Open Menu Close Menu Open Search Close Search

Jelena Ćeriman

Research Fellow, University of Belgrade (Serbia)
Funded Research Project Title: Using Your Rights: Empowering Serbian Minorities Through Their National Councils

Project title: Using Your Rights: Empowering Serbian Minorities Through Their National Councils

The goal of Jelena’s project is to research the effectiveness of two national councils of national minorities (Hungarian and Albanian) in protecting their minority rights in Serbia by analyzing relevant legal framework and conducting online and/or face-to-face interviews with Albanian and Hungarian NC representatives. The main research question of this project is: What can we learn from the NCs and minority representatives acting through it to improve the position of minorities in Serbia and their active political participation?

The project is strongly action oriented and brings science closer to policy and practice by fostering cooperation and partnerships between three stakeholders: Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory of the University of Belgrade, National Council of the Hungarian National Minority (Magyar Nemzeti Tanács / Национални савет мађарске националне мањине) and National Council of the Albanian National Minority (Këshilli kombëtar i pakicës nacionale Shqiptare / Национални савет албанске националне мањине). The proposed partnership will establish cooperation between the organizations in Serbia that should have closer ties. Being official, state-recognized organizations, the Hungarian and Albanian National Councils thereby enjoying certain rights and receiving a small budget for its work, but with very limited capacities. The Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory is an autonomous research institution within the University of Belgrade that has engagement as one of its core values, and nourishes critical approach, democracy and freedom of academic work. In our communication with the Albanian Council’s President Ragmi Mustafi and Hungarian National Council’s Board member David Losoncz, they both expressed their support for the research that would provide them with adequate, comprehensive information in the form of an article and policy brief on further possibilities for improving minority rights through national councils framework. This research enables them to cooperate with academics in order to voice their experiences and issues, identify possible avenues for improvement and transfer knowledge between different national councils.

By participating in project activities from the beginning, the main partners will also take ownership over this project and strengthen project effects in the community and their future work, which will lay a good foundation for the continuation of the partnership between the Institute and NCs: all planned events will serve as platforms for knowledge exchange, building trust and establishing lasting partnerships (the project team members will present the preliminary insights from the desk and field research opening it to the interpretation and nuanced debate with the NC members; the main conclusions from the learning events will be used in writing the policy brief, jointly developed by all parties engaged in the project. This brief will be disseminated to all relevant NCs in Serbia and minority protection institutions, and made publicly available in digital form at the websites of IFDT and partner NCs (Hungarian National council in Serbia and Albanian National Council in Serbia). Furthermore, these jointly developed results will be presented at three public events which will be devoted to the praxis-related and policy relevant outcomes and conclusions of the project, to be held at the IFDT in Belgrade and NCs premises in Subotica (Vojvodina) and Preshevo (the Preshevo valley).