June 29, 2009
Half Way and still finding new work
I can't believe that I have already been living in Belgrade for nearly 5 weeks! I've really made a lot of friends and settled into life at the office; my colleagues in FRACTAL are all so friendly and welcoming, it is going to be very hard to leave them!
I am really enjoying my work here: I have had the opportunity to go to Kosovo for debates around Kosovo's proposed decentralisation. I recently also did a research piece on the process, and compared it to other such decentralisation processes in Africa and South America.
I am actually going to be starting with some new work in the last part of my time here. I'm really interested in the RECOM coalition's work. A huge group of civil society groups, activists, students and artists have been campaigning for the establishment of the first regional truth and reconciliation committee for the Balkans. The 'Regional Commission for Establishing the Facts about War Crimes and other Serious Human Rights Violations in former Yugoslavia' [Coalition for RECOM] has been proposed as a means of bringing truth about the recent wars in the Balkans, and a better form of reconciliation than either the ICTY or regional courts. Three NGOs from three former Yugoslav states, Documenta in Zagreb, the Research and Documentation Center, [RDC] in Sarajevo, and the Humanitarian Law Center [HLW] in Belgrade, are moving ahead with plans to set up this single fact commission for the former Yugoslavia. FRACTAL, the NGO I work with, has been involved with holding consultations on how to actually establish the commission.
My research, I hope, is going to focus on how RECOM is actually going to get established. I want to hold interviews with important players in the coalition; especially those leading the different working groups. I think an interesting area of research might be looking at the concrete tasks of civil society in establishing a regional commission of this kind, especially one that has not been engendered by a coalition of governments. The break-down of the respective tasks of the different organizations, as well as the challenges facing the coalition, is the proposed focus of my paper. Being a part of this process will be really interesting for me, and will tie into what I plan to do after Brown. RECOM is a very exciting development and, hopefully, my work will be incorporated into the coalition's resources. In some small way, it may even be useful or helpful for the coalition in bringing about meaningful reconciliation and societal healing in the Balkans.
Tomorrow, I will have my first round of meetings, to properly define the scope of the research that I will do for the next four weeks. Then, my plan is to do interviews in Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo with civil society RECOM members. Then, I will come back to Providence and do most of my writing of my report in August- with the resources of the Brown libraries and the comforts of home. I did not really expect to be working into August, but I think this research will be valuable for the RECOM coalition and FRACTAL, so I am happy to do it.
RECOM, and my research, will be something to look back on after this internship is over, and I think I will be really proud to have been involved in a meaningful and lasting way in this process!
Posted by Tessa Lee at June 29, 2009 06:26 AM