Young people from Kosovo and Serbia can successfully communicate and exchange views, even when they disagree. This was obviously seen during a series of panel discussions within “Good Neighbor workshop” held from 13th to 15th by Youth Atlantic Treaty Association Serbia, with the support of the US Embassy in Belgrade. This workshop served its participants, students from Kosovo and Serbia, to deepen good interpersonal relationships and cooperation initiated by a previous project implemented in Pristina. The first topic of this meeting, “The Importance and Role of KFOR for Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo” intrigued all present. The reason for this was the fact that Italian Army Colonel Vicenza Grasso, a recent KFOR spokesman who had been in Kosovo for a long time, spoke about it. Talking about the activities of that multinational peacekeeping mission, he said that all its members are unreservedly committed to ensuring peace and freedom of movement for members of all nationalities in Kosovo. He stressed that the overall security situation in Kosovo is generally stable, adding that the number of KFOR members is now only a few thousand, and that there were tens of thousands at the beginning of that mission. Grasso also stressed that the biggest challenge for KFOR in the coming period will be to strengthen the Kosovo Security Force (KSF), because in parallel with this process, the issue of justifying the existence of two armies in Kosovo will inevitably be raised. Grasso also spoke about when it was the hardest for KFOR members. According to him, it was when conflicts broke out in Kosovo in 2004. KFOR then had to decide whether or not to shoot unarmed civilians. If the decision was made to shoot them, the losses would be huge he said. The following panelists who spoke after Colonel Grasso also intrigued those present, Professor Dr. Leana Vuckovic who spoke about the future cooperation of young people in the institutions of Kosovo and Serbia.
“In my lecture, I wanted to point out the importance of preventing conflict and avoiding misunderstandings that could arise in negotiations and in mutual communication between Serbs and Albanians. In other words, I called them attention to the most important elements for avoiding conflict and reaching a compromise”, Leana said.
Milivoje Mihajlovic, deputy director of RTS, whose topic was “The influence of the media on public opinion” spoke to the participants as well as Mladen Nakic, Vice President of the Atlantic Council of Croatia, who talked about the benefits of Croatia’s NATO membership.