Prof. Biljana Antunovic, PhD, Vice-Rector for International and Inter-University Cooperation of the University of Banja Luka, participated at the First Rectors’ Forum of the Western Balkans, held at the University of Novi Sad (Serbia) on 24-25 September 2018.
The Forum gathered rectors and vice-rectors of the universities from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Albania, Slovenia, FYR Macedonia, and Montenegro, along with a representative of the German Leopoldina Academy.
Prof. Dusan Nikolic, PhD, Rector of the University of Novi Sad, welcomed the participants, and gave a plenary speech entitled ‘Science and higher education in the Western Balkans countries’.
There were four sessions organized, with Prof. Antunovic taking part at the second one, addressing the audience on the topic of ‘Internationalization of science and education – the case of University of Banja Luka’.
As far as the University of Sarajevo is concerned, Prof. Rifat Skrijelj, PhD, Rector, discussed the topic of autonomy and financing the university.
Through numerous addresses, the issues encountered by the universities were presented, but also some great scholarly achievements, which are often neglected or remain unrecognized. In addition, the issues discussed involved the unsatisfactory visibility of the aforementioned universities on international academic lists and measures to be taken in order to improve it.
Furthermore, one of the conclusions of the Forum is the announcement of forming the Association of Universities of the Western Balkans for the purpose of more efficiently coordinating mutually beneficial activities. The Association is going to be formed on 2 November 2018, at the Second Rectors’ Conference at the University of Zagreb (Croatia). Along with these activities, the Declaration on Cooperation and Joint Activities Concerning the Fields of Science, Education, and Knowledge Transfer is going to be signed as well.
Apart from these conclusions, it was pointed out that the future development of the university lay in strengthening internationalization processes, especially through increased staff and students’ mobility, introduction of joint study programmes, and establishing interdisciplinary studies.
Finally, a step towards an overall development and better exploitation of resources would be a joint purchase of equipment and publications, joint research projects, and co-organizing international academic events.
The conference is a spin-off of ‘The path is the goal: Convergence, Cohesion and Cooperation in South East Europe’, an international conference held at the Italian Academy of Arts and Sciences in Rome (Italy) at the end of May 2018, within the frame of the Berlin Process.