eroll Bilibani, Head of DokuLab, DokuFest
Ms. Milica Đilas, PR Manager, Exit Foundation
Mr. Ljubiša Baščarević, Member of the Organizational Team, North City Jazz&Blues Festival
Moderator:  Ms. Jovana Spremo, Adviser on EU integration related policies at YUCOM
15:50 – 16:00 Closing remarks


Day II: 5th of February

09:30 – 10:00 Registration of Participants
10:00 – 10:10 Opening remarks
10:10 – 11:30 Panel Discussion 4: Pathways to reconciliation

The panel will discuss the different approaches to reconciliation between Serbs and Albanians. It will try to assess the achievements and shortfalls of transitional justice, and to explore the other pathways to reconciliation.

Ms. Nora Ahmetaj, Senior member of the Preparatory Team for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Kosovo
Mr. Darko Dimitrijević, Journalist and Chief Editor of the “Radio Goraždevac”
Mr. Bekim Blakaj, Executive Director, Humanitarian Law Center in Kosovo
Ms. Sonja Biserko, President, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia
Moderator:  Mr. Kushtrim Koliqi, Human rights activist, theater and film


11:30 – 12:00 Coffee Break
12:00 – 13:20 Panel discussion 5: The role of the media in promoting dialogue

The media play a key role in creating the enabling environment for dialogue and normalization. However, media coverage does not always seem to be conducive to improving the mutual perception of the communities and building confidence between them.

How do media in Kosovo and Serbia portray the dialogue? Does media reporting contribute to amplifying or reduce the social distance between communities?

Ms. Jeta Xharra, Director, Balkan Investigative Reporting Network
Ms. Tatjana Lazarević, Editor of the KoSSev portal
Mr. Idro Seferi, Journalist
Ms. Jelena L. Petković, Freelance Journalist
Moderator:  Mr. Agron Bajrami, Editor in Chief Koha Ditore
13:20 – 14:30 Networking Lunch
14:30 – 15:50 Panel discussion 6Youth as an emerging actor of the dialogue

The common concern of both Serbia and Kosovo pertains to the worrying trend of youth emigration. Owing to the perpetual political instability and vague economic perspective, a high portion of youth considers leaving the region. On the other hand, young people are at the same time the ones who work together on creating new opportunities for education and employment.

Mr. Đuro Blanuša, Regional Youth Cooperation Office
Mr. Shpend Lila, Training, Events and PR Manager, Innovation Center Kosovo
Mr. Stefan Veljković, Executive Director, YEC Synergy
Ms. Marigona Shabiu, Executive Director , Youth Initiative for Human Rights  Kosovo
Moderator:  Ms. Ariana Qosaj-Mustafa, Programme Director, KIPRED
15:50 – 16:00 Closing remarks