As part of the Serb National Council’s Political Academy in 2017 the sixth cycle of lectures and negotiations was held with young activists from Serb community as regular participants. The goal was that they should get to know each other, to exchange experience and acquire knowledge useful for further activities in three areas: 1) within the Serb community, i.e. in its cultural, educational, and social-political organisations, 2) representing Serb community in local, county and state bodies and 3) in public life, especially regarding subjects relevant for the Serb community. 16 participants, mostly younger persons, have attended the Academy.

Ahead of the last meeting in this year’s cycle, participants were asked to write short essays on two topics:

1.

What they see as the main problems that Serbs in Croatia are faced with — both at the local level (where they, the participants live) and at the national level.

2.

How they see the future of Serbs in Croatia in the next decade with 2017 as the target year? What, if anything, can be done to solve the problems which they have identified in their answer to the first question and to improve the Serb community’s position in comparison with the current situation.

Based on the essays that arrived by 29 October 2017, the sixth generation of participants held a one-and-a half hour discussion in which they have presented their answers to these two questions. During discussion all present had the opportunity to comment the answers given by their colleagues and to possibly question their responses or to add some other suggestions to the list. The discussion was conducted according to methodological principles applied in focus groups. To ensure the highest possible level of freedom in answering, all participants were guaranteed anonymity of their contributions which we have presented here. The discussion was entirely free and very productive. Some participants praised it particularly emphasising that they so far did not have many opportunities to express their opinions or propose solutions in such a way. The aim of the discussion, same as the preceding essay, was to forge a collective answer to the above questions that majority of those present could agree on.

To achieve an added quality, we brought together not only this year’s attendees of the Academy, but also some other younger activists from the ranks of the Serb community. At the same time about a dozen other activists, who attended the Academy in previous years, have been asked to take part in the discussion and answer the same questions.

This other group of participants served as a test group so that we could establish whether the opinion of the current attendees was typical or atypical in comparison with the larger group of attendees from previous generations. We have received a total of 21 essays, and some 30 participants were involved in the entire procedure. (Some participant did not write the essay, but still took part in the discussions.)

After the first version of this report has been drafted, its contents were discussed at the special meeting of representatives of current and previous generations of attendees of the Academy which was held on 12 November 2017.

In this report we will present the answers to the two questions mentioned above, hence the first two parts will be structured to reflect these questions. In the third part we will quote from the essays to illustrate some conclusions laid out in the first two parts.

You can read Bulletin #13 here