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Dr Svetozar Rajak|
Academic Director
Head of SEIAP, LSE IDEAS
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Balkan Initiative

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The LSE IDEAS Balkan Initiative seeks to promote the study of the Balkans above and beyond simplistic and largely untrue stereotypes. Blamed the “powder keg of Europe”, the region is, at the same time perceived as being somewhere “outside Europe”. Nothing is further from the truth. It was one of the cradles of the European culture – home to ancient Greece and its successor, the thousand-year old Byzantine Empire. It represented Europe’s vital gateway to the Middle East and Asia. In the past two hundred years, the region played an often-critical role in the history of Europe precisely because it was part of it. Today, most Balkan states are members of the EU. The region is firmly imbedded within the geographic, political, socio-economic and cultural area of Southern Europe. As such, the study of the Balkans is part of the Southern Europe International Affairs Programme.

The Balkan Initiative aims to:

  •  Engage in debates on current regional issues
  •  Offer strategic assessment of the region’s future
  •  Assist in defining responses to present and future regional challenges
  •  Promote positive integration of historical legacy as lessons of history

To fulfill these goals, the Balkan Initiative will:

  •  Work with regional governments, academic and research institutions
  •  Assist in the setting up of strategic studies and programmes
  •  Develop collaborative projects with regional policy and academic institutions and encourage and facilitate regional collaboration
  •  Offer Balkan scholars research fellowships at the LSE
  •  Promote awareness of 'shared history' as opposed to 'divisive' history
  •  Provide assistance in the development of advanced scholarship in humanities and social sciences in the region 
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From History as a Burden to Shared History and Beyond
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