"Croatian-Serbian relations in the 20th century – past and perspectives."
In the returnee village of Golubić, in Croatia, since the 18 until 20 the first scientific meeting was held in September. The theme of the meeting was: “Croatian-Serbian relations at 20 century – past and perspectives.”
The organizer of the scientific meeting is the Center for History, Democracy and Reconciliation (CHDR) from Novi Sad.
The idea to hold an international scientific meeting, which will deal with Serbian-Croatian relations, in the returnee village, came from the director of CHDR, Darko Gavrilović, and Janko Veselinović, president of the Fund for Assistance to Refugees, Exiled and Displaced Persons.
The participants, including historians, sociologists and political scientists from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, and the United States of America, conducted discussions in two working groups.
One group dealt with political and cultural ties between Croats and Serbs in the past, especially in the 20th century. century, while the topics of the perspective of the development of Croatia and Serbia in the future were discussed in the second group.
"Political and cultural ties between Croats and Serbs in the 20th century."
dr. Ranko Končar , from the University of Novi Sad, presented the most significant conclusions of the working group, “Political and cultural ties between Croats and Serbs in the 20th century.”
After discussing several important issues in the field of Serbian-Croatian relations , this group agreed that there is a sense and historical justification for continuing the study of those relations. They will be marketed to be as document-based as possible, as far as the availability of sources allows.
Research, and at the same time the re-valuation of sources, should always be based on previous valuable works in the field of Serbian-Croatian relations. In this way, continuity with the researches of earlier historians is achieved.
It would be worthwhile to investigate Serbian-Croatian relations more complexly. Research would make it possible to get out of political limitations with an attempt to programmatically link to social, economic and cultural topics.
Careful and critical use of sources is essential due to delicate relationships in certain periods. It was concluded that many sources are directly influenced by propaganda.
It is necessary to open a space for demythologizing or demystifying some prejudices in studies and approaches to the study of Serbian-Croatian relations.
Work on securing and publishing important documents in the field of Serbian-Croatian relations is necessary, provided that they are critically founded.
In future gatherings, it is proposed to include the valorization of works that were created outside of this research project.
It is necessary to provide means to continue the dialogue that would contribute to broader and more complete approaches to these topics.
"Perspectives for the development of Croatia and Serbia in the future"
dr. Igor Graovac , from the Croatian Institute of History, presented a summary of the discussions held in the group “Perspectives for the development of Croatia and Serbia in the future”.
This was the first attempt within the project on Croatian-Serbian relations to consider the future of those relations and their countries. This group did not exclusively consist of historians, but also of lawyers and political scientists (or political scientists).
It was also considered whether it is possible to talk about the future of these relations without the constant need to change the understanding of the past. How to avoid the past hindering the development of those relationships.
In this group, only a few topics were discussed, such as: return of refugees , protection of minorities , regional development and social exclusion. It is necessary to expand the discussions about perspectives to other possible topics. This would reduce the good-neighborly relations between Serbia and Croatia to the European framework.
dr. Graovac said: “For the first time, as part of the scientific project, the working group considered the possibilities of the future development of relations between Croats and Serbs and their countries. In doing so, examples from the past and present were used, which contribute to the most complete determination of the future. Such examples were specifically discussed on the issues of refugee return, the position of minorities, regional development, and social exclusion. All in the context of strengthening civil society on both sides of the dialogue. Further discussions should be based on similar scientific research. Their success largely depends on the availability of sources, the possibility of exchanging the results of those researches and meeting scientists. It is necessary to almost completely standardize concepts, work techniques and research methodology. This incidentally avoids the politicization of the results of those researches, that is, interpretations of the past that prevent future relations between Croats and Serbs.”
Researchers dealing with various topics in this broader field pointed out the need to talk about the destinies of people, both Croats and Serbs, from one side and the other. Bilo that they are in the position of refugees, in the position of minorities, socially excluded, therefore poor. It is necessary that uniform terms are used in research on both sides.
The aim of this paper is not to directly influence the political future of Croat-Serb relations. Rather, the results of the work should serve a better future on specific issues that are common to both Croats and Serbs in both countries.
Prof. Dr. Darko Gavrilović , director of CHDR, addressed the audience. He addressed politicians from the government structure from Croatia and Serbia, as well as other institutions that have an interest in these topics. These are topics that are not only specific to relations in these areas, i.e. Croats and Serbs, but also throughout the world. For example, among the topics represented only within the Salzburg Institute are Palestinian-Jewish relations, Chinese-Japanese relations, German-Polish relations, Polish-Jewish relations and German-Jewish relations. The next gathering is planned for the end of November 2008. in Novi Sad will consider the issues of refugees and exiles in Croatia and Serbia.
dr. Janko Veselinović , President of the Fund for Assistance to Refugees, Exiled and Displaced Persons and Assistant Provincial Secretary for Science of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina of the Republic of Serbia, pointed out the need for greater media presence at future gatherings. If the media were interested, the conclusions and results would be as accessible and usable as possible.