International Conference "Psychosocial Well-being of Women Forced Migrants in the Western Balkans – Then and Now", held in Geneva


On 23 November 2016 Foundation for Women’s Empowerment Bosnia and Herzegovina (FWE BiH) and Middlesex University, UK, organised a conference titled Psychosocial well-being of women forced migrants in the Western Balkans – then and now at the Red Cross Museum in Geneva, Switzerland. The aim of the conference was to disseminate the key findings from the RRPP project Engendering forced migration, socio-political transition and mental health in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo, which focused on sharing the experiences of war and forced migration and describing their effects on the mental health and well-being of long-term displaced persons.

The conference gathered both researchers and practitioners from the humanitarian sector. Jasmina Opardija-Šušnjar, Programme Manager of the RRPP, introduced the legacy of RRPP’s ten years of work in supporting the social sciences research and networks in the Western Balkans. Professor Brad Blitz, from the Middlesex University, project mentor, and Dr Selma Porobić, Project Coordinator from the Foundation for Women’s Empowerment BiH introduced the project concept, aims and outputs.

Opening remarks were given by Professor Emeritus Guy Goodwin-Gill, from the University of Oxford. His speech is titled International Law and the Legacies of Refugee Protection and can be accessed here.

Project outputs include 12 complementary studies across the three countries. Dr Porobić pointed out that research opened up important questions for further investigations of psychosocial impacts of war and displacement, stressing the long-term effects on mental health in the prevailing context of dominant short-term and interventionist approaches. Siniša Volarević, from the Group 484, Serbia, and Anela Hasanagić from FWE BiH introduced the findings of the extensive psychometric part of the project, comprising three studies conducted in BiH, Serbia and Kosovo. The psychometric research involved a total of 750 respondents from 34 municipalities with the highest numbers of registered internally displaced persons, refugees and returnees. Alen Vodopijevec promoted the E-learning platform where the project resources can be accessed, and demonstrated its wider use.

Professor Eleonore Kofman and Professor Blitz introduced the project upgrade (June-November 2016) that included life history interviews with refugee women in Serbia. The upgrade was partially motivated by prevalent media misconceptions, including the mistaken belief that the new refugee flows through the Balkan route are dominated by young males. Stressing the large presence of women and children, the speakers drew attention to their needs for psychosocial and health services and affirmed the importance of the findings from this project.

Participants discussed the long-term impacts of protracted displacement and the post-return reality through the lens of psychosocial well-being. The discussion concluded with the question: how can past experiences of displacement inform contemporary efforts aimed at protecting Syrian and other refugees in the Western Balkans today?

The screening of the documentary film Transforming War Shattered Lives – Building Peace to Return Home was organised at the end. The film shows how some Bosnian women from Prijedor found a way to transform the trauma of war and displacement into engaging activist work and community rebuilding, offering positive insights for the future of today’s displaced.
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The RRPP is proud to present the volume Diversity of Migration in South-East Europe.
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26.03.2017

Centre of Excellence on Policymaking Systems in the Western Balkans (CEPS WeB) has been created. The mission of the CEPS WeB is to promote the use of research as the basis for policy- and decision-making in the Western Balkans by providing evidence-based and high-quality contributions to advance the existing policy processes.
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26.03.2017

The project The Impact of the Socio-Economic Structure of Rural Population on the Success of Rural Development Policy provides evidence-based understanding of the farmers’ behaviour and their interpersonal relation with other farmers. The research results show that there is a lack of skills and knowledge that needs to be addressed by training and a lessons learned campaign.
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26.03.2017

The research project The Impact of Fiscal Decentralisationon Local Economic Development in Serbia and Montenegro analysed and evaluated financial flows between central and local governments, and assessed the impact of the existing fiscal decentralisation model on the local economic development in both countries. The results are available online.
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25.03.2017

Research results of the project Care for the Carers: Policy Analysis of Informal Care Provision in Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina have been published recently. The objective of the project was to analyse the informal long-term care system focusing on informal carers, as well as policy advocacy efforts in Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
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25.03.2017

Economic Research and Policy Institute Finance Think Skopje in cooperation with ACSER Albania and FREN Serbia used newly created Delphi questionnaire to forecast the size and effects of remittances and emigration in four regional countries. The results suggest that remittances in the projected five-year period will increase in Macedonia and Serbia, and drop in Albania and Kosovo.
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25.03.2017

Research results of the project Migration as Social Protection: Analysis of Macedonian, Albanian and Serbian Remittance-receiving Households are now available online. The research examines how remittances affect various facets of household vulnerability in Macedonia, Albania and Serbia, large recipients of such transfers.
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25.03.2017

Policy brief on the project The Dynamics of Women’s Inclusion in Socio-Economic Life – the Cases of Albania and Macedonia have been published recently. The results confirmed the negative impact of the economic crisis on women’s labour participation.
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25.03.2017

Research Network on Decentralisation and Subnational Governance in Southeast Europe established. The goal of the network is to bring together researchers on decentralisation from SEE for closer cooperation, as well as internal and external networking.
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24.03.2017

The conference on the Challenges of Social Science Research at Western Balkan Universities has ended. The goal of the conference was to examine the problems and identify potential solutions to bridge the obvious gap at universities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the rest of the region between the working conditions for researchers on the one hand, and the formal requirements for the conferment of academic titles on the other.
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24.03.2017

The project Engendering Forced Migration, Socio-Political Transition and Mental Health in BiH, Serbia, and Kosovo, has come to an end. The list of all outputs and resources prepared during the project is now available online.
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RRPP Local Coordination Unit in Bosnia and Herzegovina organized an event about The Future of Research Impact: New Technologies for Better Promotion and Cooperation. Professor Andy Miah presented a strategic approach to social media and other web-based tools in research promotion and development. Video from the event is now available online.
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20.03.2017

The RRPP-funded research project From Inclusive Identities to Inclusive Societies has recently come to an end. A complex research design intended to explore antecedents and consequences of social identity inclusiveness in a sample of young people from Serbia, Kosovo*, Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
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20.03.2017

RRPP Local Coordination Unit in Kosovo in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of the Republic of Kosovo (MEST) organised a training on Writing Competitive Proposals for EU funded Projects in Prishtina. The goal of the training was to enhance the participants’ skills and knowledge on how to design competitive projects within the scope of the EU calls.
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16.03.2017

On 16 February 2017 the Foundation Open Society Macedonia (FOSM) organised the closing conference Challenges and Opportunities for Scientific Research Funding in the Republic of Macedonia within the RRPP National Policy Dialogue. The aim of the conference was to promote the newly designed model for funding scientific research activity (SRA) in the Republic of Macedonia.
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22.02.2017

The Regional Research Promotion Programme (RRPP) Local Coordination Unit for Bosnia and Herzegovina in cooperation with the University of Banja Luka is organising a conference titled Challenges of Social Science Research at Western Balkan Universities. The conference will be held at the Rectorate of the University of Banja Luka, on 07 March 2017, starting from 09:00.
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09.02.2017

Within the RRPP National Policy Dialogue activities in Macedonia, the Foundation Open Society Macedonia will organise a closing conference titled Challenges and Opportunities for Scientific Research Funding in the Republic of Macedonia.The conference will be held at the Hotel Holiday Inn in Skopje, on 16 February 2017, starting from 12:00.
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01.02.2017

The results of the RRPP-funded research project Courts as Policy-Makers?: Examining the Role of Constitutional Courts as Agents of Change in the Western Balkans have recently been published. The project examines the contribution of constitutional courts to democratic transition in five successor states of the former Yugoslavia: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia.
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26.01.2017

Local Coordination Unit of the RRPP for Bosnia and Herzegovina is organising a seminar/workshop followed by a discussion about The Future of Research Impact: New Technologies for Better Promotion and Cooperation. The event will be organised within the National Policy Dialogue in Bosnia and Herzegovina, at hotel Bristol Sarajevo, on 09.02.2017.
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26.01.2016

Centre for Political Courage from Kosovo and Development Solutions Associates from Albania conducted a research titled Mapping Clientelism and its Causes: Rents, Rent-Seeking and Democracy in Kosovo and Albania (1997-2013). The research was funded by the RRPP, and the results, published in the form of policy briefs, are now available online.
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30.12.2016

The research brief Social Capital, Migration, Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance: a Multidisciplinary Evidence from South-East Europe has been published within the RRPP-funded project Social Capital and Migration – Evidence from a Post-conflict Environment. The research identifies common and specific determinants of social capital, as well as similarities and differences between periods of crisis and normality.
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30.12.2016

Between May and December 2016, a series of roundtables on Ethics in Research has been organised at public universities around Albania. The purpose of these events was to present the main findings and recommendations deriving from the analysis undertaken by young researchers, as well as to promote constructive debate among researchers and university management structures.
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