During the spring semester, students wrote policy papers recommending improvements on national minority councils in the Balkans. In early May, they discussed their recommendations with government and parliament officials, minority leaders, foreign diplomats, experts, and civil society representatives in the Eastern European countries, garnering notice in several Serbian and Montenegrin news outlets.
One Serbian newspaper reported on the group’s meeting with Mayor Meho Mahmutović of Novi Pazar, where they discussed problems faced by minorities and procedures within the European Union that exist to solve these problems.
“The purpose of our trip was to come and learn about how the Balkans are working on minority issues, addressing ways to share power fairly, and making sure that all voices are being represented,” said Dr. Cox in an interview with Regional Television Novi Pazar News.
The online Sandžak Press detailed students’ discussions with Mufti Muamer Zukorlic, head of the Islamic Community of Serbia, about improving non-Serb communities’ rights.
In Podgorica, Montenegro, news site Cafe Del Montenegro reported that the class met with the Minister for Human and Minority Rights Suad Numanović. And, during an interview on another local news site with Montenegrin parliament member Genci Nimanbegu, students discussed national councils and their functions. They also examined minority representation and participation in the decision-making process, as well as issues like cultural identity and the education system, diaspora and assimilation, and the state’s role in the integration of minorities.
After the field study, students revised their recommendations based on the meetings and discussions.