The Center for Research and Policy Making, in partnership with the local offices of the German political foundations Kondrad Adenauer Stiftung and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, as well as the Think Tank Fund of the Institute Open Society from Budapest, organized an international scholarly conference dedicated to the tenth anniversary of the signing of the Ohrid Framework Agreement. The conference, named “One Decade after Ohrid Framework Agreement: Lessons to be Learned from the Macedonian Experience” was held in Skopje, in the hotel Continental, in the days of June 24-26, 2011.
Speakers at the opening of the conference were the resident representatives of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and Kondrad Adenauer Stiftung, Mr. Heinz Bongartz and Ms. Anja Czymmeck and the director of the Open Society Institute Think-Tank fund, Mr. Goran Buldioski. Mr. AbdulaqimAdemi , Vice-Prime Minister of the Government of Republic of Macedonia, responsible for the implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement and Professor Florian Bieber from the University of Graz were the special guest speakers at the opening session. The conference was opened my Dr. Marija Risteska, Executive director of the Center for Research and Policy Making, with short introduction and reading of the welcoming letter sent by the president of the Republic of Macedonia, Dr. Gjorge Ivanov.
The conference welcomed renowned social science scholars and practitioners in various fields. Florian Bieber, head of the Centre for Southeast European Studies at the University of Graz, delivered the keynote speech at the opening session. The rest of the panels were chaired by notable academics from Macedonia and abroad: LjubomirFrchkoski, a professor at the University Ss Cyril and Methodius, Skopje and one of the people involved in drafting the letter of the OFA; Vasiliki Neofotistos, assistant professor at the State University of New York in Buffalo; StojanSaveski, Dean at the European University, Skopje; Gordana Siljanovska, Full professor at the University Ss Cyril and Methodius; ZhidasDaskalovski, Head of the Public Policy Department, University St Clement of Ohrid, Bitola; Neophytos Loizides, professor at the Queen’s University Belfast / University of Kent; and Simonida Kacarska, PhD student at the University of Leeds, replacing professor Biljana Vankovska from the University Ss Cyril and Methodius.
In total, twenty five papers were presented within the seven panels of the conference. We also held an additional panel dedicated to the initiative of RECOM at the last day of the conference, before the closing session.
Each of the panels discussed the different perspective of the OFA and the implication of the agreement for Macedonia and the Balkans in the past ten years. You can see the list of panels below.
Panel 1: The conflict, the agreement and the reconciliation: 2001 then and now
Panel 2: Political belonging in post-2001 Macedonia: the authority of “ethnic identities”
Panel 3: The Ohrid Framework Agreement in the Southeast European context
Panel 4: Decentralization reform after OFA: towards greater power sharing or effective and efficient service delivery?
Panel 5: Equitable representation for “non-majority communities” in Macedonia – Until when?
Panel 6: The future of Macedonia and the region
Panel 7: Lessons learned
Special panel on the initaitive for RECOM
The closing session of the conference provided short summaries from all panels. A team of seven rapporteurs, members and associates of the CRPM as well as conference participants carefully followed the presentations and the discussions at each panel and presented the main points in the closing sessions.
More than 100 participants and guests attended the panels throughout all the three days of the conference. The conference started with more than 120 guests, including media representatives, at the opening and the first day of the conference, and ended with approximately 60 participants at the last day. On-line registration was required for participants for all potential participants. However, as we were expecting, not all of the participants at the conference had completed the on-line entry form.
The conference had high visibility in local, national and regional media. The press found the topic and the selection of guests and presenters very attractive and treated the event as one of exceptional importance. In the course of the preparations for the conference and throughout the event, we were supported by two media outlets: the regional promotion was supported by the leading regional news portal Balkan Insights (www.balkaninsights.org) and the local support was provided from the cable TV station 24 Vesti (www.24vesti.mk). In addition to the notable media support, the conference reached to high visibility through the on-line promotion that was provided by the CRPM team. We have established a separate web page for the conference (www.policy.mk/ofa11), created a Facebook Event and shared important information and updates regarding the conference at the FanPage of the CRPM (www.facebook.com/crpm.org.mk) , mailing lists and other social media platforms and tools.
In August 2011, the CRPM will announce the details regarding the publication of a selection of the conference papers in a special edited volume. In the meantime, the CRPM announced another international conference to be held in September, devoted to the 20 years of Macedonian independence.
Photos from the conference can be found on this link.