The Second Rectors’ Forum of the South East Europe and Western Balkans was hosted by the University of Zagreb on November 3rd, 2018, after the ceremony marking the 350th Anniversary of the University of Zagreb that was held the same day. The meeting of the university rectors from the region was organized after the First Rectors’ Forum hosted by the University of Novi Sad in September 2018.
The Second Rectors’ Forum was attended by the highest university representatives from Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania and Macedonia. On behalf of the University of Novi Sad, Vice-Rector for Education Prof. Dr. Sanja Podunavac Kuzmanović and Vice-Rector for International Relations Prof. Dr. Dejan Madić participated at the meeting.
On this occasion, the rectors from the region signed a Declaration of the universities of South East Europe and Western Balkans, with the aim to enhance cooperation and mutual activities of the universities in the field of science, higher education, research and knowledge transfer. The Declaration was signed by 23 rectors of the following universities: University of Ljubljana, University of Maribor, University of Zagreb, University of Rijeka, Juraj Dobrila University in Pula, University North in Koprivnica, University of Sarajevo, University of Banja Luka, University of Bihać, University of Tuzla, University of Mostar, Džemal Bijedić University in Mostar, University of Zenica, University of Belgrade, University of Novi Sad, University of Priština with a temporary seat in Kosovska Mitrovica, State University of Novi Pazar, Hasan Pristhina University of Prishtina, University of Montenegro, University of Tirana, Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, Ss. Kliment Ohridski University in Bitola and University of Tetovo.
According to the conclusions from the First Rectors’ Forum held at the University of Novi Sad, the signatories of the Declaration signed in Zagreb initiated the establishment of the Community of the universities of South East Europe and Western Balkans. The Community will continue to develop the Regional platform for cooperation in the field of science, higher education and research. Special attention will be focused on enhancement of the quality of higher education in South East Europe and Western Balkans. Furthermore, the Community will provide conditions for the mutual enhancement of capacities in the field of higher education, science and knowledge transfer, actively promote common interests in the institutions of the European Union, encourage mobility of professors, associates, scientists, researchers and students, and advocate for the allocation of more funds for the science by the countries of South East Europe and Western Balkans and that those funds shall not be lower than 1% of the Gross Domestic Product.
Taking into account the fact that the significant number of highly educated people emigrate to the developed European countries and that there exists the common interest for stopping or mitigating that trend, the Community will specially advocate before the European Union to allocate more funds for the development of science and higher education at the universities that are members of the Community.
Besides supporting the principles of open access to the science and research infrastructure, the Community will provide support to already commenced and planned activities within the Berlin process, especially those referring to the establishment and the operation of the Western Balkans Research Foundation.
The Third Forum of South East Europe and the Western Balkans is announced to be held at the beginning of 2019 at the University of Mostar.