September 2019 | ISSUE No. 43 | Price 350 RSD
WE WILL CONTINUE TO SUPPORT SERBIA TO JOIN THE EU
NALED SEPTEMBER GATHERING
Chairman of the European Parliament’s Foreign Policy Committee
IDEAS AND INNOVATION BECOME THE MOST VALUABLE ASSETS ROSARIO STRANO
Intesa Sanpaolo Chief Operating Officer
H.E. MICHAEL DAVENPORT
UK ambassador to Kuwait, former UK ambassador to Serbia and Head of EU Delegation in Belgrade
GOOD OPPORTUNITIES FOR COLLABORATION DR DAVID LANDSMAN
Chairman of British-Serbian Chamber of Commerce
DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION I N
S E R B I A
State Secretary, Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications
NEGOTIATING TO LEAVE THE EU IS NO EASIER THAN NEGOTIATING TO JOIN I CAN’T WAIT TO OPEN THE NEW SEASON
DEATH AND LIFE IN VENICE
HISTORIC HOTELS: Excelsior,
Singer and songwriter FOCUS ON
VOJVODINA IGOR MIROVIĆ
Head of the Government of the AP Vojvodina
SUSTAINABLE REAL ESTATE PLATFORM FOUNDED IN 2002 MORE THAN 30 PROJECTS, THAT HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED SINCE THE COMPANY FOUNDATION CURRENTLY INVESTING 250 MILLION EUROS IN NEW DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS N EW DEVELOPMENTS ARE IN TOTAL 221,000 SQM OF GBA PROJECTS ARE LEED CERTIFIED
Who are Serbian Erin Brockovich's? At the beginning of the month, we held the sixth Digital Conference in Belgrade. For two days, 11 panels and 10 presentations took place and close to 80 participants from across the region spoke to over 500 people in the audience. One of the panels was led by Jovana Gligorijević from Vreme magazine and it was titled "Erin Brockovich, Model 4.0: Social Networks and Civil Initiatives". The panelists were Marija Lukić from Brus, Milan Antonijević from the Open Society Foundation, Sofija Todorović from BIRN Hub who reacted strongly following the unfortunate event that happened in front of a bakery in Borča, Igor Jurić from the Tijana Jurić Foundation, Goran Miletić, Civil Rights Defender, Belgrade, and Aleksandar Jovanović from the Odbranimo Reke Stare Planine initiative. As an introduction to the panel discussion, Jovana said that she moderated many panels at our conferences but this was the first conference where she genuinely admired all the participants. Indeed, the stories of each panellist perfectly reflected the state of the society in which we live. What was particularly striking to me was what Aleksandar was saying. I think that the courage of the people who defend the rivers and streams on the Stara Planina, as well as in other parts of Serbia, deserves the respect and admiration of all of us. As expected, the latest panel - "Welcome to TwitterLand: Truths and Misconceptions about the Twitter Community, Its 'Leaders' and Their 'Subjects'" generated the biggest attention, while the debates about who was invited and why, who said what and who behaved in what way are taking place on the social media even as I am writing this article, which is seven days after the conference. It's incredible to think about how we even got to the place where any dialogue between people who don’t have the same opinions is considered a first-class sensation and is subjected to attacks on both sides. I want to continue to organize conferences at which the likes of the US Ambassador H.E. Kyle Scott, ministers Ružić and Djordjević, Olja Bećković, Slobodan Georgiev, Žaklina Tataović, Olivera Zekić, Jelena Trivan and Stanislava Pak will speak just like people spoke at this Digital Conference. I think it is the duty of all of us who organize events like this to have everyone attend (i.e. people whose actions are legal, people who are not convicted...) who mean something to the society and have a certain number of followers and supporters. Although well-liked by both sides, having ten like-minded people talk will get us nowhere.
WE WILL CONTINUE TO SUPPORT SERBIA TO JOIN THE EU DAVID McALLISTER
Chairman of the European Parliament’s Foreign Policy Committee
NEGOTIATING TO LEAVE THE EU IS NO EASIER THAN NEGOTIATING TO JOIN H.E. MICHAEL DAVENPORT
UK ambassador to Kuwait, former UK ambassador to Serbia and Head of EU Delegation in Belgrade
GOOD OPPORTUNITIES FOR COLLABORATION Dr DAVID LANDSMAN
Chairman of British-Serbian Chamber of Commerce
A TRUE SCHOOL OF DEMOCRACY DRAGAN R. SIMIĆ
Dean of the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Belgrade
DIALOGUE BELONGS IN INSTITUTIONS MILAN ANTONIJEVIĆ
Director of the Open Society Foundation
BITEF IS A HISTORY OF CONTEMPORARY WORLD THEATRE JELENA KNEŽEVIĆ
Executive Director of Bitef
ROBERT ČOBAN Director
www.diplomacyandcommerce.rs TANJA BANKOVIĆ
Editor in Chief
SANJA ŠOJIĆ Journalist
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ASSAD’S HOLLOW VICTORY
Syria Will Poison the Region for Years to Come Basher al-Assad is on the verge of retaking Idlib province, the last rebel stronghold. But that will not end the chaos he has wrought at home and abroad
“Assad or we burn the country.” For years Bashar al-Assad’s troops have daubed that phrase onto walls in the towns they recapture. The insurgents pushed the dictator to the brink. But Mr Assad shrugged off the empty threats of Western leaders, and enlisted the help of Iran and Russia. True to his slogan, he destroyed whole cities and gassed and starved his own people. What rebels remain are holed up in Idlib province. It, too, will soon fall. Against all the odds, the monster has won. Yet it is a hollow victory. Far from bringing order to the country, as the Russians and Iranians claim, Mr Assad has displaced half the population. Eight years of civil war have destroyed the economy and cost 500,000 lives. Mr Assad has nothing good to offer his people. His country will be wretched and divided. The consequences will be felt far beyond its borders. The precise moment of Mr Assad’s triumph will be determined in Idlib. About 3m people live there, many of whom fled fighting elsewhere. The area is controlled by the hardest-core rebels, jihadists linked to al-Qaeda, who will not go quietly. That, too, is a legacy of Mr Assad’s ruthlessness. He released hundreds of jihadists from prison in 2011, hoping that they would taint the once-peaceful, multi-confessional uprising. Now the regime is bombing them, along with civilians and hospitals. The offensive will take time—and it will be bloody. When the fighting stops, the tensions that originally threatened the regime will remain—but they will be worse than ever. Start with religion. Mr Assad’s father, Hafez, a member of the Alawite minority, clung to power partly by holding the line between the country’s faiths. His son, though, painted his Sunni opponents as fundamentalists as a way of rallying Christians, Druze and secular-minded Syrians to his side. Millions of Sunnis have fled the country, creating what Mr Assad calls “a healthier and more homogeneous society”, but mil-
lions remain. They have seen their homes looted, property confiscated and districts overrun by Assad supporters. Resentful, fearful and oppressed, they will be a source of opposition to the regime. Next are Syrians’ grievances. Back in 2011 corruption, poverty and social inequality united the uprising. Things have only got worse. Syria’s gdp is one-third of what it was before the war. The un reckons that more than eight in ten people are poor. Much of the country lies in ruins. But the government’s plans to rebuild Syr-
the war nears its end, the pace of executions is increasing. Almost every Syrian has lost someone close to them in the war. Psychologists speak ominously of a breakdown in society. Last is Mr Assad’s debt to Iran and Russia. He owes his victory to their supply of firepower, advice and money and their willingness to back a pariah. They will expect to be paid, with interest. For Syrians, therefore, Mr Assad’s victory is a catastrophe. But his opponents are exhausted so, in spite of his weaknesses, he could yet
AGAINST ALL THE ODDS, THE MONSTER HAS WON ia risk tearing it further apart. Reconstruction will cost between $250bn and $400bn, but Mr Assad has neither the money nor the manpower to carry it out. So he has focused resources on areas that remained loyal. The Sunni slums that did not are being demolished and redeveloped for his bourgeois supporters. His cronies reap the profits, as the country’s class and religious fault lines grow wider. Then there is Mr Assad’s cruelty. Hafez kept Syria in check with a brutal secret police and occasional campaigns of murderous violence. His son, in danger of losing power, has tortured and killed at least 14,000 people in the regime’s sprawling network of clandestine prisons, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, an ngo. Nearly 128,000 people are thought to remain in the dungeons, though many are probably dead. Even as
cling to power for years. And for as long as he is in charge, Syria’s misery will spread across the region. The war has already drawn in a handful of outside powers, but the chaos could grow. Iran treats Syria as a second front against Israel to complement Hizbullah, its proxy in Lebanon. Israel has launched hundreds of air strikes on Iranian positions during the war. One in August prevented Iranian and Hizbullah operatives from attacking Israel with armed drones, the Israeli army says. Turkey, which has troops in the north, is threatening to launch an offensive against Kurdish forces, whom it considers terrorists, near its border. That could lead to a face-off with America, which supports the Kurds and had been trying to calm the Turks. Refugees will destabilise Syria’s neighbours, too. Those who have fled Mr Assad do not want to
go home—indeed their numbers will grow because of the offensive in Idlib. The longer they stay in camps, the greater the danger that they become a permanent, festering diaspora. They are already unsettling host countries, such as Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, where many locals accuse them of draining resources and taking jobs. Turkey is sending some back, even to places like Idlib. And that could spill over into the wider world. Dispossessed at home and unwanted abroad, refugees are at risk of radicalisation. Mr Assad’s ruthless tactics have left large parts of his population bitter and alienated. His prisons will incubate extremism. What better breeding ground for al-Qaeda and Islamic State (is), which the American government says is already “resurging in Syria”? In May America dropped 54 bombs and missiles on jihadists in Iraq and Syria. That number rose to over 100 in each of June and July. Having failed to act in the war’s early days, when they might have pushed the dictator out, Western countries can do little now to change Syria’s course. Some European leaders think it is time to engage with Mr Assad, participate in reconstruction and send the refugees home. This is misguided. The refugees will not return willingly. Reconstruction will only benefit the regime and the warlords and foreigners who backed it. Better to let Russia and Iran pay. Instead the West should try to spare Syria’s suffering by offering strictly humanitarian assistance and threatening retribution for heinous acts, such as the use of chemical weapons. America should stay to keep is and al-Qaeda in check. But for as long as Mr Assad is allowed to misrule Syria, most aid money would be better spent helping its neighbours. Syrians have suffered terribly. With Mr Assad’s victory, their misery will go on. From The Economist, published under licence. The original article, in English, can be found on www.economist.com
We Will Continue to Support Serbia to Join the EU Serbia has undertaken important economic reforms. Nevertheless, in some policy areas such as the reform of the judiciary, the fight against corruption and the guarantee of media freedom are among the most important tasks ahead DAVID McALLISTER Chairman of the European Parliament’s Foreign Policy Committee
David McAllister made his first visit to Serbia in late August following his appointment as the Chairman of the European Parliament's Foreign Policy Committee. He last visited Belgrade at the end of February, in his position of the rapporteur of the European Parliament for Serbia. As a person who is very knowledgeable of the situation in our country, Mr McAllister came to Serbia at a crucial moment when the opposition is weighing whether boycott the elections or not, and when the authorities and the opposition have finally engaged in dialogue. Brussels is not keen to see election boycott in Serbia, since the question is
THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT IS READY TO ENGAGE IN ESTABLISHING A PROCESS OF INTERPARTY DIALOGUE WITH THE PARTIES IN THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY whether, in this case, the future government would have the legitimacy to deal with important issues; first and foremost with the
negotiations with Pristina. Mr McAllister also said that a possible boycott of the upcoming elections in Serbia would not contribute to
AGREEMENT WITH THE EURASIAN ECONOMIC UNION If Serbia signs an agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union, the country also needs to specify its exit clause after joining the European Union, David McAllister said during his visit. Mr McAllister also underlined that the text of the Free Trade Agreement between the Eurasian Economic Union and Serbia should be in line with Belgrade's obligations stemming from the Stabilization and Association Agreement, or it should include an "exit clause", which guarantees that Serbia can cancel the agreement prior to the accession to the Union.
the strengthening of democratic institutions. The European Parliament is closely following the roundtable discussions between the authorities and the opposition at Belgrade's Faculty of Political Science and is ready to help with the two sides finding a common language, Mr McAllister added. During his two-day visit, he talked to all key political and social stakeholders in Serbia. In addition to the Serbian President, Aleksandar Vučić and the EU Integration Minister, Jadranka Joksimović, Mr McAllister met with the ruling majority as well as the opposition, announcing that Eduard Kukan and Knut Fleckenstein would come to Serbia to talk to all parliamentary groups and see how the European Union can help improve the Parliament’s work. Continuation of reforms and Serbia’s progress were the main topics of conversation
with the Serbian President, Aleksandar Vučić. Mr McAllister also said that he had come to Serbia "to listen to others," that he would inform Brussels about everything he had heard and that there would be more visits to Belgrade soon. “One country, one nation, one parliament, but very, very different views of individual members of parliament. The diversity in attitudes I have seen is really big," concluded David McAllister after the visit. In an exclusive interview for the September issue of Diplomacy & Commerce magazine, Mr McAllister talks about his impressions of his two-day visit to Serbia.
identified in talks with the state authorities and the opposition?
Are you satisfied with the outcome of your visit to Serbia? What was the reason for your visit?
opposition organized by the Open Society Foundation and the Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade? What is your position on this and a possible election boycott?
— I had the opportunity to discuss with government and parliamentarians from different political parties as well as with civil society the latest developments in Serbia. Serbia is working on its path towards the European Union. The European Parliament will continue to support the country’s efforts to join the EU. What is the biggest problem
— Serbia has undertaken important economic reforms. Nevertheless, in some policy areas such as the reform of the judiciary, the fight against corruption and the guarantee of media freedom are among the most important tasks ahead. Do you follow the dialogue between the authorities and the
ety Foundation) about the state of play of the roundtable. The leader of the Free Citizens Movement, Sergej Trifunović, sent you a letter. What kind of answer will you send back?
— I read Mr Trifunović’s letter with interest. The European Parliament is ready to engage in establishing a process of inter-party dialogue with the parties in the National
SERBIA SHOULD NOW FOCUS ON THE WORK ON THE GROUND AND ON IMPLEMENTING ALREADY ADOPTED REFORMS
— I welcome that members of the ruling coalition and members of the opposition are engaged in a dialogue organised by the Open Society Foundation, in cooperation with the Belgrade Faculty of Political Science. I had a very interesting briefing by Miodrag Milosavljević (from the Open Soci-
Assembly. The EU can support and mediate between the parties, but a sustainable solution can only be found in Serbia itself. In its previous report, the European Commission expressed its concern about the work done by parliaments in Serbia, freedom of speech and the fight against organized crime and corruption. Has anything improved?
— The European Commission`s report on Serbia was only presented at the end of May. The European Parlia-
ment will now determine the standing rapporteurs for the Western Balkan countries continue to monitor each country’s progress on its path towards the EU. As regards Serbia, it is a step forward that the members of the coalition and the opposition have started a dialogue on how to improve parliamentary work. You talked with the Serbian President about the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, which came to a standstill in November last year when the Kosovo government introduced a 100% tax on goods from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. What has the EU done in this regard? Is it going to intervene?
— The EU institutions, the Member States and the United States have repeatedly called on the government in Pristina to suspend the tariffs to allow a swift resumption of the Dialogue. We will continue to do so. Do you expect Serbia to open new chapters by the end of the year?
— I certainly hope that the Member States will decide to open additional chapters in December. Serbia should now focus on the work on the ground and on implementing already adopted reforms.
Negotiating to Leave the EU is No Easier than Negotiating to Join The most recent European Commission report on Serbia’s accession highlights many of the same issues, especially in the areas of rule of law and media freedom, about which the EU Delegation expressed concern during my mandate
H.E. MICHAEL DAVENPORT UK ambassador to Kuwait, former UK ambassador to Serbia and Head of EU Delegation in Belgrade
Ambassador Michael Davenport lived in Serbia for seven years; first as the UK ambassador and subsequently as the Head of the EU Delegation in Serbia. Today, Mr Davenport is the UK ambassador to Kuwait. He was kind enough to give us an interview in which he talks about the topics related to Serbia, Brexit, the situation in the Middle East and many other issues. After seven years spent in Serbia, as the UK ambassador (2011-2014) and the Head of the EU Delegation in Belgrade (2014-2017), it would be great to hear your opinion about Serbia
in 2011, Serbia in 2017 and Serbia today.
the aspiration of successive Serbian leaders to take Serbia into the European Union, and especially to attend the formal opening of negotiations when I was Head of Delegation. The most recent
my mandate. It is good to see these important matters being tackled.
I WAS PLEASED TO BE ABLE TO SUPPORT THE ASPIRATION OF SUCCESSIVE SERBIAN LEADERS TO TAKE SERBIA INTO THE EUROPEAN UNION, AND ESPECIALLY TO ATTEND THE FORMAL OPENING OF NEGOTIATIONS WHEN I WAS HEAD OF DELEGATION
— The British people voted in 2016 to leave the European Union, and successive governments since then have sought to implement the people’s will. Negotiating to leave the EU, for which there is no precedent, is no easier than negotiating to join. Where we end up will, of course, depend on the outcome of current negotiations and elected parliamentarians in all 28 countries. In any scenario, I am confident that close co-operation on common challenges between the UK and EU partners will remain a high priority.
— It was a great privilege to serve in Belgrade both as the EU and as British Ambassador. My family and I made many dear friends in
Serbia, whom we miss very much. We have been fortunate to host some of them in Kuwait and are in regular contact with many people in what became our second home. I was pleased to be able to support
European Commission report on Serbia’s accession highlights many of the same issues, especially in the areas of rule of law and media freedom, about which the EU Delegation expressed concern during
As the Head of the EU Delegation in Belgrade, could you comment on the current situation with Brexit in the UK? Which scenario do you expect to happen?
With Kuwait’s Foreign Minister marking 120 years of Kuwaiti/British friendship
The situation in the Middle East has been fragile for the last 40 years, more or less. This year is the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Could you tell us how you see the present situation?
— The Middle East is a highly volatile region beset by violent conflicts creating humanitarian crises and untold human suffering in Syria, Yemen, Libya and elsewhere. It is essential to support international efforts to resolve these conflicts, especially through the United Nations. Resolution of the Arab-Israel dispute - based on the two-state solution - becomes more urgent every day. Britain is committed, along with EU partners, to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran, as the best means of ensuring international accountability of Iran’s nuclear industry. But in parallel Iran must halt its activities to undermine regional stability and threaten international shipping.
Guest at a traditional Kuwait Diwaniya
KUWAIT, ALONG WITH THE UK, IS A MAJOR DONOR, SUPPORTING INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS, LED BY THE UN AND THE INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS, TO RELIEVE SUFFERING IN WAR ZONES SUCH AS YEMEN AND SYRIA! tal human rights nor improved standards of living will be more widely respected or achieved. Kuwait, along with the UK, is a major donor, supporting international efforts, led by the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross, to relieve suffering in war zones such as Yemen and Syria. Lasting peace, however, can only be arrived at through dialogue and political compromises.
You were the Head of the EU Delegation in Belgrade when the Balkan migrant route was opened in 2015. Today, four years later, what do you think of the current situation (the mistakes made by the EU, USA, Balkan countries, Turkey)?
— The migration crisis has presented a major challenge to all European countries, exposing shortcomings in border manage-
As the UK ambassador to Kuwait, what is your comment on the results of the Arab Spring from 2011 until the present?
— I served in Egypt before the Arab Spring and later watched the initial excitement and euphoria over prospects for serious reforms being dashed and disappointed. People across the whole region deserve to live in peace and dignity, without which neither fundamen-
Celebrating Ramadan with young Kuwaiti entrepreneurs
ment across the continent. I was proud of the major contribution which the EU Delegation in Serbia made at the height of the crisis in 2015 to help Serbia meet its responsibilities towards refugees and migrants arriving in the country. Working closely with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and others, the EU Delegation was instrumental in ensuring that Serbia’s facilities for welcoming refugees and migrants met international standards. I am pleased that more recently Serbia has also shown a responsible approach towards those who have sought refuge in Serbia for the longer term. When voting was first introduced in Kuwait in 1985, Kuwaiti women had the right to vote. This right was later removed. What is the situation today?
— In May 2005 the Kuwaiti parliament passed a law to give women the right to vote. I have had the opportunity to meet some of those women, such as the remarkable Loulwa Al Mulla, who led a campaign over many years to achieve this historic outcome. Kuwait is justifiably proud of its longstanding tradition of debate, as seen in its culture of “Diwaniyas”, or informal gatherings of citizens, and as we see today in the burgeoning activism of NGOs on environmental issues.
IT WAS MY PRIVILEGE TO HELP PEOPLE REBUILD THEIR BUSINESSES AND THEIR LIVES AFTER FLOODS OF 2014 Which are your favourite places (towns, villages, restaurants, museums...) and persons in Serbia? — Too many to list them all! I am of course especially honoured to be an Honorary Citizen of Pančevo in Vojvodina. However, there is a very special place in my heart for those towns and villages in Serbia which were worst affected by the catastrophic floods of 2014. Ordinary citizens in
towns like Obrenovac, Šabac, Trstenik, Svilajnac, and other places along the Morava and Mlava rivers, showed remarkable fortitude in the face of the sudden flooding. For the wonderful team at the EU Delegation it was a privilege to be part of a major programme to rebuild houses, schools and roads, and to help people rebuild their businesses and their lives. Without EU financial and logistic support this would certainly have taken a good deal longer.
Visit to the flood affected areas 2014
in September & October
ARRIVALS & DEPARTURES
GILLES BESCHOOR PLUG
New Ambassador of the Netherlands
Gilles Beschoor Plug arrived in Serbia in August 2019 and presented his credentials to H.E. the President in September. Having studied law at Erasmus University Rotterdam in the previous century, Gilles joined the Foreign Service and was posted in the lower ranks in Moscow, Nairobi and Damascus – the linking factor obviously being their geographical location at the same longitude. From 2015 until August 2019 he was
the Dutch ambassador in Tel Aviv. Consequently, he has acquired some experience in the fields of conflict resolution, societal changes, humanitarian aid, and trade and investment, mostly in Eastern Europe and the Middle East – but these regions host too much diversity and too many perspectives for diplomats to be labeled as a kind of expert. Gilles is married to Louise Wesseling, who is an indispensable ally in his work.
Grito de Dolores
The First Junta Day
St. Wenceslas Day
New Ambassador of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
MacLeod graduated from the Royal Academy of Music with a BMus degree in 1983. She joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1986 and served in Moscow 1988–92. After the collapse of the Soviet Union she served briefly as deputy head of mission in Vilnius, Lithuania, in 1992. She then returned to the FCO until she was posted to The Hague 1996–2000. She was sent back to Moscow 2004–07, first as political counsellor and then as min-
ister and deputy head of mission. She was ambassador to the Czech Republic 2009–13 and was appointed to be head of the UK delegation to the OSCE in 2015 (with the rank of ambassador). MacLeod was appointed OBE in 2002 "in recognition of services in support of operations in Afghanistan during the period 1st October 2001 to 31st March 2002". She is married to Richard Robinson, they have three children.
INDIA ahatma Gandhi’s M Birthday
SHEHRYAR AKBAR KHAN
German Unity Day
New Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
New Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Shehryar Akbar Khan arrived in Serbia in September 2019. Ambassador Mr. Shehryar Akbar Khan holds Masters in Business Administration (2004) and Bachelors of Science (Honors, 1990). He was Third Secretary at the Embassy of Pakistan, People's Democratic Republic of Algeria;
First Secretary/Counsellor at the Embassy of Pakistan, Budapest (Hungary); Consul / Head of Mission, Consulate of Pakistan, Glasgow (United Kingdom) and Consul General Consulate General of Pakistan, Jeddah (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia). Mr. Shehryar Akbar Khan has held different posts at Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad.
aecheonjeol, ancient G Korea founded in 2333 BC
JEAN-LOUIS FALCONI New Ambassador of France
Ambassador Falconi was born on 8 February 1964. He graduated from the College of Economic and Trade Studies, the Institute for Political Studies He completed the National School of Administration (ENA), “Viktor Igo” class, 1991. Ambassador Faconi was decorated with the Knight of the National Order of Merit. He speaks English and German. He was Ambassador, Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office and International Organizations (Vienna), Director for International, Strategic and Technological at the Prime Minister’s Office, Director for International, Strategic and
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Departures During the Elusive Summer of 2019
Ambassadors of six important countries have completed their tenure in Serbia, with more departures announced by the year-end This summer, that is slowly winding down, was the last summer in Belgrade for many ambassadors. There was a lot of talk about that at the receptions during the elusive summer of 2019, while some of them were farewell receptions. The suitcases were packed and the return tickets were purchased by the Norwegian Ambassador Arne Sannes Bjørnstad, Russian Ambassador Alexander Chepurin, Dutch Ambassador Hendrik van den Dool, British Ambassador Denis Keefe, Montenegrin Ambassador Branislav Mićunović, and French Ambassador Frédéric Mondoloni. In addition, Jenny Sedov, Deputy Ambassador of Israel, completed her assignment in Serbia. The US Ambassador Kyle Scott has announced his departure by the end of this year. The season of senior officials’ departure from Serbia began in early June, with Arne Sannes Bjørnstad, who was appointed the ambassador to Serbia on September 1st, 2015. Bjørnstad was also declared an honorary citizen of Belgrade in 2016. He began his career in 1990, at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a Legal Affairs Officer in the Delivery Department.. During his tenure in Belgrade, he did not hesitate to comment on internal political developments, so most Serbian citizens will probably remember him mostly for that. His replacement has not been revealed as yet. Russian ambassador Alexander Chepurin also left, but he also left a book about Serbia. He had been the ambassador since 2012 and during that time he became well-acquainted with Serbia. His subsequently described his experiences with the country in his book. Chepurin was succeeded by Alexander Botsan-Harchenko, who is likely to do well in this position, which is not surprising given that he is very knowledgeable about the Balkans. In July, the Dutch ambassador Hendrik van den Dool left Serbia
Arne Sannes Bjørnstad
Hendrik van den Dool
after four years. After working as a journalist, he joined the Dutch diplomatic service in 1987. The ambassador's main areas of expertise and interest are European integration, human rights and transformation processes in Central and Eastern Europe. British Ambassador Denis Keefe also left his post in Belgrade this summer. Keefe spent five years in the Serbian capital. Following his appointment as the new ambassador to Serbia, Keefe announced in January 2014 that he was "delighted with the challenge, at the moment when Serbia begins EU accession talks." He has devoted much of his career to developing relations between Britain and the European Union with the countries of Eastern and Central Europe. Branislav Mićunović also left the post of the ambassador after the celebration of the National Day of Montenegro, on July 13th. Before his tenure as an ambassador, he had never worked on diplomatic missions. He is a former Minister of Culture in the Government of Montenegro, theatre director, a longtime professor of acting at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade [and at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Cetinje] where he is also the Head of Postgraduate Studies, President of the National Commission for UNESCO and the National Culture Council. After leaving his position as the Montenegrin Ambassador, he plans to retire. His successor will be Tarzan Milošević. Jenny Sedov has been the Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of the State of Israel to the Republic of Serbia and to Montenegro, since July 2016. Prior to joining the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, she has been working as a Legal Advisor and Attorney. Jenny graduated from the University of Manchester with a Law Degree (LLB) and passed her Bar exam in Israel in 2011. She speaks Hebrew, English and Russian.
Focus on Climate Will something change after Amazon?
In August, tens of thousands of fires were recorded across the Amazon rainforest, with dramatic images and statistics reported daily across the world’s media. Both the scale of the fires and the erratic response from the Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro have garnered attention, with politicians, newspapers and commentators all weighing in on how events were playing out. The media highlighted various factors that could have worsened this year’s Amazon fires, including climate change, deforestation, meat consumption… Climate change can exacerbate wildfires by
rising temperatures and increasing the chances of drought. Both of these factors can create “tinderbox” conditions, meaning that – once ignited – a fire can spread very quickly over large areas of land. Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world, spanning an area that is 25 times the size of the UK. The forest currently accounts for around a quarter of the CO2 removal service provided by the world’s forests each year. Parallel to the Amazon fires, a meeting of the Nordic prime ministers was held in Reykjavik (20th August). Sustainability and climate change were the main issues discussed. The new vision of the Nordic Council of Ministers
articulates clearly that they want Nordic co-operation to be a more effective instrument in efforts to make the Nordic Region the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030. The other agenda topics were also addressed in light of the climate situation. The challenges faced by the planet and the climate concerns being expressed more and more strongly, especially by the younger generations, must be taken seriously, the new vision states. “The Nordic countries have the opportunity to take the lead in global climate efforts. We’re ready to take on this role,” said Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir,
H.E. KIMMO LÄHDEVIRTA Ambassador of Finland to Serbia
Climate change, declining biodiversity and the overconsumption of natural resources are considered by the Government of Finland to be among the most significant challenges of our times. This is reflected in the Government Programme, as well as in the programme of Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU from 1st July until 31st December 2019. Solving the sustainability crisis and mitigating climate change is possible but it requires a prompt, bold and determined action. For example, the Finnish government has pledged to make our country carbon neutral by 2035 and, as
who chaired the meeting. Nordic co-operation is based on values and those shared values make it easier for decision-makers in the region to agree on the most important steps to take. The prime ministers underlined that all segments of Nordic co-operation would need to adopt new and clearer priorities to make the region greener, more competitive, as well as socially and culturally more sustainable and that that would entail joint innovation, education and research initiatives. We asked the diplomatic representatives of the Nordic countries to tell us about this event and how it would affect their operations in Serbia. the country that presides over the EU, to take forward the common target of the EU carbon neutrality by 2050. In order to underline the importance of these issues and our ambition in addressing them, even the slogan for our EU Presidency reflects that - “Sustainable Europe – Sustainable Future”. Furthermore, “climate change” is the first term mentioned in the government programme, according to Prime Minister Antti Rinne. Climate change has to be at the forefront because we do not want it to be the end of us. The sustainability aspect is taken into consideration in the Embassy’s everyday activities. For example, we look for sustainable alternatives while making purchases, we try to reduce waste and recycle as much as possible, and we partici-
pate in events such as cleaning of the Sava Quay organized by the EU Delegation and the Serbian government on 14th June this year. Moreover, we raise the issues of climate change and environmental protection in our talks with the local counterparts whenever possible, having in mind the importance of
these issues in general, but also for Serbia’s EU integration process. Finland has expertise in climate-friendly and sustainable solutions, and we are always happy to share it with our partners in Serbia and the region. We do not have funds for bilateral cooperation but we encourage our partners to make
use of the funding opportunities provided by the EU, such as the Twinning and TAIEX instruments. Our Embassy in Belgrade also covers Montenegro and North Macedonia and with the latter, we have had good cooperation on two sustainability-related Twinning projects so far, focusing on air quality and na-
ture protection. There is also room for improvement in trade cooperation in these segments since Finland is one of the frontrunners in clean technologies. It is the Embassy’s job to spread knowledge about these opportunities and for instance, we are doing that by organizing seminars, visits and events.
ANDERS CHRISTIAN HOUGAARD
preparing a binding climate law. Among the first steps were to appoint a minister for climate issues and to issue a political manifesto with a vision for a green transition, listed above all other social and economic programmes as a government priority. The mentioned manifesto implies building in a more efficient manner, introducing more levies on plastic, increasing forestation, improving infrastructure, making air transport more sustainable, reducing food waste, etc. This shows how seriously the Danish society takes the ever so pressing issue of climate change. At the Embassy, we are always aiming to align with the goals and priorities of the Danish government. In previous years, we had great success in promoting Danish values through exhibitions and by bringing Danish experts on sustainability to inform and support our local partners. In Serbia, there is great interest in sustainable architecture, so last year we participated in BINA, bringing renowned experts to promote and teach about Danish creative and green solutions
in this field. We like to practice what we preach, so all the Embassy’s branding material is made out of recycled paper and with the current focus on reducing carbon emissions, the embassy staff will cut back on flying when taking business trips in the region. The Nordic Prime Ministers concluded in Rey-
kjavik that we are stronger in fighting climate changes together. The Nordic embassies in Serbia already have an excellent cooperation, and together with the Nordic Council of Ministers, we will ensure that Nordic values are presented in a practical way and as a good example to the Serbian public during 2020.
H.E. JOACHIM WAERNA
more too and step up their efforts in finding new innovative and sustainable solutions. Sweden is one of the biggest bilateral donors to Serbia when it comes to supporting clean environment and sustainability. This cooperation is focused on assisting Serbia to become a member of the European Union, investing in green and sustainable solutions in areas such as wastewater and waste treatment. There is also an ambition to change the people’s mindset so that they become more interested in recycling waste and keeping the cities and Serbia’s beautiful countryside clean. If we can also influence people to smoke less that would not only benefit the environment, but also people’s health.
Ambassador of Denmark to Serbia
It is an overwhelming topic, and Denmark takes it seriously! Particularly and overall by present¬ing creative sustainable solutions. Our new government, with the youngest ever prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, vows to take the newly elected parliament and our society in the most ambitious direction, when it comes to tackling climate change. However, this new vision also means that we Danes must change our lifestyle in order to achieve a greener and more sustainable way of life. With Greenland and Faroe Islands as part of the Kingdom, global warming is a visible problem and an immediate challenge for Denmark. A concrete goal is to reduce carbon emissions, making a cut of 70% by 2030 and becoming completely carbon neutral by 2050. In addition to this, Denmark has introduced “climate ambassadors,” and the government is
The Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Sweden
Sustainability and climate change is maybe the most serious challenge we all face, today, as do future generations. Nordic cooperation regarding climate change is crucial for Sweden and our Nordic neighbours. It is high time to pay even more attention to the importance of mitigating several of the biggest threats to our planet. Climate and sustainability are key issues, where the Nordic countries together have much to contribute, or at least be inspirational to other regions and countries. The state and the business community need to collaborate
Sustainable Solutions for Global Impact As the world faces increasing economic, social and environmental challenges, wouldn’t it be great if people all over the world could effortlessly search for and find the best sustainable solutions suited to solving their needs, all at the touch of a button?
Visual identity: Norway
Focus on protecting and saving our environment is nothing new. Ever since the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm 1972, heads of state, environmental experts, scientists and heads of business have been arguing the perils and possibilities of a more sustainable future. Confounded by what appeared to be two opposing forces, socio-economic development on the one side, environment on the other, it would take another ten, ecologically unfriendly years before any form of consensus was reached. Formed in December 1983, at the request of UN Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, the World Commission on Environment and Development, was to, independently of the UN, focus on environmental and developmental problems and solutions. The
Brundtland Commission, as it is more commonly known today, first headed by former Prime Minister of Norway Gro Harlem Brundtland, was instrumental in rethinking the relationship between environment and development. Today, our common understanding of the term “Sustainable Development” is thanks to the Report of the Brundtland Commission. “Our Shared Future” published in 1987, setting the notion that environment and develop-
ment are interdependent. "Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." Gro Harlem Brundtland, Head of the Brundtland Commission, 1984 – 1987.
Building on the groundbreaking work from the Brundtland Commission, and as an Advocate for the UN Sustainable Development
WE NEED TO BE GREENER, SMARTER AND MORE INNOVATIVE
Goals (SDGs), The Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg set a bold challenge. In 2017, the Prime Minister entrusted Innovation Norway, the governmental body for value creation and development for enterprises and industry, with the assignment to make more sustainable solutions available to a global audience, helping businesses around the world achieve their own sustainability goals. The Prime Minister’s goal was clear: “We need to be greener, smarter and more innovative.”
POSITIONING NORWAY FOR THE FUTURE
A major part of Norway's economy has been based on revenues from the oil and gas sector. This economic model, that is far from sustainable, demands that Norway first and foremost takes responsibility for making the future more viable. To mark this transition, Norway would need to use its nation brand to signal a new beginning. To tackle the challenge and facilitate the process, Innovation Norway partnered with Scandinavian Design Group, one of the largest multidisciplinary, strategic design agencies in the Nordics. Scandinavian Design Group is part of I&F Grupa one of the leading marketing communications networks in Southeast
Europe and the Nordic region To drive the process forward, Scandinavian Design Group implemented design methodologies to decipher, conceptualise and activate the various elements of Norway’s new nation brand. While building a framework for a relevant and credible positioning, it was found that Norway had the opportunity to build on perceptions associated with the key attributes; “pioneer” and “sustainability”. Norway has already established international credibility within these areas. The positioning also corresponds with Norway’s international commitments to the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals as outlined by the UN. Historically Norwegians have forged a living from sea and land, developing a deep and fundamental belief that the world's resources must be managed in a sustainable way. A pioneering mindset, that is just as relevant today, has inspired technological solutions that work to solve the constant challenges that nature and society demand – combining respect for nature with industry innovation to advance progress towards a sustainable future. This has laid the foundation for Norway’s new positioning statement: A pioneer in the use of new technology and digitalization helping find solutions to the world's economic, social and environmental challenges.
In a globalised world, studies by OECD show that countries with a strong nation brand enjoy competitive advantages when compared with countries with weaker nation brands. To reinforce Norway’s position, a dynamic concept for Brand Norway was developed. This included a new visual identity and a digital marketplace named The Explorer, where Norwegian companies connect with businesses worldwide.
ing people and business through sustainable innovation.
DESIGNING FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
The world now has a new digital arena that showcases sustainable solutions and acts as a matching service between companies buying and selling green technology. This is an important step in meeting the UN's global goals whilst increasing sustainable Norwegian exports in the transition from oil
A PIONEER IN THE USE OF NEW TECHNOLOGY AND DIGITALIZATION HELPING FIND SOLUTIONS TO THE WORLD'S ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES As the world faces increasing economic, social and environmental challenges, wouldn’t it be great if people all over the world could effortlessly search for and find the best sustainable solutions suited to solving their needs, all at the touch of a button? The Explorer is an active arena where the world can explore, discover and experience sustainable solutions. It brings together and showcases pioneering companies that drive progress by integrating business and sustainability. With easy access to green technology, market insight, resources and tools The Explorer is a forum that sparks interest, inspires thinking and initiates conversations; connect-
and gas to greener sectors. The national launch of Brand Norway and The Explorer took place at Norway’s Innovation Speech on May 31st, 2018 and was introduced by Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister and Chair of the Brundtland Commission and Anita Krohn Traaseth, former CEO of Innovation Norway. The international launch took place at the Greentech Awards in Berlin, May 2019 presented by HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway. It's too early to measure The Explorer’s full impact on people’s perceptions of Norway and its success as a strategic export initiative. But what we do know
is that The Explorer has inspired new players within green technology to become involved towards a common purpose. The ‘Future Brand Country Index’, a comprehensive report on nations’ ‘brand power’ with regards to purpose, experience and reputation, concluded that Norway had risen four places, reaching second place, scoring highly on the key attributes of Sustainability and Advanced Technology and Innovation. This increase in perception of Norway’s nation brand affirms the relevance of its strategic positioning; ’pioneering sustainability’ on a global scale. United by The Brundtland Commission’s definition of “Sustainable Development”, we understand that these issues affect us all. More than ever, success is only possible if we work together. On the global stage, Norway has started to show that even the smallest of countries can play an important role in ushering us together, in search of better solutions. Better for people, planet and prosperity. Authors: LIV MARIT NÆSS Client Director, Brand Norway (Scandinavian Design Group) JOHN FIELDING Brand Strategist, Brand Norway (Scandinavian Design Group) NICK BILMES Creative Director (Scandinavian Design Group) To find out more visit: www.theexplorer.no
Good Opportunities for Collaboration My plan very much is to grow our membership and make sure that we have something to offer for every company in Britain or Serbia that wants to do business or can see those opportunities
Dr DAVID LANDSMAN Chairman of British-Serbian Chamber of Commerce
The new Chairman of the British-Serbian Chamber of Commerce, David Landsman visited Serbia in early September. In an interview for Diplomacy&Commerce, Dr Landsman talks about his vision of Serbia, the opportunities for cooperation and further plans. Can you tell us more about your visit to Serbia?
— We've had a very full programme. The reason we chose these dates was because of the 24 hours of excellence programme in which the British-Serbian Cham-
ber was a partner. But we've also taken the opportunity while we're here to meet with a lot of people from the Prime Minister to the State Secretary at the Infrastructure Ministry, the Innovation Fund, as well and some British companies and Cambridge Judge Business School. We met with Innovation Fund to promote the relationship between innovation fund and the work they're doing with Serbian entrepreneurs and the University of Cambridge in the area of entrepreneurship. So altogether we're trying to do a lot of different things. We also met with the representatives of the USAID-funded programme for Serbian food producers because those producers came last week to London to the specialty trade fair. It is very important to remember that we are a
two-way chamber, so we are helping Serbian companies to go to the UK, as well as British companies come to Serbia. We believe there's great scope in working through the excellent USAID programme to help producers establish long-term markets in the UK. We also talked about the possibility of education for food producers in Serbia, which is also something we're going to explore. Furthermore, we had a very good meeting with the Prime Minister who offered us her full support and commitment to improving the economic relationship between the two countries. We talked about the infrastructure opportunities with the State Secretary. And of course, we met our British companies; famous names like Jaguar, Land Rover, Grant’s Whiskey, all the big names, as well as the wonderful fashion houses at Beli Dvor. I'm very encouraged because everybody - from the Prime Minister downwards, if you like - has shown interest and commitment. We also talked with the Prime Minister about Brexit and the need to
then and how today?
— Of course, the world's changed hugely in the last 20 years. When I was here, in Belgrade, it was a very difficult time for Serbia and also a very difficult time for the relationship between Serbia and Great Britain. Nevertheless, I made a lot of very good friends here back then, and I'm also in touch with them today despite the political situation at the time. I think I became a friend of Serbia. The country has changed a great deal, and for the better. The potential for a close relationship between Serbia and Great Britain is incomparably better than it was then. You were recently appointed Chairman of the British-Serbian Chamber of Commerce. What are your plans?
— I think the role of chambers of commerce has changed over the years. There is so much information available. What chambers of commerce can do, when there is so much information and so many opportunities, is to help create the space for particular opportunities;
IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT WE ARE A TWO-WAY CHAMBER, SO WE ARE HELPING SERBIAN COMPANIES TO GO TO THE UK, AS WELL AS BRITISH COMPANIES COME TO SERBIA ensure that whatever happens in the UK, and we don't know that at the moment, we can facilitate and improve the relationship between Serbia and the UK, and where there are legal agreements required for that, there is a will to pursue those. For me, it was a very encouraging start. We will pick up some opportunities from this. You were in Serbia in the 1990s. How did our country look to you
for highlighting the opportunities in Serbia to British business and vice versa. Of course, the chamber will still continue providing information but it's through our networks and through our membership that we can make a difference and raise the profile of one country in other country. So my plan, very much, is to grow our membership, make sure that we have something to offer for every company in Britain or Serbia that wants to
do business or can see those opportunities. Whether they're big companies, huge, famous names or a startup, the opportunity exists both ways. We want to grow our membership and make sure we have something really concrete to offer for each company because, in the end, we can talk about Britain and about Serbia as countries, but the business comes from individual companies and finding opportunities and that's where we can help at the practical level. We also work in a network with all regional deals. We look at the whole region. What are the reasons for your members doing business in Serbia? What attracts them?
— I think the numbers speak for themselves in the sense that Serbia is the number one country for attracting foreign direct investments relative to its size. The statistics show that there the ease of doing business has improved. I think that there are opportunities here in an expanding economy. People want quality British products. And we have British products on offer - from cars and beverages to education and fashion. I think there are huge opportunities for British companies in the areas of
infrastructure development. Serbia has very ambitious infrastructure plans for railway, European corridors, and so on, that are ready. Because these are part of European corridors and they are financed, in many cases, through those programmes or international ones, there is a big opportunity there. There is also confidence that these are serious programmes and that they will be sustainable
— I think what we have seen with the food is there is a unique combination of the natural, healthy products that Serbia has to offer. There is also the technical sophistication required to produce and market these for the British market. I think there is genuinely something new here, and after what I saw in London last week and what I've seen this week, I would expect that you will see
I THINK WHAT WE HAVE SEEN WITH THE FOOD IS THERE IS A QUITE GOOD COMBINATION OF THE NATURAL, HEALTHY PRODUCTS THAT SERBIA HAS TO OFFER and supported. There are plenty of opportunities for British expertise, technical expertise and whatever is needed to support those areas. That’s why I think British companies are increasingly looking into parts of Europe where there is still plenty of room for growth and a broadly positive perspective. You said that the opportunity lies in food industry. Do you have Serbian products in Britain now?
quite a few Serbian food products in our delicatessen shops, health food shops or premium food shops, and probably through e-commerce as well within a year. There are, of course, raspberries, fresh ones. Serbia has been the leading producer of raspberries. But they've been mostly frozen raspberries that have gone onto the international market. Now, there is work put in producing varieties that can stay fresh. This is something which has started
slowly and I think it's going to accelerate. I am sure that if you come to London in a year or two, you'll see plenty of Serbian products on the shop shelves. How can we make greater progress in the relations between the two countries?
— Well, we've talked about infrastructure. British companies can come here and provide their support to infrastructure developments in Serbia. There are a lot of British companies with all sorts of technical capabilities. We will be looking for investment possibilities in some of those projects as well. As for the other way round, I am not sure that Britain has taken enough advantage yet of the IT capabilities and skills in Serbia. There's probably more potential there that we still need to explore and that I need to explore a great deal about. But I think there is potential there too. I genuinely think this can be two way - there are areas where we could look for sectors where Serbia is competitive in the UK and vice versa. One thing is for sure, we're not competing. On the whole, our markets are not competitive, they are complementary.
Ideas and Innovation Become the Most Valuable Assets Exciting times are ahead for those who are ready to use these opportunities
while also playing a crucial role in the promotion and preservation of cultural heritage on a global scale. When thinking about the period to come, I would say that all the industries face similar prospects, such as: a sound international presence, fast-developing markets, sustaining profits in an unsettling global economic environment and tapping on fresh opportunities emerging from digitalization and technological development. Exciting times are ahead for those who are ready to use these opportunities.
ROSARIO STRANO Intesa Sanpaolo Chief Operating Officer
Rosario Strano has been holding the post of Intesa Sanpaolo Chief Operating Officer since January 2018. He started building his impressive professional profile within Intesa Sanpaolo in 2002, when he joined the Group as Head of Human Resources and Organization of the Italian and International Subsidiary Banks Divisions. He served as Head of Human Resources and Organization within the International Subsidiary Banks Division between 2007 and 2009 and then continued his career as Head of Resources & Governance Department between 2009 and 2015. He was appointed Group Human Resources Director in 2015 and took on the responsibility of Chief Operating Officer Area in 2018. He is also Member of the Board of Directors of Bank of Qingdao and of Intesa Sanpaolo Group Services. Before joining Intesa Sanpaolo, Rosario Strano held various senior positions in Banco di Roma, Alitalia, Baglioni Hotels, ANSA and Poste Italiane S.p.A.
Intesa Sanpaolo is one of the biggest Italian lenders and one of the most successful European banking groups with sound capital base and solid performance track records, according to the results of the 1st half of 2019 just published by the Group. Holding the Chief Operating Officer position in the Group, what can you say about the progress and the overall impact the Group has in the market? How do you perceive the forthcoming period and what will be the major challenges for the Group in the nearby future? — Throughout the years I had the
opportunity to witness Intesa Sanpaolo dynamic growth in the Italian market along with a continuous international expansion and I can say that the results in the period behind us were marked as outstanding. Despite a challeng-
H1 2018, positioned us as one of the top European banks in terms of efficiency and enabled us to invest in the further expansion of the business, while also carrying out our digital transformation agenda. Given our presence in around
INTESA SANPAOLO HAS EMBEDDED PEOPLE AS A KEY ENABLER INTO ITS FOUR-YEAR BUSINESS PLAN AND COMMITTED € 1 BILLION UNTIL 2021 FOR THIS PURPOSE, CONFIRMING ITS INTENTION TO BUILD A STRONG BANK FOR THE FUTURE ing environment in H1 2019, our excellent performance, ultimately reflected in a €2.3 billion net income, confirmed our ability to remain on the path of an ambitious four-year Business Plan that prioritizes a strong and sustainable value, a solid capital position and a significant reduction of NPLs ratio and annualized cost of risk decreased to 47 basis points in H1 2019. Moreover, our operating costs, which decreased by 3.2% on
40 markets across the globe, our vast support to a range of industries, 67,000 employees in Italy and 24,000 abroad, there is no doubt that Intesa Sanpaolo is an accelerator of growth in the global real economy. At the same time, we are well aware of our responsibility towards the community and the necessity to act as an engine in order to foster the social growth through various projects of economic inclusion and poverty reduction,
Mr. Strano, your very impressive professional experience has a solid background in the Human Resources area. What are the main challenges and perspectives in nurturing and shaping people as the most valuable asset of an organization, and which is the one that is critical for a company to prosper, especially nowadays in an environment of continuous change? — Managers tend to devote themselves to an endless search for innovation, cutting edge technology and state-of-the-art products, but in fact what drives us ahead are mainly dedicated employees. I do not think there are critical HR challenges exclusively attributed to the banking industry, but I would say that the most common issues in this area are talent attraction and retention, diversity and inclusion, workplace flexibility, high level training, career advancement plans and, of course, leadership development. In order to address those challenges, Intesa Sanpaolo has embedded people as a key enabler into its four-year Business Plan and committed €1 billion until 2021 for this purpose, confirming its intention to build a strong Bank for the future. Besides the launch of the International Talent
Innovation Centre, which currently counts around 100 employees working with startups all over the world to develop new products based on FinTech technologies. Furthermore, partnering with The Floor, a FinTech incubator which we co-founded in Israel, we have recently opened Innovation Center in Hong Kong. Its purpose is to accelerate international scale-ups of Italian companies in Asia and facilitate search for wealth management technology platforms in China.
Management Program and the Management Academy, I would particularly highlight the introduction of the smart working concept aimed at improving work- life balance of our employees and thus their overall satisfaction on one side, while stepping up productivity on the other.
Two fundamental pillars of the current business plan are people and digital, two areas in which you have been, and you are still, working hard. Can you tell us something more about them?
— In my opinion people and digital go hand in hand in case an organization is striving towards delivering sustainable results and staying at the helm of the market. To prove this thesis, recent researches show that increasing digitalization of the business processes in organizations often fails if the human factor is neglected. It is already evident that digitalization is transforming the distribution of jobs across the labor market, but it is also certain that humans and machines have to complement each other. In defining our Business Plan, we realized that the only way to achieve our ambitious goals is to unleash the full potential of digital transformation and to empower people to use this as an opportunity. Nowadays, managers talk about automating processes in terms of optimizing costs in HR, but we think that technology should not annul relationships, it should streamline lower value processes and allow people to scale up their capacities to serve clients even better. In such conditions, our employees will be able to offer consultancy services and enhance customer experience even more, thus differentiating us from the competition in the global market. In order to give a concrete answer to these needs we hired 3,300 peo-
IN MY OPINION PEOPLE AND DIGITAL GO HAND IN HAND IN THE CASE OF AN ORGANIZATION IS DRIVING TOWARDS DELIVERING SUSTAINABLE RESULTS AND STAYING AT THE HELM OF THE MARKET ple over the last three years, out of who 2,200 under 32 and 600 in the digital and innovation area to allow the Group to be competitive in the digital modern era.
Today, we’re hearing a lot about the technological changes taking place in all areas of the company's operations. What changes are needed in the development of the Organization world? What’s the Intesa Sanpaolo Group doing about it? — The industrial landscape has changed more than once through history, altering also the face of organizations. As the fourth industrial revolution unfolds, ideas and innovation become the most valuable assets of companies, the blue ocean of untapped
potential which adds value and a competitive edge to conservative systems. We all know that due to its important role in the economy, the banking industry is a regulated environment that often puts the brakes on the banks’ flexibility, which is not the case with a growing number of non-banking companies that offer similar services at a higher risk and with fewer requirements. In order to be able to strike back to the non-banking competitors and respond to the requirements of the sophisticated and fast changing markets, the banks need to re-organize themselves and consider teaming up with FinTechs to set the pace of innovation in the sector. Intesa Sanpaolo addressed this challenge by forming its
No doubt Intesa is one of the global banking players, with the clear strategy and a significant impact on societies and economies in all the countries where it is present. As far as Serbia and the neighboring countries are concerned (Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia) what do you think of the evolution of Intesa Sanpaolo's role in these countries and what differences have you seen with regards to the managerial capabilities and values over all the past years?
— We have a strategic international presence in the Central Eastern Europe region. In Serbia, Banca Intesa has been at the forefront of the local banking sector for over a decade, leading the industry across all key banking metrics. Embracing the exponential growth of technological advancement and growing expectations of the customers, Banca Intesa has recently embarked on a comprehensive digital transformation program that will clear the way for its sustainable growth. In Croatia, we operate through PBZ, the second largest bank in the country, which has recently become a regional banking hub for our operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Slovenia as well, proving itself to be a center of excellence for numerous areas of banking in the Group.
CHINA MARKET In the last couple of years China has emerged as a raising player in the world economy, thus gradually shifting the global balance of power towards Asia. Can you tell us more about Intesa Sanpaolo operations in that region and its plans in the given context? — China has long been one of the strategic priorities on our international expansion agenda, both as the largest country by population and a rapidly developing economy, currently second only to the US. Starting off from a representative office in Beijing, opened in 1981, and a Shanghai branch, launched in 1997, we have continued to explore the incredible business prospects offered by the Chinese market through
investments in Bank of Qingdao as well as in wealth management companies Penghua and Yi Tsai. Our ambitious expansion plans for the three companies, which include opening dedicated branches and developing attractive products, reaffirm our commitment to China as a very important growth target in our Business Plan. We should observe China, also as a powerful international investor, and a partner for further economic development in other markets where we operate. In line with this we are one of the main supporters of The One Road One Belt initiative (Silk Road), aiming at improving infrastructure, particularly in Western Balkan countries.
A True School of Democracy A society without strong, respected and recognized social sciences is doomed to wander and limp
DRAGAN R. SIMIĆ Dean of the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Belgrade
Throughout August, the Faculty of Political Sciences was the epicentre of public attention considering that the meetings between the government and the opposition took place on its premises. This was the reason why we wanted to interview the Dean of the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Belgrade, Dragan R. Simić. How did the cooperation with the Open Society Foundation and gathering the government and the opposition at the same table come about?
— Bearing in mind the great division in our society and the absence of not only dialogue, but also the required regular contacts between the authorities and the opposition, as well as the crisis in the most important institutions of parliamentary democracy, while devotedly following the ancient principle that dialogical form is the most important and "superior form of knowledge", it was quite clear to us at the very outset that further absence of responsible, competent and courteous dialogue would be detrimental not only to the political field and politicians,
but it could permanently and irreparably destroy all dimensions of social life. Thus, these negative processes would jeopardize the fundamental interests of every citizen of the political community, down to every individual. In this regard, the Faculty of Political Sciences (FPN) gave its strong support to the initiative of the Open Society Foundation to launch a series of discussions on key topics of our political life and reaching a possible agreement on electoral conditions in the forthcoming parliamentary and local elections.
system is studied comprehensively and in-depth. Our Faculty’s current curricula are increasingly focusing on people, the individual and the person as the very centre of the social cosmos, as well as re-affirming the common interest and the common good, whereby politics, as a skill of the possible, is striving to realize interests while not going beyond the moral what is moral and not renouncing the aesthetic. The Faculty educates such experts in the non-governmental, state and public sectors who are able not only to adapt to the current state of affairs but to improve and change it. University of Belgrade’s Faculty of Political Sciences is also a school of statehood. Since its founding, our stu-
IN THE CASE OF THE ROUNDTABLES, POLITICAL SCIENCE WAS CERTAINLY NOT ANCILLA POLITICAE How significant is the fact that the talks take place at the Faculty of Political Sciences?
— With these talks, the Faculty of Political Sciences continues what our founding fathers started 51 years ago when the College of Political Sciences grew into the Faculty of Political Sciences and continues its mission in a society that we believe is at least threefold. Along its development path, which wasn’t always easy, the Faculty of Political Sciences became a true school of democracy, where this least benign
dents have been taught to think about broader, social, national and state interests as well. Many of our former professors and students have occupied and still occupy the highest positions in government, leadership and diplomacy, defending the interests of our political community and all its citizens in Serbia and the countries of the region. After all, the Faculty of Political Sciences has nurtured critical thought, dialogue, tolerance and openness since its establishment. For the
half-century of its existence, the Faculty of Political Sciences has been functioning in four different countries and proved to be a resilient institution, similar to universities that have emerged and lasted throughout Europe and the world, from the early Middle Ages to the present day. The establishment of FPN was marked by numerous events such as the founding of the Bitef Festival, student demonstrations, the performance of the musical „Hair“ and shortly after, the launch of FEST. How do you make sense of today's developments and the role of FPN in all this?
— An institution that has been lasting for half a century is an accomplishment worthy of attention anywhere in the world, let alone in the turbulent Balkan region, in Serbia. The evolution of the College of Political Science into the Faculty of Political Science occurred on November 12th, 1968; the founders of the Faculty, both those engaged in practical politics and those who were scientifically concerned with political phenomena, were aware of the need to explore the subject of this aristocratic science, studied for thousands of years since ancient times, in the higher learning system too. As one of the founders of the Faculty, Najdan Pašić, put it, they realized that “the development of political science is a significant and reliable indicator of a society's readiness and capacity for democratic criti-
cal dialogue about itself, its nature and the ways of its development“. From ancient times to the present, political democracy and political science have always shared the same cradle, they existed and died together". Therefore, it is no coincidence that such an institution was born in a social and spiritual climate of a time of rebellion, restricted by the infamous party programme of 1958, the founding of BITEF in 1967, the student unrest in 1968 in all major cities of the former Yugoslavia, one from the first performances of the musical "Hair" in the world which took place in 1969 on the stage of Atelje 212, and shortly after, the founding of "The Brave New World" and the launch of FEST in 1971, the vague noire against ideological deception... Belgrade was the world back then too. It was the time when a new cultural pattern was born within the framework of an undemocratic political system, which cornerstones were political democracy, human rights and winning over freedom. Quite a few of FPN professors participate in these meetings. How willing are politicians to listen to experts and why did you choose the Chatham House Rule?
— „Knowledge for its sake“ is the same as „art for its sake“, namely it has a problematic purpose and its existence and value are validated only in relation to reality, with individuals and society. In this sense, the presence of our professors and researchers, as well as experts from other institutions, is expected, even logical, in such conversations. Although the prevailing trend today is that theory and practice should be separate, that is, there is a claim that the world of science is increasingly „less useful to the world of politics" and vice versa, I see no other way than bringing the world of theory and the world of practice to meet
with the most reputable non-governmental organizations dealing with these issues, FPN has created the ambience in which first thing to do would be to paint a picture of the real situation and then agreeing on what to do next. We should not blame the mirror if we sometimes don’t like our reflection in it. What is the status of the Faculty of Political Sciences and social sciences in general in Serbia today?
THE FACULTY OF POLITICAL SCIENCES NURTURES CRITICAL THOUGHT, DIALOGUE, TOLERANCE AND OPENNES and talk at least about certain key issues for the individual and the society. These two "worlds" can exist separately only to the detriment of both entities. In the civilized world, the Chatham House Rule is one of the better ways to discuss difficult, delicate topics, at the very least, with mutual respect for one's interlocutors. This is not easy at all. In the case of the mentioned roundtables, political science was certainly not ancilla politicae. How did the decision to partially open the third meeting to the
public come about, after the first two closed meetings?
— The Faculty of Political Sciences is, among other things, a school of journalism and communication science. It would be unnatural and contrary to the nature of our faculty to start a media debate with the absence of the public; our goal was not to hide anything from the public and work on something behind closed doors, but to try to come to the most efficient way possible to reach an agreement on the election conditions, in compliance with the Chatham House Rules. Together
— The Faculty of Political Sciences has a sound footing and a bright future. The foundation of our facility is built on the vision of our founders, the very first professors and assistant professors, some of whom, we are pleased to say, are still alive. Over 200 professors and assistant professors and 200 administration staff have built this institution on the back of that firm foundation since its establishment until today. However, students, both current and 15,000 who graduated from our Faculty at different study levels over the past five decades, are the strongest pillar that carries our house. These impressive figures are certainly even more valuable when we consider that our graduates, as well as our professors and assistant professors, have been contributing greatly to our society. As far as the position of social sciences in Serbia today, I would say that, despite the importance of the natural and technical sciences for the development of the modern world, it is not possible to understand the vision of the modern state and society without a clear and strong role for social sciences. Since ancient times, "the field of human things", to use Aristotle’s term for social sciences, they have taught the purpose (telos) of all human activities and endeavours. A society without strong, respected and recognized social sciences is doomed to wander and limp.
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION We are proud of the fact that the links and cooperation between the Faculty of Political Sciences and related faculties in the countries of the region, Europe and the world have not been broken even during the turbulent period of the 1990s. In terms of international cooperation and exchange, the Faculty of Political Sciences is one of the most open faculties at University of Belgrade, which is, again, the leading university in our country and one of the leading in the region, as ranked by the distinguished Academic Ranking of World Universities (the so-called Shanghai Rankings). In addition to student mobility, our research and research centres that "cover" different countries and regions of the world – from Europe, the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom to the Far East, China and
– contribute to our openness. We are also proud of the outstanding results that our students have achieved in competitions all over Europe and the world. We would also like to underline that we often play host to students and professors from abroad for various purposes and that we have undergraduate and Master’s studies in several foreign languages. In mid-June this year, FPN was the host of the congress of the biggers international student association ISA (the International Studies Association) with close to 600 participants from sixty countries from all continents. Serbia is a full-fledged member of the globalized world and it is increasingly influenced by the processes and features of the global order in statu nascendi, both positively and negatively.
International Education In Serbia Learning about different cultures is also an integral part of teaching and learning. Rudjer Boskovic School’s mission is inspiring learners to become honorable, principled, knowledgeable and caring, capable and willing to make considerable contributions to their local and world-wide communities - so, not only are knowing and understanding important aspects of education but also taking action in response to problems of local and global significance an integral part of teaching and learning. Rudjer Boskovic School’s mission is inspiring learners to become honorable, principled, knowledgeable and caring, capable and willing to make considerable contributions to their local and world-wide communities - so, not only are knowing and understanding important aspects of education but also taking action in response to problems of local and global significance. We believe this is an excellent way to help students prepare for their futures.
IVANA VUKMIRICA BAĆANOVIĆ Head of Secondary Department, Rudjer Boskovic School
Ms Ivana Vukmirica Baćanović, Head of Secondary Department, Ruđer Bošković School, speaks about international education, activities, curriculum ...
What does it mean that the education is international?
— Through the implementation of international programmes (IB – International Baccalaureate) at Ruđer Boskovic School we are trying to help our students think globally and develop the mindset and skills that will enable them to study and work anywhere in the world. International mindedness is one of the key features of the IB and it means that teaching and learning goes beyond content and is approached through global contexts. Learning about different cultures is also
How do you deliver such activities?
— First this is accomplished by fostering multilingualism. Our language of instruction is English and we also offer the possibility for students to attend preparatory lessons for certified exams in
internationally–minded learners. For example, one popular Ruđer event is International Days at Rudjer, a two-day conference that gathers students from IB schools in the region such as Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Mostar, Skopje and Sofia. The aim of this event is to promote the active role of students as future leaders in creating economically and politically stable environments. We believe it is important for students from regional countries to cooperate with one another and participate in such a useful and rewarding experience. Topics such as Cyber-(In)security: Preparing for the Future Challenges and Unclear nuclear future: Political, Economic and Environmental Challenges of the Nuclear Age motivate students to think globally and promote inter-cultural dialogue. Another way we promote international
STUDENT EXCHANGE PROGRAMMES HAVE BEEN ORGANIZED WITH STUDENTS FROM RUSSIA (KLIMOVSK), GREECE (ATHENS) AND ITALY (MERANO AND ANCONA) English, German, Italian, Spanish, French and Russian; not only can students obtain certificates in these foreign languages, but they also gain understanding about diverse customs and cultures. In addition, the variety of learning experiences such as school trips, interdisciplinary projects and global engagement events encourage students to become independent, versatile and
education is through student-exchange programmes. By arranging for students to spend time in other cultural contexts we help them develop their competencies, engage in topics of global impact, and explore new cultures, habits and lifestyles. They learn to value democracy, unity and friendship. Student exchange programmes have been organized with students from
Russia (Klimovsk), Greece (Athens) and Italy (Merano and Ancona).
Would you tell us more about the curriculum?
— At our school, the IB Primary Programme (PYP) is offered to students from the age of 5. Students are at the centre of the learning process and the curriculum is transdisciplinary and flexible enough to accommodate the national curricula. Knowledge is acquired through six transdisciplinary themes: Who we are, Where we are in space and time, How we express ourselves, How the world works, How we organize ourselves and Sharing the planet. The IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) begins in Grade 6 and is a framework that encourages students to create practical connections between what they learn in school and the world in which they live. The content of the Middle Years Programme is divided into eight subject groups, so that students are provided with a sufficiently broad and balanced education. MYP subject groups are: Language and Literature, Language Acquisition, Individuals and Societies, Sciences, Mathematics, Design, Arts, and Physical and Health Education. The final two years, the Diploma Programme, result with external examinations. I can proudly say that our graduates have excellent results and continue their education at top universities such as UCL, Warwick University, London School of Economics, Honk Kong University, Bocconi.
Kristalina Georgieva is the Sole Contender to be the IMF’s Next Boss She would be the first national from an emerging economy to lead the fund Kristalina Georgieva has been mentioned in connection with every leadership role going at international organisations, from secretary-general of the United Nations to the head of the European Commission. Were the presidency of the World Bank decided on merit alone, with no consideration of nationality, Ms Georgieva, its chief executive, might have been a shoo-in. She briefly stood in as president after Jim Yong Kim resigned in January, but in April the job went to David Malpass, an American. Now the Bulgarian seems at last to have nabbed one of the top jobs on a permanent basis. A transatlantic understanding dating back to the Bretton Woods conference in 1944 means that an American leads the World Bank while a European leads the IMF. In August Ms Georgieva became Europe’s nominee to replace Christine Lagarde at the helm of the fund. Despite noises from the British that they would put forward their own candidate, the deadline for submitting nominees passed on September 6th with Ms Georgieva the sole contender. Her official appointment by early October seems assured. Since 2017 Ms Georgieva has been responsible for much of the running of the World Bank, where, before a stint at the European Commission, she also spent many years as a staffer. As chief executive she is credited with smoothing over differences between Mr Kim and the staff, and leading negotiations with the bank’s shareholders for a capital increase. Her good relations with large shareholders, including America and China, should prove an asset to the IMF, which risks being caught in the middle of the very trade and currency wars it was set up to avert. It may also have to advise governments on coping with a global economic slowdown. Although she has less macroeconomic expertise than some other early contenders, such as Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, former colleagues
SINCE 2017 MS GEORGIEVA HAS BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR MUCH OF THE RUNNING OF THE WORLD BANK, WHERE, BEFORE A STINT AT THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION, SHE ALSO SPENT MANY YEARS AS A STAFFER point out that she was active in assessing countries’ fiscal positions while in Brussels, and helped beef up the European Union’s bail-out mechanism. As an academic she
wrote textbooks that are still used by undergraduates in Bulgaria. Her expertise in environmental economics is likely to come in handy, too. Masood Ahmed of the Centre
for Global Development, a thinktank, reckons the fund will have to grapple with the impact of climate change on macroeconomic and financial stability. The first half of Ms Lagarde’s tenure was dominated by Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis. The focus has since shifted to emerging and fragile states. Ms Georgieva will inherit a mess in Argentina. One World Bank staffer notes that the other European candidates might have known emerging markets only from their holidays. Ms Georgieva, by contrast, has spent decades working with the poorer countries that receive most of the fund’s money. And her home country made the transition from communism to a market economy in the 1990s. By the fund’s own classification it is an emerging economy, with GDP per person less than a quarter that of France, which has supplied four of the fund’s past six chiefs. Ms Georgieva’s stature and experience may explain the absence of challengers, which ensured that Europe retained the position despite fraught haggling over the nomination. It was the second such row of the summer. (The first, in June, had been over a package of top EU roles, which created the vacancy at the fund when Ms Lagarde was appointed to lead the European Central Bank.) For the IMF job eastern Europeans backed Ms Georgieva, whereas northerners preferred Jeroen Dijsselbloem, a former Dutch finance minister. When consensus eluded them, the EU’s 28 national finance ministers resorted to voting by email, at which point Ms Georgieva gained most support and Mr Dijsselbloem bowed out. Since no challenger emerged from elsewhere, Europe’s choice prevailed. One relic of the Bretton Woods era somehow continues to defy the odds. From The Economist, published under licence. The original article, in English, can be found on www.economist.com
Dialogue Belongs in Institutions As a society, we have lost three decades wandering between parties, electoral conditions and we are again at a cutoff point and have an opportunity to create a normal electoral atmosphere
MILAN ANTONIJEVIĆ Director of the Open Society Foundation
Elections will be held in Serbia next year, and in order for them to take place in a better atmosphere than in previous years, the Open Society Foundation has organized talks between the authorities and the opposition at the Faculty of Political Sciences. The word of the month is now "dialogue," as these conversations have attracted a lot of public attention and the situation has been changing from minute to minute. There was a multitude of topics on the table, but talks about the media caused the biggest uproar. We spoke with What will happen after these debates, which end on September 19, we spoke with Milan Antonijević, Director of the Open Society Foundation, about what will happen next after these debates which end on September 19th. At the beginning of the interview, he says that the initiative to have the talks was launched to „bring the dialogue back to the institutions, or rather an education institution like the Faculty of Political Sciences (FPS).“ „There are various interpretations of who initiated this dialogue. I'm going to have to disappoint everybody who loves conspiracy theories because this particular process originated in our society,” Mr Antonijević explains. Director of the Open Society
Foundation also says that political parties agreed to participate after carrying out internal consultations, and there were no big problems related to launching the dialogue which was approached with seriousness and maturity. An election boycott has been announced and certain opposition parties are already boycotting the Parliament. How much do these facts have to do with the decision to conduct the dialogue?
— The absence of dialogue in the Parliament was a sufficient motivation to make an assessment and estimation of the situation
had chosen; that is the Chatham House Rules. If you analyze public speaking, it becomes clear that there is no serious dialogue to address difficult issues, such as the election process. Since we notice that there was no dialogue, we chose this rule where we allowed everybody to express their views openly, because this rule gives a more honest approach to the topic and acknowledges our own mistakes, which are all the features that modern dialogue must possess. However, these conversations are not at all pleasant for either side or for us, as organizers. Still, we have demonstrated that dialogue is possible
WE STILL LITTLE TIME LEFT UNTIL THE ELECTION SO IF WE WANT TO CHANGE ANYTHING, WE NEED TO BE EFFICIENT AND DEDICATED in which there is no dialogue and in which institutions, which are natural places for dialogue, are not performing their function. However, the organizers did not want to propel all institutions through this initiative since this is too big a step that the institutions themselves and above all the political parties, must realize and take. Only when that happens can we establish a system worthy of a country planning to enter the EU. There was also a debate about the dialogue method that you
and we have moved some things forward. Obviously, this was the only way to change anything, so nobody felt completely at ease. Next year will mark three decades of multi-parliamentarism in Serbia. Are there functional institutions today?
— It is not for us to prove whether the institutions are functioning or not. I think that civil society organizations and their assessment of the situation were the topics of the second discussion that we
conducted. Our wish was to start something that could be further expanded. We saw that citizens were visibly entrenched and polarized and that was our motivation for launching all of this. We still little time left until the election so if we want to change anything, we need to be efficient and dedicated. How far away are we from the real dialogue?
— I wouldn't say that Serbia has never had a dialogue in society, but it has often been neglected. This may have been due to the means of communication and the safe situation in the media. It's good to have passion, that we can see in political life, for certain changes, but when you take up the entire public space then you have a situation where it seems impossible to start a dialogue and for those who have opposite views to sit at the same table and talk about their view of things. 2020 is the election year when no law can be changed. I wonder what will happen to your recommendations and conclusions.
— What we are talking about here is that it is impossible to change the number of constituencies and some other major issues that may affect the results. However, when you talk about regulating ambiguities and some other issues, nobody can stop you in that. We think it is good that some issues that are imprecise and counterproductive are changing so that citizens can participate equally in political life.
Was the debate been compromised at some point?
We are not talking about reforming the entire electoral legislation. I believe that the National Parliament may amend certain electoral laws in the upcoming period, thus aligning our legislation with the highest standards. How impactful will your requirements be considering that certain participants (like SzS) have left the dialogue?
â€” We are continuing to talk to all political parties and make calls. We think it is important for all parties to be there when discussing sensitive topics such as pressure on voters. If you are talking about a boycott, this can also constitute pressure on those people who will not vote. We had four topics, but the main topics that keep coming back are the media and financing of election campaigns as important segments that demonstrate inequality. We wanted to put our recommendations back on the table and see what we have at our disposal. I think we have made some progress, which is to change the practice of action, not just the election laws.
I BELIEVE THAT THE NATIONAL PARLIAMENT MAY AMEND CERTAIN ELECTORAL LAWS IN THE UPCOMING PERIOD, THUS ALIGNING OUR LEGISLATION WITH THE HIGHEST STANDARDS
â€” At any given moment, there are many people who would not like such conversations to take place. It is very difficult to set a clear path but we were determined to go through all the topics that were given and were of interest to the voters who are the reason why elections are held in the first place. Elections are not held for the sake of political parties and politicians, but the sake of the citizens so that they can have an opportunity to influence policies and to make that connection as close as possible. As a society, we have lost three decades wandering between parties, electoral conditions and we are again at a cutoff point and have an opportunity to create a normal electoral atmosphere that is not a life-and-death struggle. It is very difficult to carry a constructive dialogue. The atmosphere is not at all pleasant but there are segments where we talked about constructive things. Everyone agreed that those problems did exist.
PEOPLE & EVENTS
08 ASEAN DAY 2019 AUG
FLAG RAISING CEREMONY
To commemorate the 52nd Anniversary of the foundation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a Flag Raising Ceremony was held at the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Belgrade on August 8, 2019. This year’s ASEAN Day celebration,
which was co-hosted by Diplomatic Missions of ASEAN member countries in Serbia (Indonesia, Malaysia and Myanmar) every year, also included Cambodia for the first time as its Embassy was recently opened as the fourth ASEAN Diplomatic Mission in Belgrade.
Mr. Nik Ady Arman Bin Nik Mohd Kamil, H.E. (U) Myo Aye and H.E. Mochammad Chandra Widya Yudha
03 THE EXHIBITION SEP
“H.E. KING PETER II: CREATING A KING"
The exhibition "H.E. King Peter II: Creating a King" is opened until September 16, 2019. The exhibition was officially opened in presence of Crown Prince Alexander, Princess Catherine and their daughter Alison, to commemorate the birthday of
H. E. Subrata Bhattacharjee, Indian Ambassador, H.E. Amr Aljowaily, Ambassador of Egypt and H.E. Andrea Orizio (OSCE)
Crown Prince Alexander, Princess Catherine
11 CELEBRATION SEP
OF ITEC DAY
King Peter II (September 6). In addition to the rarely seen photographs of King Peter II, taken between 1923 and 1941, the King's first sword is also exhibited for the very first time. Andrija Šošić, Uros Parezanović and Vidak Orlović are the exhibition authors.
The Embassy of India in Belgrade celebrated Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Day on 11 September 2019. Besides dignitaries from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture, NALED and other government officials, a large number of ITEC alumni
participated the event. Under the ITEC Programme, nationals ofriendly countries are imparted training in various fields, on fully funded basis. ITEC Training empowers the scholars with not just professional skills, but also helps in preparing them for an increasingly globalized world.
Ambassador of India, H.E. Subrata Bhattacharjee
12 LAUNCH PARTY SEP
FOR THE 1ST ISSUE OF DIPLOMACY & COMMERCE SLOVENIA
The release of the first issue of Diplomacy & Commerce - Slovenia magazine was marked at the reception at the residence of the Ambassador of the United Kingdom in Ljubljana. Nikola Papak, the publication’s director, H.E. Ms Sophie Honey, Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Ljubljana, and Robert Čoban, President of the Color Press Group, which is the magazine’s publisher, addressed the guests. In his speech, Mr Čoban talked about the magazine’s history: "It was March 2016 when we celebrated the launch of the first issue of Diplomacy & Commerce magazine at the residence of the British Ambassador in Belgrade, in cooperation with London's The Economist. A year later, at the residence of the British Ambassador in Zagreb, we celebrated the launch of Diplomacy & Commerce – Croatia. We marked the launch of Diplomacy & Commerce - Austria at the British Ambassador's residence in Vienna in February this year, so this is for us - and allow me to quote Sir Winston Churchill here - "business as usual." Today, at the British Ambassador's residence in Ljubljana, we celebrate the release of the first issue of Diplomacy & Commerce - Slovenia, confident that the magazine will be just as successful as its counterparts across the region." Diplomacy & Commerce Slovenia will be published every second month (6 issues per year) and will be available to the readers exclusively via subscription.
Nikola Papak, Executive Director, Diplomacy&Commerce, Robert Čoban, President of Color Press Group and Sophie Honey, UK Ambassador
H.E. Eva Ponomarenkova, Ambassador of Slovakia, H.E. Myles Geiran, Ambassador of Ireland and H.E. Florence Ferrari, Ambassador of France
Nikola Papak, Executive Director of D&C Slovenia, Swiss Ambassador to Slovenia H.E. Denis Knobel and French Ambassador H.E. Florence Ferrari
Georgian Ambassador Irakli Koplatadze, Albanian Ambassador Pëllumb Qazimi, Swiss Ambassador Denis Knobel, Japan Ambassador Masaharu Yoshida
US Ambassador to Slovenia H.E. Lynda Blanchard, British Ambassador Sophie Honey and Tomaz Kavcic Honorary Consul of Serbia in Slovenia
12 NALED TRADITIONAL SEP
H.E. Kyle Scott, Ana Brnabić and Dubravka Negre
H.E. Kathleen Csaba, Canadian Ambassador with husband Sanda Savić and Dr. Ronald Seeliger, CEO of Hemofarm Group
Violeta Jovanović, Executiv Director of NALED and Stephen Njuguna Ndegwa, World Bank Country Manager for Serbia
NALED bid farewell to the summer and launched the new season of reforms with the traditional September Gathering held at the White Palace. The reception was attended by more than 800 members and partners – state and local leaders, businesses, representatives of the international community and diplomatic community. Guests were addressed by Vladimir Novaković, President of NALED Managing Board, Dubravka Negre, Head of EIB Western Balkans Regional Representation, H.E. Kyle Scott, U.S. Ambassador to Serbia and Ana Brnabić, Prime Minister of Serbia. The event presented the cultural offer of five cities and municipalities participating in NALED’s annual campaign Art of Serbia, through an exhibition of artwork reproductions by our renowned painters – Uroš Predić (Pančevo), Milena Pavlović Barili (Požarevac), Sava Šumanović and Ilija Bašičević Bosilj (Šid), Milan Konjović (Sombor) and Mihailo Milovanović (Užice). Guests also had the opportunity to taste the Selection of food, wine and other specialities with geographic origin – Flavors of Serbia. NALED September Gathering is a unique opportunity to expand the network of business contacts, meet old friends and partners, but also enjoy an exhibition of artwork reproductions by Serbian distinguished painters and taste the flavours of selected local specialities, food and wine with geographic origin.
MORE PHOTOS ON
LADY DIANA TRIBUTE EXHIBITION & BOOK PROMOTION AT THE WEST 65 COMPLEX In commemoration of the 22nd anniversary of the tragic death of Lady Diana Spencer, a soiree was held at the West 65 business & residential complex, on Sunday, 8th September. Prior to the occasion, Color Media Communications had published the book “The Real Diana”, written by Lady Colin Campbell, Britain's most famous celebrity chronicler. At the soiree, Lady Campbell signed the biography of Lady Diana and talked about the life and tragic death of Britain's most beloved princess. Apart from the author of "The Real Diana", the soiree was attended by Regina de Dominicis, Director of UNICEF in Serbia who spoke about the importance of including celebrities in humanitarian campaigns, and Vesna Mandić, the owner of the Fabrika fashion company, who talked about Princess Diana as a fashion icon. In addition to attending the book promotion and signing, the guests also had the opportunity to see an exclusive exhibition of photos of Princess Diana's fashion choices and attend a cocktail party. The exhibition is staged on the square of the West 65 business & residential complex from 8th to 22nd September 2019, and it consists of 10 cutouts of Lady Diana Spencer in different periods of her life. Admission is free.
Vesna Mandić, Regina de Dominicis, Lady Colin Campbell and Aleksandar Djordjević
The author signing her book
Nevenka Scott, the wife of the US Ambassador and Aferdita Bocka, the wife of the Albanian Ambassador
Serbian Artists at Venice International Film Festival On the final ceremony held on September 6th, 2019 at the Hotel Excelsior in Venice, on the 76th Venice International Film Festival, Award UNIMED 2019 (Unione delle Università del Mediterraneo) conferred to the movie “Ema” by Pablo Larraín, for its artistic value and its ability to depict the current themes of integration and multiculturalism. Pablo Larrain also won ARCA Cinema Giovani Award – The Best Film of Venezia 76. UNIMED 2019 Award is represented in a form of a sculpture, which was created by the artists named Michele Iodice (Italy) and Aleksandar Gligorijević (Serbia) in collaboration with the young curator Natasa Radojević from the Drina Gallery and PDG Arte Communications. The sculpture „A work for a work“ is made up of different parts of a plane, separated elements, which represent a symbol of the spiritual need of cross-cultural exchange and connection, based on a humanistic approach. The sculp-
ture aims to combine the main nature of the UNIMED Award 2019 which is cultural diversity and freedom of artistic expression, reviving the symbols of human and cultural link enriched with “pictorial elements”. Throughout teamwork this work is characterized by realization, conception, belonging, definition of shapes, purity, and beauty, passion and knowledge but especially participation to a worthy initiative. Creative director and the author of this project is Nataša Radojević, a founder of cultural platform Logic Art Space, who also took position as the Art Director and Partner of the Drina Gallery from Belgrade (Serbia). She focuses her work on strengthening cultural relations between Southeast Europe and Italy, as well as other European countries. During the occasion of the 58th International Art Exhibition in Venice she was elected as a speaker on CEI Venice Forum for Contemporary Art Curators together with five other young curators from Europe.
Brazil has One Brasilia, Serbia has Two! Two villages in Vojvodina are named after Brazil’s capital for different reasons
Paolo Terenzi’s Master Class in Belgrade Fragrance workshops of the famous Tiziana Terenzi Perfume House
Terenzi Perfume House’s celebrated "nose", Paolo Terenzi, visited the L'Atelier and Anabella Beauty Spot perfumeries in Belgrade and hosted Master Class workshops for fragrance lovers. The participants enjoyed a first-hand experience in making candles and perfumes with special and rare ingredients, capturing as a memento an emotion that goes beyond the trends and transforming it into a personalized scent and candle. Terenzi Perfume House portfolio dates from 1968, starting as a workshop in the small Italian town of Cattolica on the Adriatic coast, which grew out of a family candle making business, in which candles
people who choose them. "Tiziana Terenzi brand is a result of the shared passion and artistic work of my sister, who is the creative director and designer the brand is named after, and me. We are always ready for hard work, just as our father and grandfather were before us. We are two souls united in absolute diversity, with a shared mission of creating unique fluid, visual and tactile emotions", says Paolo, adding that the Tiziana Terenzi brand was born out of love and memories of their father and the desire to celebrate his name. Paolo Terenzi is known for loving and exclusively working with natural raw materials that he personally
were produced for generations. Memories from the most exciting family trips passed on from generation to generation are captured in the priceless bottles of Tiziana Terenzi perfume extract. V Canto fragrance line is inspired by Dante's "Divine Comedy" and Giardino Benessere edition, as the third and youngest brand of Terenzi Perfume House, was created with the new concept of "radical, luxury and chic" in which perfumes can be mixed and applied in "layers", reflecting the beauty of natural ingredients through the individuality of the
collects on numerous trips around the world. His fragrance library contains over 200 rare and precious notes he uses to create fragrant compositions. This was also the reason for his nomination for the Fifi Awards, one of the most prestigious awards in the perfume world, also known as the Oscars of perfumes. At the workshops in Belgrade, participants had a unique opportunity to get familiar with the carefully selected fragrance ingredients and the procedure of making some of the most beautiful perfumes and scented candles of the Terenzi Perfume House.
SREMSKA BRAZILIJA: Village founded by the returnees from Brazil
On one occasion, I told Isabel Heyvaert, the then ambassador of Brazil to Serbia, that there were two villages in Vojvodina called Brasilia (or Brazilija in Serbian). She returned to her country half a year ago and called me on the phone recently with the idea of publishing a story about two Brasilias in Vojvodina in a book due to come out in 2020, in honour of Brazil's 60th birthday. One is not far from Bačka Topola, it is called Bagremovo or Brazilija and it got its name when, after the First World War, local villagers wanted to move to America or to Brazil, and the owner of the land in the village begged them to stay here, saying: "I will give you land, I will build houses for you, and create Brasilia for you here!” At that time, the state of Brazil was called Brasilia, since the city of Brasilia still did not exist (it was founded in 1960). Today, out of about a hun-
dred people who live in Bagremovo, or Brazilija, most are pensioners or people living on welfare, and there are very few young people or those who have a job. Most of them emigrated to Hungary, Germany or major cities in Serbia. Brazilija has no school, no infirmary, no local community office, no church. They have a cross in one corner with a two-dimensional image of a very feminine, beardless, almost android-looking Jesus. I recently cycled through another Brazilija (Brasilia) and asked a villager there how the village got its name. According to him, this Brazilija got its name on the account of immigrants who had left for Brazil only to return a few years later and settled in the village of Brazilija, which is situated between Beočin and Čerević. So, there is a Brazilija with people who never went to Brazil, and one with people who came back from Brazil.
BAGREMOVO OR BRAZILIJA: Sign at the village entrance
Confindustria’s ‘Welcome Back’ Cocktail
The traditional “Welcome Back” cocktail party, hosted by Confindustria Serbia, took place at the Crystal Hotel in Belgrade. The gathering provided an opportunity for members, friends and associates to meet in a pleasant atmosphere after a summer break. Also, Italian Ambassador to Serbia, H.E. Mr Carlo Lo Cascio graced the event with his presence. Many guests, including the representatives of international and domestic institutions, were greeted by Mr Erich Cossutta, the President of Confindustria Serbia. After Mr Cossutta’s address, Ambassador Lo Cascio spoke to the guests and reminded that Italian and Serbian businesspeople, assembled around Confindustria, represented an essential segment of the Italian-Serbian partnership. 18 companies, that have chosen the Confindustria Business Networks in recent months, including Color Media Communication, were presented at the event. The now traditional campaign - "Members Give Members" or "Member Gifts" – followed after the introduction of new members. This concept was designed with the view of promoting the products and provide services to the members of Confindustria Serbia.
CBS INTERNATIONAL AND CUSHMAN & WAKEFIELD NAMED TOP REAL ESTATE ADVISORS The leading real estate advisor CBS International and its global partner Cushman &Wakefield Group have officially confirmed their leading position, being named top advisors in all relevant categories by Euromoney magazine 2019 Real Estate Survey. CBS International marked this year’s selection as the Serbia’s advisor in its segment, placing first in all four categories – Top Real Estate Advisor; Top Valuation Consultant; Top Agency/Letting and Top Research Consultant. What’s especially interesting is that this year’s winner on a global level in the same categories is the Cushman & Wakefield Group, one of whose partners is CBS International. The partners have therefore unified local and global domina-
tion, crowning their cooperation in the best way possible. The renowned international finance publication Euromoney has been surveying readers, representatives of top managements of world corporations, finance institutions and well known companies from more than 75 countries for 15 years now, picking the advisors, investors and institutions in the local and the global market.
UNICREDIT BANK AND EBRD CONTINUE TO FINANCE SERBIAN ECONOMY AND ITS CITIZENS
Long term partners, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and UniCredit Bank Serbia signed today an agreement on different credit lines worth total EUR 160 million to further increase the financing of Serbian economy and its citizens. Thanks to this cooperation clients will not only have increased opportunities to access financing, but they will also benefit from reduced
pricing. Under this Agreement, EUR 65 million and RSD 4, 1 billion (Euro 35 million) are dedicated to financing Small and medium enterprises. They can use them for investments and working capital to further boost their business. Within this credit line RSD loans will be offered, to boost the use of local currency to reduce the possible effect of exchange rate volatility and increase funding options for small borrowers. A credit line of the amount of EUR 60 million will be dedicated at expanding the access to financing first-time homeowners. Solving the living space issue represents one of the priorities of both individuals and families in Serbia. Thank to cooperation with EBRD, UniCredit Bank will continue to offer housing loans under favorable conditions tailored.
MATTONI 1873 AND PEPSICO FINALIZE JOINT ACQUISITION In Belgrade, Mattoni 1873 through its subsidiary, Karlovarské minerální vody (KMV) and PepsiCo, Inc. (PepsiCo), through its subsidiary Frito-Lay Trading Company (Europe), finalized the acquisition of 100 % stake in the Serbian producer of mineral water and soft drinks, Knjaz Miloš, from Mid Europa Partners, via joint venture. The transaction, approved by the respective antitrust offices, comprises Knjaz Miloš’s production site in Serbia, including its brands such as Knjaz Miloš, Aqua Viva, Guarana, ReMix Knjaz, Tube and Gusto. With a history of
over 200 years, Knjaz Miloš, based in Aranđelovac, Serbia is among the largest producers of mineral water, soft and energy drinks on the Serbian Market.
“Fight Club” Presaged the Darker Corners of the Internet Tyler Durden’s evolution mirrors that of an online troll Twenty years ago, Hollywood started to reckon with the internet. “The Blair Witch Project” (1999) was the first major film to understand online marketing, stoking debates in chat rooms over whether its footage was real or fictional. That same year, “The Matrix” explored the possibilities of the internet in a narrative at once utopian and dystopian. Yet it was a third film, which had its premiere on September 10th 1999, which was most prescient in its understanding of how the internet era would play out. The first rule is: you do not talk about it. The legacy of “Fight Club” is long and complex. Based on a book by Chuck Palahniuk, it is a satirical thriller about a young office worker known only as The Narrator (Edward Norton). He teams up with Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), a charismatic radical, to start an underground boxing club that evolves into an anarchist movement. Though the film underperformed at the box office, and received middling reviews from critics, it struck a chord with young men. The film’s poster adorned university dorm rooms, while the critical community, which itself includes many young men, later deemed it a cult classic. As the careers of Mr Pitt and David Fincher, the director, flourished, “Fight Club” came to be revered both for Mr Pitt’s bravura lead performance and its satire of corporate culture and American masculinity. Yet two decades on, the film has become a fillip for internet trolls. On sites such as Reddit, 4chan and 8chan, where some forums cultivate misogyny and real-world violence, “male rampage” films such as “American Psycho” and “Fight Club” are frequently praised. The character of Durden is often quoted by disaffected male users for his anti-consumerist rhetoric (“Things you own end up owning you”), his critique of the feminisation of society (“I’m wondering if another woman is really the answer we need”), and his rejection of liberal individualism (“You are not a
YET TWO DECADES LATER, THE IMPACT OF “FIGHT CLUB” CAN STILL BE FELT IN ONLINE COMMUNITIES, CINEMATIC DISCOURSE, POLITICS beautiful and unique snowflake”). In fact, “Fight Club” is something of a sacred text. According to 4chan users, the first rule of the internet is “You do not talk about /b/,” referring to the popular “random” board of 4chan that is home to its most provocative posts. Although “Fight Club” makes no direct reference to the internet, it is easy to see why the film has resonated with its users. It is eventually revealed that The Narrator has split personality disorder and has
created the persona of Durden to liberate himself from social constraints. As Durden explains: “I act like you want to act...I’m free in all the ways you are not.” The Narrator has conjured up a stronger, more confident character to anonymously act out the darker impulses stifled by civil society—rather like an anonymous online avatar. Indeed, much as young men are radicalised on the internet, Durden’s behaviour becomes more extreme as the film progresses. He
starts off with petty pranks. As a banquet waiter, he urinates in the soup served to a room full of socialites. In his job as a movie projectionist he splices single frames of pornographic images into children’s films. Only later does he recruit a group of similarly disaffected, mostly white, young men to join Project Mayhem, whereby they engage in an amalgam of performance art and criminal mischief. They smash up a coffee shop, destroy cable antennae and plan to blow up the buildings of credit-card companies to eliminate private debt. For impressionable young troublemakers, the film must have seemed like a howto manual for perpetrating anarchy: both The Narrator and Durden speak directly to the camera at times, explaining their techniques and motivations. It is this close identification with Durden that many critics have rebuked, arguing that the film implicitly endorses the character’s violence. In 1999 the late Roger Ebert wrote in his review that “Fight Club” is “the most frankly and cheerfully fascist big-star movie since ‘Death Wish’, a celebration of violence in which the heroes write themselves a licence to drink, smoke, screw and beat one another up.” Laurie Penny, a feminist writer, recently said that “the film has so much fun with Tyler Durden as a mad phantom from the id that it forgets that he’s meant to be frightening.” Indeed, in Mr Palahniuk’s novel, the character of Durden is more psychopathic and less sympathetic. Yet two decades later, the impact of “Fight Club” can still be felt in online communities, cinematic discourse, politics. It even foreshadowed the dark paths that anonymous individuals would be lead down. It gave voice to a disaffected group that demands to be heard ever more loudly. From The Economist, published under licence. The original article, in English, can be found on www.economist.com
Homeopathic Physician to the Stars Despite unqualified homeopaths claiming to cure anything and the mainstream medical lobby pumping billions to disprove homeopathy, there have been overwhelming and well-researched results, i.e. cured and well-managed cases of hundreds of diseases like cancer, autism and infertility
Dr. SHREEPAD A. KHEDEKAR MD (Hom)
“My mission is to provide a better, happier, all-round quality of life for everyone. My aim is to advance homeopathic theory, refine practice and add to the repertory. I want the world to know about homeopathy being the most effective, natural, gentle and economical system in medicine. Despite unqualified homeopaths claiming to cure anything and the mainstream medical lobby pumping billions to disprove homeopathy, there have been overwhelming and well-researched results, i.e. cured and well-managed cases of hundreds of diseases like cancer, autism and infertility”, says Dr. Shreepad A. Khedekar, MD (Hom), at the beginning of his interview for Diplomacy&Commerce magazine.
How did you get started with homeopathy?
— My journey in medicine started in 1996 when I enrolled in the BHMS course. I was always fascinated by the natural sciences and this was my best career option as a young student with ambitions of changing the world. I successfully qualified with a First Class MD Homeopathy and was the first rank holder in the 3 year post-graduation course in homoeopathy, with Materia Medica as major subject and Repertory as minor subject. All in all, I studied this science for-
mally for 9 years from Bachelor’s to my Master’s degree and have been practicing it for last 19 years.
Can you tell us more about the homeopathic treatment? What is the history of this alternative medicine? — Homeopathy was first mentioned by Hippocrates (462–377 BC), but it was the German physician Samuel Hahnemann (1755–1843) who established homeopathy’s basic principles. Rather than fighting the disease directly, medicines are intended to stimulate the body to fight the disease. Like vaccination, homeopathic medicines prescribed by a qualified homeopathic doctor are packets of dynamic energy, highly 'potentised' to stimulate
visit www.shreepadkhedekar.com for more information.
Where do you have clinics in the world and in Serbia?
- My first clinics were launched in India after which I was invited to teach Swiss doctors in Zurich and Lucerne. Soon after, I was also invited by the Hahnemann Homeopathy Society in Novi Sad and theSerbian Doctors Association (SLD) in Belgrade in 2005. Since then, I have been regularly teaching medical doctors all over Europe and the USA. I received great encouragement from the Indian
HOMEOPATHY CAN CURE EVERYTHING THAT’S A BYPRODUCT OF STRESS your own DNA repair mechanism at the genetic level. Thousands of years ago, herbs, minerals, animal products and metals were commonly used before Western pharmaceuticals were introduced. Treating and preventing medical conditions with herbs is naturally safe, as conventional drugs are causing mere symptomatic relief and a serious suppression of natural defences thus destroying your immunity. Some of the biggest advocates of homeopathy are globally renowned individuals like Queen Elizabeth II, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Twain, etc. Please
embassy in Serbia; from H. E. Ajay Swarup, H. E. Nengcha Lhovum, and H. E. Narinder Chauhanå who have been of immense support to me and helped me establish my own Homeopathy School in Belgrade that offers 3-month-training courses with live cases. I have helped over 300 doctors qualify from there. Currently, I have clinics and research centres in Mumbai, Dubai and in Belgrade.
Which diseases are best treated by homeopathy? Can homeopathy cure the most serious illnesses which the classical
medicine considers incurable?
— The kind of imbalance stress can create in one’s life is mind-boggling. Stress causes a negative dip in your healing powers and your immunity. So, as a matter of fact, homeopathy can cure everything that’s a byproduct of stress. But over the years we have researched and specialised in treatments in 3 important verticals – neuro-developmental disorders in children such as autism, cerebral palsy, ADHD, speech disorders and psychological disorders; sports medicine where we have treatment plans for international and professional athletes to ensure their performance improves by increasing their mental and physical capacities by stimulating their immunity. This we achieve in collaboration with specialists in sports medicine, Dr. Nikola Romeo Popović, who assists me in his domain. To date, we have helped many top international athletes. We also treat autoimmune diseases such as eczema, psoriasis, Hashimoto’s, vitiligo, hormonal imbalances and rheumatoid arthritis. Besides this, homeopathy is very effective in cases of infertility and other incurable diseases. More information available on: Website: www.shreepadkhedekar.com 5e, Koste Glavinića, Senjak, Belgrade Tel: +381 65 3660 565 e-mail: email@example.com
Bitef is a History of Contemporary World Theatre
Although Bitef's audience is accustomed to interacting with the performers and this is no novelty, this year the level of viewer participation has been raised one more bar JELENA KNEŽEVIĆ Executive Director of Bitef
This year's Bitef Festival runs from 17th to 26th September. We spoke with Bitef’s Executive Director, Jelena Knežević about what the audience can expect this year, the current situation in culture and modern-day patrons. What can the audience expect from this year's Bitef?
— Full immersion in theatre! Although Bitef's audience is accustomed to interacting with the performers and this is no novelty, this year the level of viewer participation has been raised one more bar. This year's repertoire of plays is just a framework, while the audience will create the content and have a final say. After 53rd Bitef, we will all be "purified and bathed in the water of emotions that are about to revive us" and move us to "start love from the very beginning." The second part of the Festival takes place outside the theatre buildings - in three hangars and under the circus tent in the Port of Belgrade. Bitef had previously discovered new urban spaces and transformed them into scenic ones, but we have never before had such a demanding and spectacular spatial relocation. For five days, the Port of Belgrade will be the space of freedom and a laboratory for a utopian attempt to build a new community. The main festival programme consists of twelve performances from nine countries, including Brazil and Nigeria, which theatre we do
not often see in this part of Europe. Also, we will introduce two currently most radical and most provocative European directors - Milo Rau and Stefan Kaegi. We always expect a lot from Bitef, and we have no choice but to always make a globally relevant programme of the latest theatrical tendencies. Could you tell us something about the cultural strategy and idea that accompanies the concept of this year's Bitef?
— This year, Bitef will send out a strong message about the importance of preserving and empowering the community. It is one of the most important functions of
convince us of the power of collective action, solidarity and humanity. Thus, Belgrade audiences will be challenged to give unknown people their absolute trust and unconditional support so that they can all "survive" together. Behind of it all is our strategy to harness the transformative power of theatre and contribute to a better society. Although it sounds utopian, we should not give up. This year also marked thirty years since the death of Mira Trailović. How big of a responsibility is working on Bitef, following Mira's and Jovan Ćirilov's passing?
I BELIEVE THAT STRENGTHENING THE SENSE OF COMMUNITY IS THE ONLY SOLUTION TO ALLEVIATING CURRENT SOCIAL CRISES, PRIMARILY THE GROWING STRATIFICATION OF THE RICH AND THE POOR AND THE MIGRANT AND ENVIRONMENTAL CRISES the theatre; to care for the creation and education of the community, at different levels - love relationships, friendship, family, society, state and world. I believe that strengthening the sense of community is the only solution to alleviating current social crises, primarily the growing stratification of the rich and the poor and the migrant and environmental crises. Performances at this year's Bitef, as well as numerous concomitant programmes, will try to offer an alternative to current forms of social functioning and to
— Mira Trailović and Jovan Ćirilov have left an indelible mark not only on Bitef but on the entire cultural scene. I do not know of any cultural institution that has such a solid sense of gratitude and responsibility to its founders in its organizational culture. Although I did not know Mira Trailović personally, I really did feel like she was part of my immediate family, especially after the exhibition we were preparing this year on the occasion of the thirty years of Bitef Theater and thirty years since the death of its founder. I have shared
an office with Jovan Ćirilov for ten years and I consider that to be one of my greatest privileges. Jovan is still the most quoted person in our office, and the book "Mira Trailović, Gospodja iz Velikog Sveta", written by Feliks Pašić, remains the biggest inspiration. Usually, institutions fall into a crisis when they are left without such powerful leaders, but this was not the case with Bitef, which speaks volumes about the environment's organic need for this festival, although it often does not seem so. Thanks to Anja Suša, who managed to preserve the highest quality of the Festival in the most difficult conditions, and Ivan Medenica, who bravely took the Festival into a new direction, Bitef is still our most important cultural event with the most significant global reputation. Given Bitef's very significant social role, how do you deal with the need to make culture marketable?
— There are segments in the society that cannot be marketable, which are crucial to the survival and health of society and it is the responsibility of the entire community to preserve them. Given the increasing expansion of the creative and cultural industries, I believe that it is important today to draw a clear distinction between commercial and non-commercial art, and between entertainment art and the art that problematizes, thinks critically, gets angry, fights and enters into open conflicts. I was always only interested in the latter and it is impossible to expect it to survive in the market. The
fact that some fun, commercial festivals manage to survive in the market should not mislead us into thinking that all festivals should become marketable. The situation in which commercial festivals receive a great deal of state support is incredibly dangerous. They have been claims for many years now that Serbia doesn't have enough money for culture. Does it have enough money for Bitef?
— The amount that has been earmarked for culture in Serbia has been significantly lower for years now compared to the recommendations coming from Europe, and we have every right to say that "there has been no money for culture in Serbia for years". Bitef's counterparts elsewhere in the world have up to twenty times bigger budgets. In relation to the cultural scene in Serbia, Bitef is really well-positioned and the funds allocated for this festival from
companies aware of the importance of culture?
— Bitef is a history of contemporary world theatre, but also a history of great patrons, benefactors, donors, and sponsors who have recognized this festival as a good “investment” for the development of civil society in this region. Bitef has its own Club of Friends, which is slowly growing in size and is made up of companies that courageously take the risk of investing in engaging and provocative contemporary art, aware that that is the only path that leads to emancipation and social progress. For me, one of the greatest privileges of working at Bitef is that I meet some of the most important artists in the world, but also people who successfully run large companies and who are serious experts in world art. I can't say that there are many of them, but when you come across one, it's a really valuable experience. I would like to mention a few of them - Zoran Petrović,
THIS YEAR, BITEF WILL SEND OUT A STRONG MESSAGE ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF PRESERVING AND EMPOWERING THE COMMUNITY
the state budget have increased in recent years, as did the funds received from sponsors and donors. The art that is created on the independent cultural scene, which is of inestimable importance and deserves to have more state support, is in much bigger jeopardy. At the same time, we object to decades-long politicization of the arts and the distribution of resources in relation to political affiliation. The cultural industry should focus on the de-politicization of the arts and the arm's length model of cultural politics that favours expertise. Nowadays, companies are called modern-day patrons. How many of them have shown understanding for Bitef? Are
Chairman of the Executive Board of Raiffeisen Bank, Diana Gligoriević, Executive Director of TeleGroup, Milan Beko, Director of the Port of Belgrade, Suzana Djordjević, Director of the Hemofarm Foundation, Stevan Vraneš, Regional Corporate and Legal Affairs Director of Imperial Tobacco, Damir Jusufović, owner of Halo Creative Team, etc. Bitef enjoys the support of two of our most important marketing agencies - the I&F McCann Group and New Moment. Dragan Sakan and Jovan Ćirilov often joked that it was fortunate that they went to different sectors because they would be in serious competition with each other. I think that Ivan Medenica, Srdjan Šaper and Žarko Sakan can say the same today.
Interviewer: MILICA SAVIĆ
The 'Van Gogh from Novi Sad's Collections' Exhibition is our Commentary on the Preparations for the European Capital of Culture so Far “The clock has almost started ticking, and things are still being done upside down – from the sets to the content!”
TADIJA JANIČIĆ & PETAR MIRKOVIĆ Painter
In October 2016, Novi Sad won the flattering title of the European Capital of Culture for 2021. All that time since then, citizens of Novi Sad and its surrounding can attend different events in the city, but the art scene in Novi Sad is making increasingly louder complaints about cultural programs and the relationship of Foundation “NS 2021”, which is in charge of the implementation of this project, towards the local art scene. What this is actually about was the topic of our conversation with two contemporary artists, who are creating their artwork there, “on the other side”, in the so-called Kineska Creative District. They are Petar Mirkovic and Tadija Janicic. It will soon be three years since we got the title. We understand
the significance and the power of having the European Capital of Culture title, what does it bring to us and how “audible” this is?
Mirković: It doesn’t matter if everyone understands, but it is important for those who should, those who are responsible, to understand. This is certainly a great opportunity that doesn’t come along very often, but will they be able to take use of it – we shall se.
would squander this great opportunity that doesn’t come along so often. I hope that the trust bestowed on us will not be betrayed by the people managing the project. Members of the independent cultural scene complain that they are largely excluded from the planning of this project. In whose interest is the silence and the closing into some personal space?
THE ENTIRE PROJECT IS CARRIED OUT BY THE FOUNDATION 2021, WHICH IS A HERMETICALLY SEALED GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO TOOK THIS OVER AS THOUGH IT IS THEIR PERSONAL MATTER If the situation was reverse, what would a missed opportunity mean for Novi Sad and for Serbia?
Janičić: This would be a disaster for Novi Sad, because the city
Mirković: The entire project is carried out by the Foundation 2021, which is a hermetically sealed group of people who took this over as though it is their personal matter. From the start, we knew that
this wasn’t a city institution, that it is someone working for the needs of the city, practically a private company that makes all the decisions on its own without including the other associates. We know that half of the budget was intended for the city of culture; one half was intended for infrastructure, another part for the programs. If we consider the numbers mentioned in some media in the past, this is a huge amount of money for the programs. However, nothing is happening when it comes to the programs. They create the programs themselves, without including the other participants in the art scene. We expected at least to see a five-year plan or a ten-year plan, to see how it’s being done, to see guidelines, what are the strong and what are the weak links, we expected a serious analysis, after which the program would be prepared in a smart way, together with the projects that would be conducted in this direction. So, we have a bunch
of some fictional programs that are frivolous and amateurish. What would you consider a “serious” exhibition of the local artists?
Janičić: A more serious offer can happen if they are serious enough to understand things this way, to finally start organizing top quality exhibitions and programs in the city, when we stop fooling around with these low class events. There is a lot of folklore and festivals of suspicious origin, to put it that way. Why is it important to understand and consult the local cultural scene? What does participation mean for young artists?
Mirković: So to speak, we don’t have another culture than the local one. It is necessary to talk about all the participants in the cultural scene. Both young and old should carry the cultural system of a city equally. We now have the opportunity to push some things, financial support was provided for development of the cultural system, to liven it up a bit and to continue riding that wave afterwards. However, I am not certain that things are done this way here, or that the opportunity is perceived this way.
Foundation. We know that there was some great mystery around the then Art Director. The story appeared in the media, then he withdrew from that position after a few months, and to this day, in the city of culture, we do not have an Art Director at the Foundation. And we’re not certain if the handful of people managing it have the competencies for this. This isn’t just a festival, this is culture on the city level, and not just a one-day event, something that is supposed to be a celebration. Everything has this fair-like vibe, like a festival theatre. Your comment to Yoko Ono’s installation?
ed artwork of the famous artist, and that you will invite Djule Van Gogh as your guest under the motto “The Artist is Present”.
Mirković: We had the opportunity to see what they called “The Toulouse-Lautrec Exhibition”, where re-prints from some series, some sources, we don’t know which, were exhibited. So, it’s something that cannot be referred to as original artwork, it doesn’t have the status of an artwork, and it was presented as the work of Toulouse-Lautrec. Everything else was much more important: the concert, a cocktail party afterwards… One knows what an exhibition production looks like, and we don’t even
WE HAVE VERY GOOD COOPERATION WITH THE CITY SECRETARY FOR CULTURE, DALIBOR ROŽIĆ. HIS DOORS ARE ALWAYS OPEN TO US, BUT WHEN WE DO MEET THE GUYS FROM “2021”, IT’S JUST HEAD NODDING
Did you try to organize meetings with someone at the Foundation, to reach someone?
Janičić: Yes. We have very good cooperation with the City Secretary for Culture, Dalibor Rožić. His doors are always open to us, but when we do meet the guys from “2021”, it’s just head nodding and the words: “Tell us what you need, we are open for everything.” However, when we step out and when the door closes – that’s all gone with the wind.
Do you see a solution? At least in terms of communication?
Mirković: As for the communication, we definitely more or less all know each other in this city which isn’t so big, and there was always this desire from the Foundation in the sense of “let’s cooperate”, the invitations and things like that. However, when it actually does come to that, nothing is happening. So we currently have no communication. They don’t invite outside partners, so to speak. I mean, we did attend some meetings, but it’s all cosmetics, it’s all just for the sake of it. The only solutions that we see are in the review and assessment of the competence of people in higher positions at the
The so-called Kineska Cultural District in Novi Sad, intended only for the purposes of cultural and creative industries, will become a one-of-a-kind place in Serbia and one of the few in the region. What is happening behind these walls today?
Mirković: We should also mention that the Kineska Cultural District is not at all an idea of Foundation 2021, but that the reconstruction already happened here 8-9 years ago, and it is visible to the naked eye. Yes, there was an initiative from the City, together with a group of architects, which we presented in around 2010. The reconstruction was initiated, the paving was done, they put in cobblestone, the roof was replaced on this building and this is clearly visible in the city documentation. Then the elections came and the government structures were replaced, and everything was left standing there for several years, until the Foundation 2021 appeared and took this over as its own project. They registered this and never again did they say that the City actually already spent a larger sum of money, that the City already adapted one part, this was placed under protection, and then the protection was removed – this is a process that has lasted for a long time already. Janičić We fear what will happen in 2021. I fear the contents, what will be in Kineska District then, I fear that this might slip into cheap entertainment already in 2022.
Mirković: It was a scandal! Yoko Ono isn’t even recognized as a contemporary artist on the global scene, she is famous for being John Lennon’s widow and that’ that. However, she, the “sajka” boat, the sculptural value of all that, the idea of the project, the proclamation of the Fortress and the first world peace, etc. – these are some things we really don’t know how to comment on. That should not be happening. At the beginning of July, an event was organized in Novi Sad’s Svilara Cultural Station and it was announced as an exhibition of Toulouse-Lautrec's paintings. What did the citizens of Novi Sad actually see in that exhibition? Is it true that, as your comment to this exhibition, you and your artist friends are organizing an exhibition titled “Van Gogh from Novi Sad’s collections”, where you will exhibit posters, fridge magnets and T-shirts with print-
know who organized this or how, was it part of some contemporary art, scene, or what was it? It was a populist project that should serve as some kind of indicator to the media that something is being done. Janičić: I can speak only from the standpoint of a painter, artist, and what was presented there was on such a low level that it even insults one’s intelligence. It was so bad that I don’t know if it is possible to come up with anything below this. It is true, we will organize an exhibition at the end of October – The Van Gogh from Novi Sad’s Collections, here in our space. It will be a big exhibition. We can guarantee that it will be of better quality than the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition you just saw. We will exhibit a great number of works for Novi Sad’s collections of Van Gogh, which will be premiered. I think that this will be a real and great contribution to Novi Sad from our part.
Mirković: Here we are talking about the former factory complex of Petar Drapsin Factory and the Kineska District, depending on the project, but this refers to around twenty thousand square meters. I don’t think it would be simple to fill this amount of space with cultural content even for Berlin, and not to mention Novi Sad. This should all be ready, we should have a developed system – who will be the bearer of the cultural scene, who will push this forward, and not only to do things backwards – they are moving from sets to content, we are going from sets to content, which is just upside down. They are making room for theatres, galleries, whatever, and we don’t know who will manage this, who will bear this, who will be the main engine and initiator of all this. We don’t see any serious materials, idea, concept, strategy, what is being done with this, and the time is ticking – it’s almost here.
I Can’t Wait to Open the New Season Musicology Barcaffe Sessions announces season to be opened by the amazing singer and songwriter Hindi Zahra If you were a song, which one would you be?
— No doubt about this one. Prince’s “Purple Rain” because of my blues. What made the most impact on your music and carrier? Photo: Tala Hadid
— Everything that happens to us shapes us in one way or another. I believe it was the hard times that I went through that made the most impact on my carrier. My spiritual experiences were quite important as well. HINDI ZAHRA Singer and songwriter
This year’s Musicology Barcaffe Sessions season will feature incredible artists, once again bringing quality music to the region. As always, Musicology chose an artist that had already performed in Belgrade as a part of the concert series, and is definitely the most wanted artist to open this year’s season. After Hindi Zahra held an outstanding concert in Belgrade two years ago, the organizers decided to schedule two more concerts this year to please the Serbian audience. The world-known singer will perform at the famous Bitefartcafe club on September 28 and 29, after opening the series in Zagreb and Ljubljana. Hindi Zahra was born in South Morocco, where she grew up in a family of musicians: “I grew up in a music family. My mother was a singer, and my uncles were musicians as well, meaning that music was a big part of my everyday life. When I moved to Paris, I started doing music with other musicians there. Soon after, I did hip-hop, jazz, and lyric opera.” When she was a kid she wanted to study psychology, but music became her companion for life, and she embraced it. “When I was 28 years old, I rented an apartment and started
recording some material. That’s when my first album happened.” We asked Hindi Zahra to define her style, explain her musical influences, and tell us what is she listens to in her free time: “It’s hard for me, defining my music. It’s a mix of different styles and genres. I wanted my music to sound like it’s from Morocco, mixed with Western music like jazz and blues. Essentially, it’s based on different jazz and blues influences, as well as rock and roll and oriental rhythms. There’s so much good music around to be
Your music has a special impact on the audience and your fans. Why do you think this is?
— I believe it’s because of my wish to make them feel good, and because of the way I feel while performing. There’s a lot of energy fluctuating between the audience and me. I’m sure they can feel it. Maybe it’s the way I’m expressing my emotions through live performances. Aside from being a musician, what defines you?
I WANTED MY MUSIC TO SOUND LIKE IT’S FROM MOROCCO, MIXED WITH WESTERN MUSIC LIKE JAZZ AND BLUES influenced by. When I was growing up, I was listening to artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Tina Turner, and Whitney Houston. I was influenced by black music from America and Africa, but also Oriental, Egyptian, and Indian music. But now you can catch me listening to anything from trap, traditional, digital or classical music. I love the diversity! No boundaries. It’s an endless field of possibilities and inspiration. Every music genre has something special and authentic to give.” Whose performances made the most influence on you?
— I think Prince was really big on stage.
— I’m a dreamer, a painter, and a meditative philosopher. While I was working at Louvre, I started painting a lot. This was also one of the big influences for me – being surrounded by art and history. I’ve learned that knowledge and art are remarkably close. The first written words were drawings, which is why I link art to knowledge. Those two are inseparable. In 2010, you released your album “Handmade”. Can you tell us more about this album, and what it meant to you?
— It was an album I produced, composed and arranged all by myself. It represents freedom.
That’s what I wanted. I didn’t have people around me to tell me what I was supposed to do. I think people were expecting me to do a jazz album, and this was not a jazz album. I was meaning to break the barriers, and I did it through my own freedom. And after everything you created with your last album “Homeland”, can you tell us, how strongly do you feel the connection to your homeland? Would you say your Moroccan roots are calling you?
— Absolutely! My country and my people – they gave me so much. I’ve spent 5 years in my land, contemplating, discovering myself and finding new paths to myself and my music. I adore Marrakesh and everything it represents. It’s a big part of who I am. I would like people to know more about Morocco and African culture. Our land is so beautiful. It has it all – those high mountains covered in snow, the desert, the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Lovely nature. You performed in Belgrade as a part of the Musicology Barcaffe Sessions concert series in 2017. How was that experience? What do you expect this time?
— For me, it was an incredible experience. I had connected with the audience deeply, and I could feel their energy, while they felt my being. I can’t wait to open the new season on September 28, and I’m very much excited to see where the concert takes us on the 28th, and where it takes us on the 29th of September. And last, but not least – could you share some thoughts/advice with all the young artists in Serbia that are at the beginning of their carriers?
— Listen to yourselves. Use the knowledge you possess, but don’t forget to let your imagination take over you. Find that which makes you different, and don’t give it up!
Text: ROBERT ČOBAN
HISTORIC HOTELS: EXCELSIOR, LIDO, VENICE
Death and Life in Venice
If the Grand Hotel des Bains is synonymous for “Death in Venice”, anxiety and melancholy, just as it was in Thomas Mann’s book, Visconti’s film and the gloom that envelopes it today, than the Excelsior Hotel is a symbol of “Life in Venice”, both today and throughout history
Grand Hotel des Bains, built in 1900, the favorite vacation place of Thomas Mann, who chose it as the setting for his famous novel, “Death in Venice” in 1911 – it is located only a few kilometers away… The majestic Luchino Visconti made a film of the same name in this hotel in 1971 . In 2010, a lock was put on the hotel with the intention to turn it into a complex of luxury privately owned apartments (like the Plaza in New York), and the plan was for the grand opening to take place at the end of 2011. However, in August 2019, the Grand Hotel des Bains is still in the dark, closed and “under renovation”. This summer, Professor Gustav von Aschenbach from Mann’s novel would have to look for another melancholic refuge… If the Grand Hotel des Bains – through the book, the film and the darkness that surrounds it today
TODAY, THE EXCELSIOR EXUDES A BLEND OF OLD-TIME CHARM AND WINDS THAT BRING HABITS AND CUSTOMS OF TODAY’S GUESTS
Stalls at the hotel beach
– is synonymous for “death in Venice”, anxiety and melancholy – the Hotel Excelsior is the symbol of “life in Venice” – throughout the history, and today. Let’s go back 111 years into the past. It is July 21st, 1908 – night of the grand opening of Hotel Excelsior in Lido: there are over 3,000 guests from all over the world and 30,000 Venetians who came to Lido for this reason! Construction of the hotel was ordered by the famous businessman of the era, Nicolo Spada, and the architect was Giovanni Sardi. Nicolo Spada’s vision was to turn Lido into something more than just a sand barrier between the Laguna and the famous Venice. The lavish and relaxed atmosphere of the Belle Epoque was an ideal backdrop for the opening of this new destination for the international jet-set. Very soon, Lido became a luxury haven for guests
Access to the hotel from the canal
from all over the world: endless sand beaches with the view of the Adriatic Sea on one side, parks on the other side, and Venice only 15 minutes boat ride away – made Lido the favorite place for vacation of stylish people worldwide. And very soon, a large number of villas, mansions and luxury hotels started to appear on the Lido. In the 1930s, relevance of the hotel grew even more after the establishment of the Venice International Film Festival (1938) and the grand opening of Casino Venice. In the years after that, almost the entire planetary list of “who’s who” stayed in this hotel at least once: from Barbara Hutton to the Duke of Windsor, from Errol Flynn to Elisabeth Taylor, Ingrid Bergman and Winston Churchill. Today, the Excelsior exudes a blend of old-time charm and winds that bring habits and customs of today’s guests. When we stayed at the hotel in 2013, the gala dinner on the occasion of the Feast of the Assumption – August 15th – ended with a DJ party at the swimming pool, where its sets and concept looked more like a party in Ibiza than the elegant parties with classical music from the period of Professor von Aschenbach. In the meantime, the 111 year old building was largely renovated, as the Hotel Manager told me last week, and the full reconstruction of the restaurant, the rooms, terraces and the swimming pool is expected to take place next year. At the end of July, the sun sets at the pool already around 5pm, but it shines over the beach in front of the hotel until 8 in the evening. There at the pier you can rent overpriced retro stalls like from the Visconti film, or just take a swim in the shallow outside the hotel. Lifeguards will warn you of jellyfish in deeper water and not to swim further than around 50 meters of
Hotel postcard from 1908
the pier length. Away from the tourist crowds in Venice (which is, for example, the first thing that guests of the Danieli Hotel next to the Doge’s Palace encounter after leaving the hotel) – the Excelsior is about 15 minute boat ride from St. Mark’s Square, and a free hotel shuttle boat takes this route every half hour. The pier for boats of the hotel was built on the canal that approaches the hotel from the opposite side of the beach and cuts the Lido in half - it is one
favorite Trattoria alla Madonna next to the Rialto Bridge, and the only possible way to go through was with our shoes in our hands. The mentioned restaurant was recommended by the writer Vladimir Pištalo, who explored the city in detail while writing his novel “The Venice” (Serbian: Venecija). Locals eat there, it’s not expensive and the food is excellent, which is rare for Venice, full of “tourist traps”. We returned to Lido by boat, with our feet wet and our stom-
THE PIER FOR BOATS OF THE HOTEL WAS BUILT ON THE CANAL THAT APPROACHES THE HOTEL FROM THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE BEACH AND CUTS THE LIDO IN HALF - IT IS ONE OF THE MOST ROMANTIC PLACES I’VE SEEN of the most romantic places I’ve seen. It can happen, and it happened several times during our stay there, that the water rises so much because of the acqua alta phenomenon that the shuttle-boat cannot access the hotel due to the height of the last bridge before the hotel – in that case, guests must take a 5-minute walk to the pier in front of the casino. One night, the water in the Laguna increased so much in just two hours that we encountered a completely flooded St. Mark’s Square on our way back from our
achs full. I remembered on this occasion the visit to the cemetery on the Isola di San Michele where, after the fall of the Republic, Napoleon taught the Venetians to bury their dead properly instead of burying them unhygienically in the churchyards in the city. An especially bizarre moment is that rooms of patients of the Venice City Hospital have a view of the Isola di San Michele. Special funeral gondolas transport the dead to the island. The San Michele cemetery is
the resting place of Igor Stravinsky, Joseph Brodsky and Ezra Pound, among others. Two years ago, during his visit to Belgrade, Mikhail Baryshnikov told us over dinner how Susan Sontag caused a scandal at Joseph Brodsky’s funeral by insisting that he, as a Jew, must not be buried near Ezra Pound, who was a Nazi sympathizer between the two wars. It’s interesting that Venice remains in quite a stressful memory to most people because they usually visit Venice for half a day, in the strongest sun, they stand in lines in front of the Doge’s Palace or St. Mark’s Basilica, they eat bad quality and expensive pizza and they return to their buses or to a ship before the sun sets. Venice leaves a completely different impression if you experience it on a several-days trip. An ideal scenario: You roam the city streets or visit the Biennale before noon, you col off at the swimming pool in the afternoon, and in the evening you go out to dinner to the city which is now free from day tourists and pleasantly fresh. The Excelsior is one of five hotels in Venice that has a swimming pool and it’s the only one with its own beach. American financier Pierpont Morgan said on one occasion: “The Americans who visited Europe talk more about the Hotel Excelsior than about the Doge’s Palace!“
DRAGON BONES BEHIND THE ALTAR To those who travel to Venice I recommend the book “Secret Venice”, which discovers some slightly less famous and visible, and yet very exciting and interesting locations in the city. Thanks to this book, I saw parts of the city and details in churches, palaces, on building façades that I would never notice as an ordinary traveller. For example, behind the altar of the Church of
Santa Maria e San Donato on the island of Murano are the hung “bones of the dragon” that St. Donatus defeated, and which were transferred here from Cephalonia together with his burial remains. Of course, this is a part of a skeleton of a prehistoric animal, but the thought of people believing for centuries that “dragon bones” are behind the church altar, is very exciting.
SERBIA TO HOST ASSEMBLY OF THE INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION 141st SESSION OF THE INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION (IPU) ASSEMBLY · 13th TO 17th OCTOBER, BELGRADE
The Republic of Serbia and the National Assembly will host the 141st session of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly from 13th to 17th October this year, when Belgrade will become the centre of parliamentary diplomacy, as close to 150 parliamentary delegations from around the world are expected to participate. The fact that our capital city will bring together more than 60 Speakers of Parliaments from all continents, and numerous Deputy Speakers, best speaks of the enormous political importance of this event, which will significantly increase Serbia's visibility on the political map of the world, and createopportunities for presenting our country’s economic and tourism potential and its promotion. The session in Belgrade will have a historic importance as it is being held on the 130th anniversary of this oldest and largest international parliamentary organization, which today has 179 full-fledged members. Due to its massiveness, as well as its role in the fight for peace, cooperation, human rights and the rule of law, the IPU bears the epithet of "The Par60
liamentary United Nations". The fact that our capital city is hosting this meeting after 56 years, as the 52nd IPU Assembly was held in Belgrade in 1963, in complex international circumstances at the time, also speaks to the importance of the Belgrade gathering. The Inter-Parliamentary Union meeting in Belgrade is also the first session in a European country, other than Switzerland (Geneva) after 20 years, since the last session in a European country was held in 1999 in Germany. The General Council of this global organization made the decision for Serbia to host the 141st IPU Assembly on 17 October 2018 in Geneva, which is an important success of parliamentary diplomacy both in context of the current international political situation and the overall international position of Serbia. At the same time, it is a validation of the hard work put in by the parliamentary delegation, led by the National Assembly’s Speaker, Ms Maja Gojković. www.diplomacyandcommerce.rs
CALENDAR & NEWS
CONCERT PROGRAMME September 2019
Programme: Telemann, J.S. Bach, Handel, Ibert
Production: Belgrade Philharmonic For more infromation: 0112630744
Saturday, 28th at 11.00 Concert Hall
Saturday, 21st at 20.00 Concert Hall
MIŠKO PLAVI TRIO
Vasil Hadžimanov, piano, Džoni Dunkić, drums Ana Stanić, vocal & Miroslav Tovirac, guitar Sunday, 22nd at 11.00 Concert Hall
CYCLE: KOLARAC PODIUM OF CHAMBER MUSIC
Sunday, 8th at 11.00 Concert Hall
EUROPEAN DAY OF JEWISH CULTURE
Jewish Chamber Orchestra Soloist: Nemanja Marjanović, viola Conductor: Stefan Zekić Production: Music Centre & B’nai B’rith Admission free Wednesday, 11th at 18.00 Music Gallery
SIMONIDA MILETIĆ soprano
Production: Music Centre
Sunday, 15th at 11.00 Concert Hall
CYCLE: KOLARAC PODIUM OF CHAMBER MUSIC
Concert Dedicated to Clara Schumann (1819-1896) Stevan Hadžić, bariton, Mina Aleksić, Irena Ogrizović, violins, Nenad Uskovković, cello, Anka Brašoveanu, Ružica Gojković, Jasmina Raković, pianos Production: Music Centre Admission free
Wednesday, 18th at 18.00 Music Gallery
piano Production: Music Centre Friday, 20th at 20.00 Concert Hall
BELGRADE PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
Conductor: Gabriel Feltz Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, piano Programme: V. Mokranjac, Beethoven, Mahler
SMALL SCHOOL OF BONTON/HOW TO LISTEN TO THE CONCERT
Host: Miloš Milovanović Production: Music Centre 200 Saturday, 28th at 20.00 Concert Hall
ROCHER ETHNO BAND
Villa Lobos Production: Music Centre Admission free
500, 600, 700
Wednesday, 25th at 19.30 Concert Hall
CONCERT OF WINNERS/ THE INTERNATIONAL
Sunday, 29th at 11.00 Concert Hall
30TH ANNIVERSARY OF KOREA-SERBIA DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS Conductor: Winfried Toll Camerata Vocale Daejeon Pianists: Soo-Hee Kim Sung-Jin Park Thursday, 26th at 18.00 Music Gallery Production: Music Centre
solo singing competition "Lazar Jovanović" Admission free Sunday, 29th at 20.00 Concert Hall
TODO MUNDO / BELGRADE WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL
Svetlana Spajić vocal group Lajko Felix, violin
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