Skopje conference on building bridges between Greece, fYRoM

SKOPJE (ANA-MPA / N. Frangopoulos)

Academics from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM) and Greece took part in a one-day conference here entitled “We jointly build bridges”.

Participants from both countries noted that in order to eliminate stereotypes and correctly evaluate developments and whatever problems existing in the two countries’ societies, a better acquaintance and cooperation between the two was needed.

What organisers dubbed the (mis)use of national history, the formation of a national identity through history as well as human rights, were also debated.

Noted Skopje University law professor and former minister Ljubomir Frkoski announced a follow-up of the initiative at the university level, which, as he said, will focus primarily on issues pertaining to human rights and freedoms as well as the operation of a state of law.

He also noted that the difference over the “name issue” will not be discussed during the meetings, underlining however, that the current VMRO government in Skopje does not have a “real will” to solve the problem, whereas citizens in the one-time Yugoslav republic are confused over the content and the course of talks between the two countries held under UN auspices.

Christina Koulouri, a professor of modern and contemporary history at the Peloponnese University, called for a transgressing of “nationalistic approaches” in the teaching of history in the Balkans, while proposing the promotion of the teaching of what she called a “common regional history”.

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