University of Tetova organized the 4th Annual Conference of the Balkan Universities Association. The topic of this year’s conference is: “Collaboration between Universities and Cultural Coexistence – a premise for a sustainable platform in overall Balkan area”. This conference, attended by many rectors and scholars from all Balkan Universities, was declared opened by the Rector of the University of Tetova, at the same time President of the Balkan Universities Association, Prof. Dr. Vullnet Ameti, who said that with the activities of this academic, scientific and cultural level, we concretize the successful cooperation that we have built with institutions of higher education, with public and private institutions, with non-governmental organizations, as well as mutual cooperation with many universities from the country, region and the world, but also with well-established scholars of educational, scientific and cultural issues from our country, region and international arena. “Serious studies, scientific research at the University of Tetova are the main activities of our institution, an important and inseparable part of the academic activity. In order to meet the need for genuine research, our University now, through academic units, respectively faculties, organizes scientific activities and thus greatly enriching the overall activity of higher education. Today, universities with their commitments and initiatives always make real efforts and take steps to realize the institutional goals for education, setting in motion staffing capacities and making reforms consistent with contemporary time and reality. Topics, debates, different opinions on similar issues such as today’s discussion and their disclosure to students and the academic community, I believe, contribute to the strengthening of thoughts and views on the affirmation of cultural coexistence in this region” –said Prof. Dr. Vullnet Ameti.

In front of the auditorium, where, besides scholars, there were over 40 rectors of the Balkan Universities present, he also added that universities, should directs their studies towards genuine research of the culture of the peoples of the Balkans, which should not be seen only in the perspective of the common linguistic, cultural and literary influences that different cultures have had in the region, but particular importance should be devoted to genuine scientific study of the values of this civilization and the contribution that these cultures have offered to the entire history of humanity among centuries. “Different facts about the achievements of the cultures of the Balkan peoples with the history of their development over the centuries are at the same time an example of the coexistence of other cultures in different regions of the world, as a cradle of civilization, as an intersection of civilizations, the most obvious example of interweaving and harmony of cultures and beliefs. Established in 2014, the main goal of the Balkan University Association since its founding remains to determine a leading vision for the future through the universities, libraries, research centers in Balkan region on the base of common global values.

The materialization of this vision is to be done through forming up a scientific network in the areas of the of the language, culture, art, history, economy, education and sports; organizing joint diploma programs; opening the joint archive; opening of the Institute of Language, Culture and Civilization of Balkan Peoples; making joint scientific, researches and innovation projects, organizing exchange programs for academic staff and exchange programs for students within BUA’s members.

The University of Tetova is honored to be a full member of the Balkan Universities Association, as we had the honor to preside for a year, during which I believe we have served with dignity, devotion and professionalism.

The successful completion of the leadership with the Association presidency we’re crowning with the organization of the IV International Conference and with the approach of the new universities, which in this case become members of the BUA.

This already consolidated association will have the support of the University of Tetova even in the future, and together with other member universities, with ideas, views and alternative thinking, we will expand its activity and strengthen the academic freedom” – added Prof. Dr. Vullnet Ameti, Rector of the University of Tetova.

The opening of the proceedings of this Balkan inter-university conference with his presence was honored by the Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia, Mr. Talat Xhaferi. In front of the scientist he said that universities are the cradle of knowledge, the cradle of the future and institutions are the ones in which the vision for the future is determined. “I totally agree with the topic of this conference, because it is really essential for universities to cooperate with each other, and that is even more important if we take into account the whole Balkan context. The autonomy and role of universities should be respected by state authorities and institutions, while universities must develop into effective global development partners, whether at local, regional or global level”- said the Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia, Mr. Talat Xhaferi.

On behalf of the Ministry of Education and Science, proceedings of the conference were welcomed by the Deputy Minister of this Department, Doc. Dr. Arbër Ademi. According to him, the presence of foreign guests at this conference gives us the impression that we all think and believe in the power of knowledge as one of the fundamental pillars of social and regional development and in building a better future for the peoples of these countries. “I believe that even today, as well as at three previous annual conferences, there will be many general conclusions regarding the challenges that we will follow in the following period and at the next conference we will summarize the positive outcomes. Of course, I believe in the contribution of the host of this conference, in the representatives of the University of Tetova – that for 23 years is an example for a higher education institution, who invests with dedication in creating new and successful generations of academic citizens and has parts in the overall development of the country and region”- said the Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Doc. Dr. Arbër Ademi.

On behalf of the University of Tirana, participants of this conference were addressed by the Rector of this University, Prof. Dr. Mynyr Koni. In his speech, he was focused on the burden and responsibility that universities have for the society. “As university representatives we carry a heavy burden of responsibility in regard to what we will leave in inheritance to future generations in the Balkans. Universities are not only buildings where students are studying, universities are not just a few laboratories. Universities are an essential element in all of our influential societies in every aspect of life. And as a result, cooperation between universities becomes mandatory. Normally, each speaker at an event where in the focus is cooperation, is supposed to say some good words that often remain unchanged to emphasize the need for cooperation. But, we as a Balkan people are witnessing where the lack of cooperation has led us. In order the history not to be repeated, because if it’s being repeated again it will come as a tragicomedy, we need to know each other even more. It is the ignorance that has brought forward countless issues in our region. It is a hesitation to know, to understand, to respect each other. Therefore, these barriers must be exceeded. We must understand that this cultural, linguistic and identity diversity is an added value for the Balkans and we should use this in the best possible way”- said the Rector of University of Tirana, Prof. Dr. Mynyr Koni.

While the Rector of “Aleksander Xhuvani” University in Elbasan, Prof. Dr. Skender Topi thanked the Rector of the University of Tetova, Prof. Dr. Vullnet Ameti, for his engagement in the Balkan Universities Association to join many Albanian-speaking universities. “I want to thank the Rectors, Prof. Dr. Vullnet Ameti and Prof. Dr. Erhan Tabakoglu, who two years ago took the initiative to open the Balkan University Association in all Balkan countries, including the membership of many Albanian-speaking universities such as the University of Tirana, University of Medicine, University of Shkodra and the University of Korça. We hope that in the future many other universities will become part of this Association and in the conference sessions, discussions that will take place today will not be left on paper, but we will make them active and we will practice them because the Balkans needs us and through these activities we can influence and change the history of the Balkans”- said the Rector of “Aleksander Xhuvani” University of Elbasan, Prof. Dr. Skender Topi.

At the official opening of this conference, their views regarding the topic of the conference and the importance of cooperation between the Balkan Universities were also presented by the Rector of Trakya University, Prof. Dr. Erhan Tabakoglu and Prof. Dr. Ivan Ilchev – from the University of Sofia “St. Kliment Ohridski”.