The Think and Link Capacity-Building Seminar entitled ‘Strengthening the Role of Evidence-Based Policy in the Western Balkans’ took place in Becici, Budva, Montenegro, on 3-5 May, 2012. The 12 organizations selected within the Call for Applications had a chance to improve their skills through training, networking, and an exchange of information with each other and relevant EU-based think tanks.
The seminar is part of the Think and Link – Regional Policy Programme, designed to foster different debates on the challenges, costs and opportunities of EU member-state building of Western Balkan countries, by supporting and promoting inclusive and evidence-based policy making.
On the first day of the seminar participants had the opportunity to hear the presentation of an EFB Survey, ‘A Tale of Two Generations – From Yugoslavia to the European Union’, presented by Jelena Dzankic (Jean Monnet Fellow, European University Institute, Florence, Italy), Predrag Kurcubic (IPSOS – Strategic Marketing, Belgrade, Serbia) and Marko Sosic (LDP Fellow, European Fund for the Balkans).
Corina Stratulat (Policy Analyst, European Policy Centre, Brussels, Belgium), Daliborka Uljarevic (Director, Centre for Civic Education, Podgorica, Montenegro) and Dusan Reljic (Senior Research Associate, German Institute for International Affairs and Security [SWP], Berlin, Germany) took part in the session related to ‘Democratisation in the WB – 20 years on – From Armed Conflicts to State–Building’.
‘Economic Crisis in the EU and its Consequences on the WB – One Step Forward, Two Steps Back’ was the topic covered by economic experts Gordana Djurovic (Professor of Economics, University of Podgorica, Montenegro), Laza Kekic (Regional Director, Economist Intelligence Unit, London, UK), and Milica Uvalic (Professor of Economics, University of Perugia, Italy).
The day-long seminar finished with a session related to the ‘Balkans and the EU – New Realities’ wherein participants were able to see the point of view of experts like Nida Gelazis (Senior Associate, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington D.C., USA), Ilir Deda (Research Director, Kosovar Institute for Policy Research and Development (KIPRED), and Kristof Bender (Deputy Chairman and Senior Analyst, European Stability Initiative, Vienna, Austria).
Over the next two days two professional teachers Maja Gavrilovic and Louise Shaxon (Overseas Development Institute, London, UK), taught seminar goers about the methodology of gaining policy relevance and policy impact (media, civil society organisations, etc.) and about developing policy impact plans.
After this Capacity-Building Seminar the organizations go on to a research phase lasting six months in which they will carry on with research based on their initial proposals. For any potential changes they will have a chance to get in touch with their teachers to ask them about any potential doubts that could come up during the period of investigation.
“THINK AND LINK” is a region-wide policy programme under the aegis of the European Fund for the Balkans whose purpose is to encourage debate on the challenges, costs and opportunities of building a genuine EU-member state. It is directed towards emerging think tanks, policy-oriented NGOs, independent policy institutes, and policy-relevant research groups from the Western Balkans whose activity is focused on political and social issues and whose interest is the process of EU integration.
The programme seeks to foster inclusive and evidence-based policy making in the Western Balkans by initiating research projects relevant from the perspective of the Copenhagen criteria, embedded in a regional capacity building and networking programme cycle.
For more information about the programme please visit THINK & LINK – Regional Policy Programme
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