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Stabilization and Progress in the Western Balkans

Proceedings of the Symposium 2010, Basel, Switzerland September 17-19

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Edited By Dusan Simko and Ueli Mäder

For more than a decade, the Balkans have been a centre of crisis – armed conflicts have brought death, expulsion, destruction and untold suffering to the people. The postwar efforts of the West have failed to bring lasting stability and real progress so far.
The Symposium at Basel University was an interdisciplinary event where complex issues were elucidated by historians, geographers, sociologists and political scientists. The event enabled East and West European scholars and their American counterparts to exchange their somewhat divergent views. The speakers covered a broad range of subjects: historical causes, aspects of postwar economic and social development as well as sociocultural consequences of the democratization process. Special attention was devoted to the situation of minorities, the refugee problem and the security situation in the fragile states of the West Balkans and also to the responsibility of the EU and USA for the general stagnation in the area.
The Symposium was intended to illustrate differing interpretations of the events of the past ten years and to encourage discussion between speakers and participants at the event.

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DUŠAN ŠIMKO / UELI MÄDER - Introduction - 9

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9DUŠAN ŠIMKO / UELI MÄDER Introduction In order to create a forum for a critical discussion of the situation in the West Balkans, we, a sociologist and a political geographer at Basel University, organized the international Symposium – ‘Stabilization and Progress in the Western Balkans’. Eleven years after the end of the Yugoslav Wars we wanted to offer scholars from the West Balkans an opportunity for contact and a basis for discussions with their West European and American coun- terparts. The Balkans have been a centre of crisis for more than a decade. Armed conflicts have brought the people death, expulsion, destruc- tion and untold suffering. But the efforts of the West and NATO in- tervention have failed to bring stability and real progress so far. The Symposium at Basel University was planned as an interdis- ciplinary event. The complex issues were elucidated by historians, geographers, sociologists and political scientists. This enabled East and West European scholars and their American counterparts to ex- change their somewhat divergent views. The papers covered a broad range of subjects, from historical causes, aspects of postwar economic and social development and sociocultural consequences of the democratization process. Special attention was devoted to the situation of minorities, the refugee prob- lem and the security situation in the fragile states of the West Balkans and also to the responsibility of the EU and USA for the general stagnation in the region. The Symposium was intended to illustrate differing interpretations of the events of the past...

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